Fabric fraying can be frustrating for quilters. Not only does it add work, but it does damage and waste your fabric. Although not all fabrics fray so much, it still is a hassle to deal with it.
Fraying can be troublesome when you cut your fabric without allowance. When the fabric starts to unravel, you will need to either trim the threads or stitch the edges. This could mean your fabric will end up shorter than expected.
Fabric fraying is annoying and frustrating. This is why it is better to prevent it before it ruins your beautiful fabric. There are several easy to prevent fraying when you quilt. Even if you are using fabrics with tight weaves, it is advisable to fix the edges.
This is to ensure that the fabric edges will not fray in future washes. The following are some of the easiest ways to prevent your fabric from fraying.
1. Provide wider seams
One problem that arises when your fabric frays, is your fabric ends up short. To avoid this, cut your fabric a bit bigger than your actual dimension. This extra fabric will be your seam allowance in case some of the edges fray.
A good seam allowance is 2.5 centimeters.
2. Stitch some French seams
Another option to avoid fabric fraying is by making French seams. You can do this with the wider seam allowance mentioned in the first suggestion. The French seam is the process of stitching the seam allowance inside the garment.
3. Use fusible interfacing
Another quick fix to fraying is using iron-on fusible interfacing on the edges. You can buy a 6 millimeters pre-cut interfacing material on fabric stores. Attach this interfacing material on the raw edges of the fabric.
4. Trim with pinking shears
If you do not want to do French seams, you can trim the frayed edges with pinking shears. The pinking shears create a zigzag serrated cutting. This helps stop the threads from unraveling.
You can use this technique on cotton, stiff, and tight weave fabrics.
5. Make a Zigzag stitch
Sewing machines have zigzag stitch options. This is the fastest way to stop your fabric from fraying. You may try the settings on 2 in width and 2.5 in length. Another good setting is 3 in length and 3 in width.
Test both settings and see which is better on your fabric.
6. Go for hand stitches
If you are working on thick fabrics, hand stitches like overcast and blankets are great. Any of these hand stitches also give your quilts that hand-made look.
Overcast stitch is like a sparse satin stitch. Meanwhile, blanket stitch also refers to cable stitch or crochet stitch. This works best for wool or felt materials.
When done well and neat, both stitches create a decorative border or edging to your fabric.
7. Use a serger
If you have a serger, this will be the best and easiest way to stop or prevent fabric fraying. This is a specialized machine that cuts excess fabrics as it encases the edges with stitches.
8. Use fabric glue
If you do not want to go through the tedious process of making seams and stitching, go for fabric glue. This is a special glue exclusive for textile use. You apply an ample amount of the glue on the fabric edges. Then, fold the edge and let it dry. Make sure that the folded fabrics have adhered well before you proceed with your quilting.
9. Apply clear nail polish
If you do not have the fabric glue, clear nail polish will do the trick. All you need to do is apply a small amount of polish on the edges of the fabric. Allow it to dry before you continue working on the fabric.
With these tips, there is no way your fabric will fray again.
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How Do You Fix Frayed Edges On Fabric?
Fabric fraying in the midst of quilting? Worry no more because there are quick fixes for this. Here are some tricks you can do to stop fraying without redoing your quilt stitches.
- Use fabric glue. Apply an ample amount on the edge and let it dry for a couple of minutes. Once the glue has dried up, you can continue with your quilt.
- Apply clear nail polish. This is like using a fabric. You need to apply a small amount of nail polish on the edge of the fabric. Let it dry before you continue to work on your quilt.
- Make an overcast or blanket stitches. If you only want to fix the frayed part of the fabric, then hand stitch it. You may use a blanket stitch or overcast stitch.
- If your fabric is a bit stiff, you may trim the fraying part using a pair of pinking shears.
- Use a lighter and singe the edges. If there is a small fraying part on your fabric, you may stop it by a lighter. Turn the lighter on and put it near the unraveling threads. Let the outermost part of the flame burn the fraying threads.
Avoid putting the flame too near the fabric as it may burn the other parts of the fabric.
These tips are only quick fixes for fraying fabrics. If you do not want any fraying to happen while you are stitching your quilt, prevent it. You may use the techniques given in the first part of this chapter. first before quilting.
What Stitch Do I Use To Keep Fabric From Fraying?
If you want to prevent fabric fraying, stitch them up. Stitching the fabric edges is the most effective way to prevent fraying. Here are the common stitches that you can do.
1. Zigzag stitch
The zigzag stitch works well on cotton fabrics. Use setting 3 in width and 3 in length. Aside from preventing fraying, this keeps the fabric flat on your quilting fabric.
This stitch may not be suitable for fabrics with loose weaves.
2. Satin stitch
The Satin stitch is a good way to secure the edges of your fabric. This gives your fabric a neat and embroidered finish. You can do this either by hand or a machine.
3. Overcast stitch
This stitch is like a Satin stitch but with sparse and separate stitches. It also gives a neat and hand-made finish to your fabric.
