I am doing a bunch of wool garments, mostly cloaks, for re-enactment purposes. I need to know what to do to them so that they don’t shrink drastically after the first time the people wear them in the rain. Can anyone make some suggestions? Thanks
Pre-shrink the fabic? I'd at least wet it with cold water and let it line/drip dry before I sewed it.
*I would go ahead and wash it in tepid water, wool will shrink but better before the garment is made. I don't think wetting it with cold water will do much. I frequently wash wool slacks and skirts from thrift stores, instead of dry clean, and have good luck. I figure why should I spend a lot of money on something that only cost a few dollars. I have ruined things also, it's a gamble.
*It is not the temperature of the water that causes wool to shrink. Wool is shrunk (felted) when it goes from hot to cold, cold to hot over and over and is agitated.Wool loves to be washed in very hot water (as hot as you can stand), by hand. Wisk is a good detergent for wool. You must also use very hot water to rinse. You can gradually cool the water, just make sure you do not shock the wool by going from hot to cold.Also you do not want to scrub, or wring out your woolen fabric. I usually drain the tub with the garmet in it, then lay a large towel on the floor and roll up the fabric or garment to get out extra moisture. If it is a knit or very heavy weave lay flat to dry other wise hang to dry out of direct sunlight.My grandmother was a weaver and this is how she treated her yard goods.PS if wool shrank in cold water, it would have shrunk on the sheep.
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