Monday, May 23, 2011

Does Fray Check Work? Fray Check Test + washing cotton ruffles

Do you ever watch America's Test Kitchen?
I really like that show.
They test everything from baking pans to meatloaf in their kitchens, as many times as it takes to figure it out and get it right.

I felt a little like a real product tester when I did my Fray Check Test for my cotton ruffles. I've been wanting to try out different techniques for my ruffled pillows, but wasn't sure how they'd hold up.

My mission? Two fold: 1) To see how cotton ruffles wash, depending on the way they are cut: raw edges, pinking shears or ripped and 2) to see if Fray Check really keeps those raw edges from fraying.

What did my ruffle test and Fray Check test reveal? 
Lets find out!

I started with a little test square of two fabrics: white muslin and a heavier pink kona cotton.

For both fabrics, I cut one strip with pinking shears, cut one with a raw edge, ripped the edge for the next, and used Fray Check on a raw edge for the last one. I used a fabric marker to identify each.

I ruffled each strip and sewed them on their square. And if you'll notice, I had to write a key on the side because this genius ruffled perfectly over what she had written on each strip! haha. Oops.

I tossed them into the laundry with a load of towels. Fingers crossed.
I felt like such a scientist.

Here are the samples after coming out of the washer and dryer. (Shhh. I see fraying too)
{Click the picture to see it closer.}

Okay, so we can't deny there's some fraying going on, but don't panic. We'll take a closer look in just a minute to see how the edge with Fray Check held up.

Here's after ironing and snipping off a few frayed edges in order to iron through the chaos (but no, I won't pretend they were never there...).
{click to see the photos enlarged}

Just for you, here's a close up look to see the Fray Check test results with your own eyes. Fray Check was applied to this raw edge before washing. Look how clean the edge still remains. Only a few strays.

Want to see the other edges? 

Here's the ripped edge. Not bad.

Raw edge with no fray check (shameful)

Pinking shears, not too bad

The verdict?

1st place: Fray Check edges win! Fray Check works and left minimal frays! (crowd cheers)
2nd place: Ripped edges held up to washing - next best to using Fray Check
3rd place: Pinking sheared edges still had frays after washing, but were manageable with a few snips
4th place: Raw edges, when washed, had to be bushwhacked. Lots of fraying but after snipping frays, looked soft and shabby.

A few more details on the results of the Fray Check Test:
  • I was pleasantly surprise at how well it worked. I'd say 99% success rate on both fabrics! There were a few threads to snip after washing, but overall both fabrics with Fray Check applied to their raw edges maintained their shape and still had a subtle stiffness to the edges (as is the case with fray check before washing).
  • Plus a bonus - that "special" fray check scent? Disappears after washing. Too bad for the glue sniffers, but good for the rest of us.
More on Washing Ruffled Edges
  • The white muslin raw edges seemed to have frayed the most, followed by the pinking edge (about half as much as the raw - more than I expected).
  • Ripped edges on both fabrics became a little fluffier around the edges, and may have lost a few strands, but overall did very well. *Great for sewing ruffles with that shabby look, with less fraying.
  • The heavier kona cotton seemed to fray a bit less overall and held its shape

Well, there you have it! Fray Check really does what it says it will do. When applied before washing, Fray Check keeps about 99% of those raw edges from fraying.

As far as washed ruffled edges go? Raw edges and those cut with pinking shears that fray can still be snipped clean so I'm still a fan of all cuts, however, I'll be putting ripped edges on my list to try next for sure.

So while I don't think I'll be doing any guest appearances on America's Test Kitchen any time soon, I've successfully completed my own little Ruffled Edges / Fray Check experiment all in the comfort of my own home.

Til next time! I'm off to rip some fabric!

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  1. what a cool test! this brings me right back to high school science fair projects. this would have been a fun one. hahahah

  2. Great test! I was wondering if you found that the fray check lasted through many washings. I've read a couple of reviews that used it on jeans and found that they had to reapply it after a couple of washings. Denim is a little different than a lightweight cotton though...

  3. Hi! Thanks for your comment and great question! I have not washed anything for more than a couple times, after using fray check. Such a good question. I've wondered how long-lasting fray check is myself. I will certainly let you know if I find out! :)

  4. I guess I beat you to it - I made a sample and washed it several times without it looking like it was fraying at all. Looks like it works pretty well:-)

    Thanks for replying!

  5. Thank you so much for getting back to me about your fray test!! :) So glad to hear fray check stays strong after washing!

  6. Wow. What a great thing to share!!! Thanks for your work and scientific approach to comparing the different edges. You ought to be paid by Consumer Reports.

  7. Try cutting your strips on the bias. This may be limited by the print of the fabric, since it will be diagonal to the design, so some stripes or one-way designs may not suit your taste, but solids will certainly be fine. Fraying will be very very limited. I've done this on many projects, from purses to ruffled clothing for my granddaughter. I find it a perfect solution when an unfinished ruffle is called for!

    1. Thanks for the great tip Pam! Beats having to use a ton of fray check on raw edges. I'll try cutting on the bias and see how it turns out!

  8. So cool that you did this! You did a very thorough job and it is interesting to see the results. I'm with you, time to experiment with ripped edges! Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much Dana! I figured if I was going to test it out, I'd share what I discovered! :)

  9. Having never used edge/seam sealant, your analyses of the product was very interesting and thoroughly-researched... and I like the photos, which are a great finishing touch to the tutorial. Because your information was so helpful, I mentioned it in a recent post.

  10. Has anyone tried Frey Check on the edge of "cut to size" roller blinds, please?

    Does it show? Does it stop the freying?


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