4. Blanket stitch
This stitch also gives your fabric that hand-stitches look. This works well on wool and thick fabrics. The blanket stitch also serves as a great decorative edge for your fabric.
5. Buttonhole stitch
This is in some way the same as the blanket stitch but the stitches are tighter and closer. This stitch is ideal for the cut or trimmed section of the fabric.
6. Straight stitch
This is the basic stitch where you stitch along the edge of the fabric. If you want to use this, make sure to use thin thread to create an invisible look. Choosing an inappropriate thread may not look pleasing. In a straight stitch, all the stitches are visible on top of the fabric.
How Do You Stop Nylon From Fraying?
If you are using Nylon fabric, you may use some of the techniques given in the previous chapters. You may use fabric glue, clear nail polish, lighter, or serger.
Nylon fabric has loose weaves so it can be tricky to prevent its fraying. But, there are a few tips to resolve this issue.
- You may use fabric glue. You can buy this in almost all textile and craft stores. It is a special type of glue that helps textile threads to stick together. You only need to apply ample amounts of glue on the fabric edge and fold it.Make sure you have enough seam allowance before doing this option. Make sure to fold the edge only up to your seam allowance to avoid your fabric from ending short.Allow the fabric glue to dry. Once the folded edge has bonded well, you may continue your quilting.
- Another option is by using clear nail polish. Unlike the fabric glue, nail polish will seal and bond the threads to prevent fraying. You only need to apply the clear nail polish on the edges and let it dry. You don’t have to fold.The nail polish will serve as the weld of the fabric threads. Once dry, you will notice that the edge is a bit hard and coarse.
- Another option is to singe using a lighter. Nylon is a polymer so it has plastic components. Light up your lighter or candle. Put the nylon fabric near the outermost part of the flame. The heat from the flame is enough to melt and weld the Nylon threads.DO NOT put the fabric on the direct flame as it can burn and damage the fabric. This is useful only to a small portion of the nylon fabric.
- Use a Serge machine. This is the most effective way to prevent fraying. The serger machine works on almost all fabrics. Serging will straighten and encase the edges of the fabric.This will give you a neat and strong edging on your fabric.
How Do You Keep Fabric From Fraying Without Hemming?
If you do not want to go through the hassle of hemming, you have other options to prevent fabric fraying.
- Apply fabric glue to bond the edges.
- Use iron-on fusible interfacing. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label.
- Use your sewing machine to stitch the edges of your fabric. You can use zigzag, satin, or straight stitches.
- Trim the edges using pinking shears. The zigzag cutting is good enough to prevent threads from unraveling. Make sure you use this on crisp and tight weave fabrics.
- Use a serger machine to straighten and encase the edges of your fabric. If you have been quilting or sewing, you are likely to have this machine. In case you do, then spare yourself from the hassle of hemming and fabric fraying.
What Fabric Does Not Fray?
Non-woven fabrics do not fray. How does this happen? Non-woven fabrics used a mechanical bonding of its fibers. This is why non-woven fabrics are durable and stable.
Some non-woven fabrics use a special kind of agent to hold the fibers together. Some of these non-woven fabrics are your batting materials and felted wool. Medical suits, surgical gowns, and surgical masks are non-woven.
Here are some of the characteristics of non-woven fabrics.
- Non-woven fabrics do not fray
- They are weaker when wet.
- Some non-woven fabrics are from recycled fibers.
- They are inexpensive to produce.
- They are good for insulation.
- Non-woven fabrics are lightweight.
What Causes Fabric To Fray?
Fabrics with loose weaves tend to fray. The threads unravel from the interlaced (weft and warp) threads.
Uneven cuts of the fabric are another reason for fraying. Some threads are cut too short that they unravel from the weft and warp of the weaves.
Friction from frequent movement or rubbing of the fabric edges can cause fraying. Most woven fabrics tend to fray when cut. Regardless of what cutting tool you use, the unraveling of the threads is inevitable.
This should not be a problem. There are ways to prevent this from happening.
- Fixing unraveling embroidery
- Stopping your fingers from hurting when knitting
- Protecting your precious clothes from embroidery
Does Cotton Fabric Fray?
Most woven fabrics tend to fray. This does not exempt cotton. If the cotton fabric is woven, it has a tendency to fray once cut.
When the threads of the fabric unravel, they will fray regardless of the fibers used. Only non-woven fabrics do not fray.
Fabric fraying is a common scenario in woven fabrics. It may be frustrating at times, but it should not be a major problem. Fraying is easy to resolve. There are many ways to prevent or stop this from happening.
You can use your sewing machine to stitch the edges of your fabric. You can hem or make French seams to your fabric. The solutions are straightforward.
In case you do not want the hassle of stitching, use fabric glue, or clear nail polish. There are quick fixes to stop fraying.
If you want smooth quilting and stitching, do the necessary precaution. Once you cut your fabrics, treat its edges as soon as possible. You can either stitch, hem, or bond the edges.
As the old saying goes “Prevention Is Better Than Cure.” Preventing your fabric from fraying will give you better and neater quilts.