Creased and wrinkled shirt seams out of the dryer.
October 1, 2009 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Some of my t-shirts always come out of the dryer with severe wrinkles / creases on the seams around the waist or sleeves. Shown here. What am I doing wrong?

It's always the same shirts. The first shirt it happened with was a cheapo t-shirt so I thought it was the quality of the shirt and it just shrunk in a weird way. I just bout a few newer shirts (one Nautica and one American Apparel) and the same thing happened to them. Everything else comes out of the laundry fine. I thought it was because I was overloading the dryer but I don't think that's it.
I wash with cold water with no extra settings on and I dry on low heat with no extras on. If I iron the wrinkles out they just come back after the next wash.
posted by dino terror to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think it's anything you are doing that is causing this. Rather, when the pieces of the shirts in question were cut, they were not cut precisely along the grain of the fabric. Often times you can see this if you hold the shirt in front of a bright light or a window -- the grain of the fabric should run parallel to the hemline, but often times it looks slightly askew/diagonal. When the fabric shrinks in the dryer, it will shrink funny like this because the fabric was not cut out straight.
posted by kitty teeth at 6:06 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

It may just be a feature of the shirts in question, but you might try giving the shirts a solid shake when moving them from the washer to the dryer. Wrinkles can develop in the washing machine (especially if your machine spins fast) and stick around through a dryer cycle. Alternately, have you considered hanging the shirts to dry or using some of those spiky dryer balls?
posted by ssg at 6:25 PM on October 1, 2009

I had a similar issue with some of my clothes, and my clothes were much improved by putting the washer's spin cycle on Medium or Low. I don't know if all newer front-loaders are like mine, but I didn't realize for quite some time that the default spin speed on the Normal setting is High.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 6:43 PM on October 1, 2009

Take them out hot and then basically iron them with your hands as you fold them. It really works.
posted by caddis at 6:55 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We call that "roping" because the twist around the hem looks like a rope. This is a sewing defect, and some mfrs would mark this garment as "second" quality [Lands End or Penneys for example].

There are mechanical forces working against each other that are locked together by the sewing machine stitches. Each time you wash and dry the shirt, the mechanical forces are lifted and swirled, but they can't get past the sewing stiches.

When the operator of the sewing machine folds the bottom hem, the inside part was turned at a 93 degree angle instead of a perfect 90 degree angle. Sometimes the foot pushes the hem ahead of the body of the shirt, increasing the torque.

The problem is not caused by the washing and drying, but you can improve the appearance by methods recommended by ssg and caddis.
posted by ohshenandoah at 7:19 PM on October 1, 2009 [12 favorites]

Oh, I hate hate hate when my t-shirts do this. Thanks for posting this question and thanks to the responses. Also, I now feel ripped off having paid for shirts that are really second quality.
posted by ishotjr at 8:16 PM on October 1, 2009

In my experience American Apparel shirts are prone to this. Really annoying.
posted by entropic at 4:59 AM on October 2, 2009

Fabric softener usually helps with this.
posted by alon at 12:26 PM on October 3, 2009

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