How To Prevent Fabric From Fraying

Regardless of what you plan to do with the fabric, fraying edges present a major worry. But don’t worry! There are easy ways to contain fraying fabric edges.

Fraying refers to the unraveling of yarns or threads from the fabric, usually along its cut edges. Now, unless you’re specifically using fraying-proof fabric, almost every woven fabric tends to have a bit of fraying upon cutting. Also, irrespective of your project, whenever you use fabrics, it’s crucial to limit the fraying to a bare minimum to get that professional and neat look.

Thankfully, if you know the right techniques, you’ll not have to deal with frayed edges anymore. On that note, let’s take you through all the methods that help prevent any fabric from fraying.

How To Prevent Fabric From Fraying?

There are multiple ways to prevent fabric from fraying. The one that you select depends on your sewing skills, the kind of fabric you’re using, and the time you have in your hand. You can do a whipstitch or serging if you are adept at sewing.

On the other hand, fabric glue or iron-on fusible tapes are good ideas if you are not too good with sewing. Also, using bias tapes and sewing on them works well.

Finally, if you want a quick fix that does the job, grab that bottle of nail polish near your hand and apply it on the frayed edges.

How To Stop Fabric From Fraying By Hand?

You do not need to go and get a sewing machine to stop fabric from unraveling at the sides. If you have even the basic skills of sewing by hand, follow the given steps to stop the fraying.

Step 1: Cut Your Thread And Tie It

The old-fashioned and the easiest way to handle fraying edges of a fabric is with needles and threads. To start off, cut a thread length that is about 46 cm (18 inches) in length. Then, tie one knot at its end by looping that part around the forefinger. Push the short part of the thread through that loop and pull through.

Step 2: Thread The Needle

Hold the unknotted part of the thread between your forefinger and thumb. Then, loop that around your needle to slip the loop over the needle head to create one tight loop. Get this loop to flatten and pull it through the needle eye until it comes out from the other end. Now, hold the loop and pull until its tail comes out.

You might have to cut fresh ends on the thread when it’s a bit floppy and worn because soft pieces of threads are not easy to handle. Also, pull the thread tail such that it’s nearly 7.6 to 10.2 cm (3 to 4 inches) in length.

Step 3: Creating A Simple Whipstitch

It is time to insert your needle from the back to front to create whipstitches. So, hold the fabric with its finished or front side facing upward. Now, start at this fabric’s back, and put the needle really close to your fabric’s edge. Push your needle through to the front. At the same time, pull your thread through to let the knot catch.

Remember never to pull it too tightly because that will give you a crumpled appearance on the edge. And stay close to this edge, i.e., 0.32 cm (1/8 inch) or less would be perfect.

Step 4: Repeat The Stitch For Completing The Edge

Start by putting the needle once more on the fabric’s back, i.e., next to the part where the needle was inserted during the first stitch. 

Now, move on and repeat the same stitch along the length of the edge, while putting the needle to the front from the back. Space the stitches close together to get a tight stitch or keep them farther apart for a loose stitch.

Step 5: Tie The Thread After Your Last Stitch Is Complete

Turn the fabric on its back, and thread the needle below that last stitch. Then, pull your thread below it until you get one small loop. Next, get your needle through that loop and create one knot by pulling. Repeat the step to create another knot for greater security.

After this, cut your thread for finishing the edge, while leaving not more than 0.32 cm (1/8 inch) remaining at its end.

How To Stop Fabric From Fraying With Nail Polish?

Utilizing nail polish to prevent fabric from fraying is an inexpensive, effective, and easy technique. It is especially useful on lightweight, thin fabrics. All you need is to put one thin layer of polish along the cut edge of the fabric. With the polish drying, the fraying threads get locked and sealed in place. 

Step 1: Start By Trimming The Sides Of The Fabric

It’s better to trim the edges for removing the hanging threads before you apply a layer of nail polish. It will get you clean edges, and help you avoid all the mess that comes from coating any loose thread with your nail polish. Also, you will need to cut close to the edges for smoothing it out to remove extra fraying.

After trimming, you will get a straight, clean edge of the fabric. Make sure not to touch the cut edges too frequently until you apply the nail polish. After all, you need to stop added fraying and keep the smoothness of the edges intact until the coat of the polish sets in.

Step 2: Applying The Nail Polish Over The Edges

You can use any color you want for the nail polish, and the results will be the same. You might use nail polish of the same color. It will give you an effect that easily blends in with the edge and isn’t easy to discern. If you don’t have a nail polish that matches the fabric’s color, go for a clear polish.

Now, carefully take the brush over the edge, and make sure that the polish stays on only the edges. Then, apply several strokes with the polish, while loading the brush only a little each time. If you load it too much, you might stain the fabric surface or the work table.

Step 3: Let Your Nail Polish Dry Completely

After applying the nail polish, let it dry for at least five to ten minutes before you use the fabric. If you want the frayed edges to be completely sealed, you will have to let the polish dry completely.

After the polish gets completely dry, test the edge of the fabric to ensure it doesn’t keep fraying anywhere. If it continues to fray in parts, put a bit of nail polish in such places and let it dry once more before you use your fabric. When you do it right, this easy no-sew technique is pretty long-lasting and effective.

Pro-tip: It is important to remember that this technique will not work on all kinds of fabrics. Any textile that is highly textured and thick will not hold with only nail polish and fraying will continue. So, the rule is to put the polish on densely woven, thin, and lightweight fabrics, such as satin.

How To Stop Fabric Fraying Without Hemming?

If you can’t sew to save your life, you can still save the fabric edges from fraying. In this case, you can either use glue or go with pinking shears to get the job done. Here’s guiding you through both the methods:

Method 1: Use Fabric Glue To Seal The Edges

Buy a good quality seam sealant, super glue, or fabric glue from local stores or online and get started.

