An inconsequential question about ribbed trim on cotton knits
April 3, 2017 6:08 AM   Subscribe

Every single thin cotton knit item I've ever owned does this incredibly annoying thing where it gets strong creases horizontally along the bottom ribbed trim - like this. WHY?

I know it's not only me, I see it on other people's clothes as well. It only seems to happen on the bottom trim, not really the neck or sleeve trim. So only wide trim of a couple of inches or more. It seems to be worse the longer I have it, and I've had to toss/donate some otherwise fine items because it got so bad that not even the steamiest, hottest iron would help.

What I've ruled out:

-Pressing the crease in while I'm wearing it, by accidently creasing it while sitting - ruled this out because it's there on the front as well as the back, and there on shorter waist-length tops and long, nearly knee-length cardigans and everything in between. It's also almost always perfectly horizontal, not a random crease.

-Getting pressed in while drying - I always take things out of the washer promptly and smooth them out when I hang them to dry
posted by cilantro to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total)
I think what is happening is the edges (the edge of the band and the edge where it's stitched to the shirt) are shorter than the stretchy middle bit of the band (or maybe vice versa, the stitched edge is longer than the band as a whole), which gives the band a tendency to fold back on itself - that's just sort of the natural position that the band wants to be in.

Knits have a lot of odd behaviors, and when you stitch one knit to another knit, they can act in even odder ways, especially if they shrink different amounts (which causes them to further diverge from each other in size).
posted by mskyle at 6:17 AM on April 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I get this. My solution is to get out the steam iron and iron the knit, preferably from the inside to stop it from looking 'ironed', which removes such creases until the item is washed again.
posted by koahiatamadl at 7:03 AM on April 3, 2017

OP says, "I've had to toss/donate some otherwise fine items because it got so bad that not even the steamiest, hottest iron would help."
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:17 AM on April 3, 2017

I think these items tend to be better off being hung to dry rather than put through the dryer. I think the dryer heat sets the wrinkle.
posted by mmf at 7:31 AM on April 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I can confirm that I line-dry all my clothing, and have never, ever seen wrinkles like these developing.
posted by Bardolph at 7:40 AM on April 3, 2017

I don't own a tumbler dryer so it's definitely not that - everything gets hung to dry.
posted by cilantro at 7:48 AM on April 3, 2017

Same thing happens to me.

To one of them, I used heat fuse tape to "sew" a band of cotton ribbon around that edge. It has helped, but is not an invisible solution as that part of the garmet looks heavier.

Otherwise, I just steam the hell out of those edges and iron.
posted by troytroy at 7:54 AM on April 3, 2017

Hmm, follow-up since you say you hang your clothes-- how do you position the pins? I always drape my clothes along the bottom hem, folding about 4" of the garment over the line and pinning about 2" in from either edge, and like I said, I've never seen those wrinkles. If you're instead pinning by the shoulders, I wonder whether the weight of the garment could be causing the bands to buckle along stress lines?
posted by Bardolph at 7:58 AM on April 3, 2017

I agree with mskyle - unfortunately I can't find the blog post where I learned all about modern fast-fashion manufacturing, but the long and the short of it is that this type of thin, single-layer rib knit is unstable. Stretching it for wear and then relaxing it (for example, by washing) naturally causes structural wrinkles, like how a telephone cord will become kinked if you stretch it and then release it.

You may be able to hang-dry in such a way that this can be prevented, although you may have to lay it flat so that there is zero stretch while drying.
posted by muddgirl at 8:04 AM on April 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

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