Friday, March 14, 2008

Prevent Ribbon Fraying

If you like to use hair ribbons, create hair bows, or add ribbon to the garments you sew, you may appreciate some tips on how to prevent ribbon from fraying.

Fray Check is a USA product which can be purchased in the fabric/craft department of most superstores or at any fabric store. A little bit does the trick. Spotlight (NZ and Australia) has a product called Fray Stopper which comes in a 50ml bottle. Current price NZ$5.99.

Clear nail polish can be used to seal ribbon ends and keep them from fraying.

Heat sealing is another method you can use to finish your ribbon ends. Use a candle, match, or lighter and hold the flame close to the ribbon end to achieve an evenly fused end. Do not actually touch the flame to the material.

Heat Sealing Tool
Sold by Ribbons and Bows Oh My! here.

"Perfect End Thread Burner is your perfect weapon against frayed edges. Works with 1 AA Battery(included). Cuts and Cauterizes ribbon, synthetic threads and silk so they don’t unravel. With a touch of a button the tip heats to red hot and cools down in less than 10 seconds. Unlike wood burning tools the Thread Burner is Easy to use as a pen with no cords attached. Won’t burn ribbon and leave ugly brown edges Safer to use around children Perfect for QUICK touch ups Portable so you can work anywhere (craft fairs, boutiques, outside) For High volume ribbon crafters, this is not a replacement for your wood burner, but an excellent addition to your tool chest for quick touch ups." Price US$18.95. You can also purchase replacement tips (nibs) for the tool.

Many people have also found much success using a wood-burning tool to seal ends. In this case, you could lay the ribbon flat on a heat-resistant surface, use a metal ruler to mark your line and run the tip of the tool against the ruler edge.

When applying satin ribbon to a garment, the friction of wash and wear tends to cause folded ends to start a surface fraying if they have not been machine stitched.

The above example shows ribbon that is folded over the placket and stitched into the seam inside the garment. After only two launderings, the fold had produced this unsightly fuzz.

This example shows ribbon that had been stitched along its edges, but the fold of the tucked-under ends was left unstitched. The fold quickly produced a surface fray which has now been prevented from further damage by machine top-stitching, as below.

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