Straight Lines Become a Smile

A perfectly straight line printed across a textile is no problem during printing (1), but after the post-treatment process its more of a... smiley. Oops!

Aus Linien wird Lächeln - Schritt 1 - der Druck Aus Linien wird Lächeln - Schritt 2 - nasser Stoffim Spannrahmen Aus Linien wird Lächeln - Schritt 3 - trockener Stoff
1) Textile in the printer 2) drying 3) after drying


After printing the ink must be "fixed" to make it permanent using steam and a rigerous washing and drying process. During drying the textile undergoes "tentering" (2), meaning it is streched back to its original size, but while it stretches the center hangs somewhat down. The stretching of the tenter will get it looking pretty decent, but those lines will probably never be perfectly straight again, the fibers have just been through too much.

After the drying process the textile is rolled up again (3), and so, our lines have become a little smiley.

Warped fibers may also be in the textile before it gets printed, since even unprinted textiles have been through many stages of preparation. It has been washed, had any stray fibers removed, and been pretreated so that when the inks are printed they behave correctly. In any of these wet or dry stages we may also see this smile start to form.


Quick Tips from a Tailor

Tip 1: Small pieces that are crooked can be made straight again by pulling on the diagonal corners of the textile.

Tip 2: Two things can make sewing much easier and more enjoyable; washing, so that the piece doesn't shrink after sewing, and ironing, becuase it's already all flat and the right shape. In many instances, simply making the textile damp will do as well as washing it, in which case you can combine the two. Hang the material upright and spray it with water. The wet fibers will relax and the weight of the textile will pull it back into a better shape. You can then iron the damp textile more easily and begin sewing!

Last update on 2016-03-21 by Ellie Mutchler.