Should you wash your fabric before use?
This is a question that I am often asked by customers. Do you need to pre-treat your fabric before sewing?
You return home from a shopping trip with your beautiful fabric, excited about your new project and ready to get started! Why do you have to think about washing or pre-treating your fabric before starting a project and is it really required?
Unfortunately the answer is YES, your fabric must be pre-treated by machine washing, hand washing or dry-cleaning before starting your project. This will prevent shrinkage when cleaning your finished item and the upset when your brand new dress shrinks in length or size.
Most importantly you must pre-treat your fabric using the same method that you plan use to clean your finished project. This will depend on the fabric you are working with, exercise your judgement here. Machine wash your fabric using the same temperature that you will use on the finished item. If you are working with delicate fabrics think about your preference of dry-cleaning verses hand washing.
Cotton, Linen, Polyester and Knit Fabrics: Machine Wash
Silks / Wools / Delicates: Hand Wash or Dry Clean
Should you wish to tumble dry your finished item, be sure to tumble dry your fabric before working with it.
To prevent fabric from fraying during the pre-treating process overlock (serge) or zigzag the raw fabric edges. Only required on fabrics that are prone to fraying. Once the fabric has been pre-treated, press or iron the fabric ready for cutting.
Fabric preparation is time consuming and does mean that you have to plan ahead and wait for your fabric to be pre-treated before starting your project. But I promise that in the long term you won’t be disappointed with a garment that has shrunk and no-longer fits or a cushion cover too small for the cushion pad! Preparation is key…