A while ago, I purchased some cross stitch fabric which was way too stiff. Since I still had some leftover fabric, I left it on the side. Now that I finally need to use it, it has been impossible to do so. It was cardboard like to the point it wouldn’t even bend to go inside my hoop. And I did push hard enough!
This was not the only problem however. Since it was already stiff and packed for a long time, the creases where it was folded looked like nothing would straighten them out. I would then be limited to do designs that would fit within those squares.
The stiffness of the fabric is usually due to the starch that is used by fabric makers. Too much starch could also be a sign of bad quality fabric, which I think mine is as I got that one for super cheap. If I did wash my fabric with hot water, I might end up removing all the starch and have a useless piece of fabric. Since I wasn’t sure about what to do next, I looked into and scoured through as much information I found online and finally got to what I believe would be the best way to get it to unstiff.
Should I pre-wash it?
As mentioned earlier, using hot water can end up removing all the starch from your fabric. The top recommendation that constantly popped up was to just stitch on it. It may be annoying at first and hard to maneuver but with time, the stiffness should decrease enough that you can work through it.
If it’s really bad, you can wet it with some cold water (not too much) and iron it while it is slightly damp. You don’t want the fabric to become way too soft, but just enough to manipulate it.
Roll it to soften the creases
If the creases are way too noticeable because of the way you stored it (folding it multiple times in my case), you may need to make the fabric change how it is. Roll it up! It will help break up the starch a little and reduce the creases.
After it starts softening and reshaping, you can try ironing it again and work with it. These should be enough to make the fabric workable and manageable. You can put a piece of damp material between the iron and the fabric.
Nothing is working, it’s still stiff
If nothing worked to relax the fabric enough to make it work, then it’s most probably a bad piece of fabric. If it’s way too stiff, you may consider breaking it down into small pieces that would be easier to control. Choose small projects like bookmarks or cards where the stiffness might actually come in handy. It wouldn’t be a good option for larger projects that would require constant use and flexibility like quilts or pillows.
Ever worked with stiff fabric? How did you get rid of the stiffness?