|No "Fraytality" puns, please.|
In order to test the durability of the various raw edge finishing techniques, I've created a test swatch. Each edge of the swatch will use a different finishing technique, and then it will put the swatch through the a machine wash/dry cycle multiple times and track the progress of the raw edge and see how it frays. Of course, I'm only testing raw-edge finishing, not any finishing technique that encloses the raw edge, like bias tape or french seam, as those do not weather in a washing machine quite so badly since the raw edge is not open to the elements.
In order to carry out this experiment, I cut out a 6" square piece from a woven material that will easily fray in the washing machine. Using a permanent marker, I measured a ⅝" line representing the standard seam line inside of each edge, and then applied a different basic finishing technique to each:
|Machine Zig-Zag stitch|
|Pinking (apologies for the poor photo quality)|
|A fray-stopping adhesive|
I then put the square through the washer/dryer cycle several times with regular loads of laundry, without trimming or cleaning up the edges in between. I did iron the swatch so that we can have a clearer picture of what's going on, but that's it. Here are the results after the first, third, and fifth trip through the laundry:
Pink suffered right out of the gate -- it appears that while the form of the pink held, the actual cross-threads did come loose, even past the inside of the sawtooth pattern. This does not bode well for pinking in the future. If it holds and doesn't fray past this point, then it could still be something of a low-rent contender for finishing, otherwise, I would only recommend pinking for something that will never see a wash/dry cycle.
Fabric and You post, using a zig-zag stitch to bind the cut edge of our purchased fabric is good enough for a single wash-dry cycle at the very least. The raw edge did fray up to the zig-zag, but was stopped in its tracks there. How long the zig-zag stitch will continue to hold the fray in check is now the primary concern.
Of course, all this could change with repeat washings. On to...
(wait, what happened to round 2? Oh yeah, I'm only doing odds.)
|hello, thumb shadow.|
FIRST PLACE: Overlock is the clear winner here. You can see the fabric trying to fray in between the locks, but it just can't seem to get going, and it still looks like a nice, clean line even after 5 trips through the laundry. If your machine has an overlock stitch, this is definitely the way to go for having clothes that will last.
So that completes the raw-edge finishing showdown, if you have any other techniques you would like to compare, let me know in comments!