Step 1: Put The Glue In Small dabs

Put small drops of glue along the fabric edge, and spread it evenly using a toothpick or cotton swab. However, make sure not to use excessive glue because it tends to leave marks on the fabric after drying out completely.

Step 2: Making A Hem Using The Glue

The other alternative is to use the same process for applying the glue; then, fold the fabric edge over which you applied the glue and press that down. You have created a simple hem!

Method 2: Get Pinking Shears To The Rescue

Pinking shears are helpful in cutting fresh edges. They appear like scissors with teeth and you will get them online or at any local craft store. It is a popular method for beginners dealing with unraveling edges.

Step 1: Start Cutting The Frayed Edges

Use pinking shears as scissors to cut a new edge in your fabric. However, rather than a straight edge, the shears work to cut in zigzag patterns. Cuts like these make sure that the edges don’t fray.

Step 2: Apply An Adhesive Tape

For extra stability, put adhesive on the cut edges using a toothpick or cotton swab. You can even try the nail polish technique that you learnt previously.

How To Keep Raw Fabric Edges From Fraying?

A good way to prevent fraying of raw fabric edges is to use fusible tapes. However, remember that fusible tapes work the best on thicker and textured fabrics. This is because fabrics with textured, rougher surfaces hide all the bleeding from the tape and go well with the fusible tape’s glue. 

Step 1: Pre-fold And Iron The Edges

If you plan to use fusible hem tape on raw fabric edges, start pre-folding and ironing the fabric edges. Also, ensure that you fold the edges in from the wrong side. Completing this step first will give you a simple guideline that will make the rest of the steps easy to follow.

Step 2: Aligning The Hem Tape With The Edge

After setting the first fold, align iron-on hem tapes with the edge of the fabric. Regarding the kind of fusible you need to use it largely depends on the kind of fabric and the size of the fold that you work with. 

So, use a hem tape with a larger width and better bonding capacity for more textured and thicker fabrics. Likewise, use a shorter, thinner hem tape for medium to lightweight fabrics. If you’re still unsure, read the label and choose as per your sewing project and fabric at hand.

Step 3: Time For The Second Fabric Fold

You need to fold again to enclose the fusible tape and fabric edges inside. Also, remember that you shouldn’t get to notice the hem tape at all. The tape has to stay hidden between those folded layers of the fabric.

Step 4: Start Ironing The Folded Edge

You will have to iron the top of the folded edge for getting the layers to bond together. Then, the glue in that fusible tape will start melting and adhere the layers permanently together. In terms of the ironing settings, go for the highest setting that won’t burn your fabric.

After applying the hem tape, the fold will remain glued shut. The hem tape will not be visible from any part of the fabric’s folded edges. Now, if certain areas are not completely bonded or seem weaker, iron them for a second time. Make sure you apply enough heat this time to melt the glue particles in the tape.

How To Keep Cross Stitch Fabric From Fraying?

Serging is the surest way to keep your cross-stitch fabric from getting frayed. Here’s how you can do it:

Step 1: Threading The Serger

Switch off the power button of the serger and figure out the right threading order. In most cases, you need to use two spools of thread each over and in your needles.

Pull the upper looper thread upward to keep it below your needles. Then, remove the faceplate in front of the machine, and get the threads through those metal loops. After that, set your spool on that second spindle to get the thread in front of your machine.

Now, set your threads on spindles and get them in front of the machine. Next, put your thread over the needles on your sewing machine.

Step 2: Get The Tension Adjusted

Get the serger turned on and figure out the kind of stitch that will suit you the best. Get the tension dial of the spool adjusted as per the desired tension mentioned in the manual. Now, adjust all the tension dials accordingly.

After this, do a practice run before using it on the actual fabric. Press on the pedal and create one looped thread using the serger. Then, inspect the looped thread to know if it’s going the right way. The interlocking stitches and loops need to look even, and none of them should be too close or even.

In case the stitches appear loose, make your thread tight by adjusting the tension dials beside every pool of thread on that machine. The serger tension needs loosening up when the fabric gets bunched up or puckered.

Step 3: Completing The Work

Lift up the presser foot lever for lifting the metal presser foot. Then, turn the needle dials for lifting the needles. Next, push the fabric under the foot and needles. Lift up the practice string and slide the fabric under the presser foot and needles.

Afterward, lower the foot and needles by lowering the level and turning the needle dial in your direction. Finally, it is time to cut your fabric edge. The serger will cut the fabric and finish seams simultaneously. On the right side of the needle, you will get the seam allowance numbers. So, push your fabric from under the belt as per that number.

How To Fix Frayed Fabric Edge?

You can sandwich two fraying edges in a bias tape, though it is usually bulky. Bias edges are common for tricky fraying and hems.

Step 1: Start Sewing The Seam

Consider if you plan to sew the seam allowances together through one binding or leave them open. The binding you choose depends on this factor. 6 mm double-folded bias tape is the most common type used. You can even use 12 mm single-folded tapes by pressing that in half. But remember the top edge needs to be narrower than the bottom edge.

Step 2: Encasing The Fraying Edge

Open the bias tapes and encase the fraying edges. Also, make sure the narrow part of the bias tape goes over the seam. So, while sewing through this tape, you will automatically catch in the wider underside.

Step 3: Start Stitch The Seam Allowances

Now, start stitching the edges of the tape. Also, keep in mind that you are sewing seam allowances only, and the actual fabric below isn’t caught in. Make sure to press after you finish because you need to create clean and neat edges to get the perfect look of a bias-bound seam.

The Endnote

And that’s it! You now know all the ways to deal with frayed edges of any fabric. Choose any of the methods mentioned above based on your convenience, and you will never have to worry about unraveling edges anymore. 



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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