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wavy seams and shrinkage question

KarenBoney | Posted in General Discussion on

I have a question for some of you more experienced sewers. I recently made a pair of thin rectangular panels for a friend. She hung them from alligator type clips as curtains. I have made these before for my own house and they turned out great. How hard is it to sew a big rectangle? Right?
Here is what happened though that puzzles me. The panels were light weight synthetic/cotton and I used an iron on tape to make the two outer length hems really nice and crisp. However, I sewed the outer seams down. I did not pre wash the fabric because it was 70 % synthetic. Well she washed the panels and now the edges are wavy. This is because of the tape and not pre washing isn’t it? Also the curtains shrank about 4 inches,I couldn’t believe it… with such a high synthetic number, I would have never dreamed this would happen. What can I do to fix the waviness of the outer hems and is it easier to add a band for length to the bottom or top?
Karen


Edited 2/23/2009 7:30 pm ET by KarenBoney

Replies

  1. woodruff | | #1

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "outer seams," but it sounds as though the tape did not shrink but the cotton part of the fabric did--big time. Even though the proportion of cotton was low, it had the potential of shrinking as much as any cotton can.The iron-on can probably mostly be removed with an iron set on low heat to melt the glue. That might allow you to peel it off with minimal residue, and sometimes alcohol or nail polish remover or Goo-Gone will take the remaining glue off if there's a lot of it. Now that the fabric is effectively preshrunk, you can probably simply re-do the procedure by simply re-sewing the hems or outer seams. Personally, long experience has taught me to (a) prewash EVERYTHING except wools I'm certain will never meet water in any form, and (b) to use fusible things very, very seldom.

    1. KarenBoney | | #3

      By outer seams, I meant the two outside vertical hems. Thanks for your advice. You are right about prewash everything that might ever see water! I have learned this the hard way. And also, another poster mentioned a water soluble tape, which I have never heard of, but will definitely try.
      Thanks for answering my post1
      Karen

  2. Josefly | | #2

    I think adding a band of fabric to lengthen your panels will require the same steps, whether you add it at the top or at the bottom. You'll probably want to remove the top or bottom hem first, and sew your band on. Make it a design element - use some trim to hide the seam, or use a different fabric in a coordinating color, or embellish the band in some way to replicate a design in the old fabric - and no one will guess that the addition is an afterthought. Just decide if you want the addition at the top, bottom, or maybe both, or completely framing the panels on all sides.There's a water-soluble fusible tape, called Wonder Tape, which rinses out after construction is complete, and which therefore doesn't change the character - stiffness or transparency - of the fabric. It just holds things in place while you stitch them down - hems, regular seams, or trims, etc. Again, your fabric must be washable, and must be pre-shrunk before using the fusible tape.Good luck, and let us know what you decide to do.

    1. KarenBoney | | #4

      Thank you bunches for mentioning Wonder Tape! I have never seen or heard of it, but I am definitely going to find it. It's probably been under my nose all this time at the fabric store, but I wasn't familiar with it. Sounds like just what I have been looking for!
      Your advice was great and I appreciate your answering my post. You taught me something NEW!
      Sincerely,
      Karen

  3. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #5

    Karen, did you cut the selvedges off the fabric also? Even a very flat selvedge can shrink enough to pull up and cause wrinkling if we include it in our seam allowances on panels like this. Always cut the seam allowances off or clip them at regular intervals. If your friend put the panels in the dryer, this caused maximum shrinkage. In the future, she should also hang the panels while damp. This will help pull wrinkles out and keep them the same size. Cathy

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