Blanket lovers worldwide all relate to one of the most upsetting things that can happen to a favorite: fraying edges and the damage that usually ensues.
Fortunately, through simple preventative care and periodic maintenance, you can keep your blankets looking and feeling like new. How? Here are a few tips on how to prevent fraying; care, attention, and common sense are all it takes.
What Causes Blanket Fraying?
If you couldn’t tell from our incredible selection of blankets for snugglers of all ages, we know a thing or two about what happens after years of love. Even the best blankets may begin to fray after being a part of your family for so long.
Blanket fraying describes a cut, edge, or area of your blanket’s fabric that is unraveling, where the threads within the material come loose enough to fall apart. Different types of fabrics, designs, and goods may all start to fray for one reason or another. If your blanket appears to be suffering, what could be the underlying cause?
Damage to the blanket could be causing it to fray, but fraying edges are a regular occurrence and may present themselves even when you’re doing nothing wrong. Frequent use, age, and exposure to things like chemicals, the sun, or even hot water are all culprits to avoid if you’d like your blanket to last as long as possible.
The lighter the fabric, the easier it will be to fray the edges. Sheer material and especially delicate fabric types like silk or tulle require extra care and attention—both in anticipation of fraying and when the edges begin to fray outright.
How to Prevent Fraying in Blankets
Whether your blanket is homemade or store-bought, you can work fray management tactics into even the basic construction of the piece. A wider seam allowance, for example, can help you compensate for fraying (especially in thin, delicate fabric types). Fusible interfacing provides an additional layer of insurance against blanket fraying by strengthening it after being added to the edges of the fabric.
With that being said, there’s always going to be a fix—even for those who can’t sew. Here’s how to prevent fraying both with and without sewing.
How to Prevent Fraying in Blankets With Sewing
We love to sew, and if you do, you should apply the skill to your fraying blanket edges. If you’ve got a sewing machine, all the better! Solving the problem will take little time and keep your blanket edges looking fresh and clean.
Does a blanket stitch stop fraying? Absolutely, but it’s not your only option regarding how to prevent fraying if you’re crafty. A few of our favorite alternatives include:
- Zig-zag stitching
- French seams
- Overlocking stitches
- Crocheting edges
Applying a seam finish to a frayed blanket edge before you actually mend it is a strategy that helps you control loose threads, which is especially helpful when fixing blankets that are already old or tattered.
Of course, simply stitching any fraying ends by hand is always a fast and easy option. Depending on the size of the affected area, you might opt for a low-fuss solution like this.
How to Prevent Fraying in Blankets Without Sewing
No-sew fixes are perfect for those hoping for relief on a dime. Most of these quick fixes require no time, skill, or special equipment:
- Nail polish hardens blanket edges, keeping them from fraying over time (we advise against using nail polish if you wash and use the blanket often, however).
- Adhesive liquids and sprays can be used anywhere your blanket isn’t staying together.
- Fraying glue is exactly what it sounds like—much like nail polish, you can apply it to edges, tears, and other parts of your blanket to help stave fraying off at the gate.
- Bias tape allows you to press two layers of fabric together and is ideal for complex blankets and multi-layered affairs.
- Burning the edges is a classic solution for anything synthetic; the idea is that the ends of every thread simply melt together, preventing them from fraying with use and time.
- Pinking shears are designed to minimize fraying, unlike ordinary shears—we recommend keeping a pair in your sewing kit for a quick fix without actually sewing.
If fraying is a common concern in your household, you might consider keeping an anti-fraying product in your cabinet to call upon at a moment’s notice. Modge Podge, Fray Stoppa, Fray Check, and Dritz Fray Stop are all common brand names to look out for if you’re hoping for a fast, easy solution available off the shelf. Many of these products come equipped with special nozzles that help you achieve a precise and effective application.
There are a thousand ways to figure out how to prevent fraying, even if sewing isn’t exactly your thing. One great way to keep your blankets in great condition is to take care of them properly.
Blanket Care 101: Preventing Fraying in the Future
If you’d prefer to steer clear of trouble altogether, there’s nothing like a bit of blanket TLC before fraying becomes a problem.
Many of these tips are obvious, albeit difficult to enforce at times for those with young, rambunctious kids. A few blanket care tips that anybody can try include:
- Wash your blankets according to the manufacturer’s recommendations—if you made the blanket yourself, avoid the most extreme settings on your washing machine. Extremely fragile pieces should be washed in cold water by hand, including crochet blankets and handmade quilts with lots of panels and design elements.
- Wash blankets alone, with mild detergent, and use the gentlest drying cycle possible.
- Try a delicates bag for small, fragile blankets to keep it safe while tumbling.
- If your climate and home allows for it, you can air-dry your blankets, which avoids the damage a machine dryer may impose.
- Store your blankets properly when not in use—never keep them in a damp, musty place, and ensure they’re totally dry before folding them and putting them away.
- Be kind to your blankets when you can, and encourage your family members to take good care of their favorite ones.
All in all, minimizing the duress you expose your blankets to is the best way to prevent them from fraying. Choosing the highest possible quality when shopping blankets for your home is also a must. The better the material and sturdier the construction, the less likely blanket fraying will rear its head in the first place.
The care labels on your blanket will be your best friend when caring for your treasured store-bought pieces. These best practices, however, can help you err on the side of caution if the label has been lost or is no longer legible.
Shop Comfy Blankets and Other Unique Designs
Is it possible to simply accept a fraying edge and let it do its thing? Of course. Sometimes, fraying edges lend a rustic, distressed look to decorative blankets and other fabric-based decorations.
If it’s a blanket you or a loved one use constantly, however, fraying edges may mean a shorter lifespan. For the lifelong favorites in your household, try any of the simple solutions for fraying mentioned above. Better yet, check out our guide to blanket repair on our blog!
And finally, if it’s long past time to replace one of your most-loved pieces…you can always count on Sew Sweet Minky Designs—our diverse selection of bestsellers truly make a house a home. Get cozy with us, either with an old pal or something totally new.