Prewashing or preshrinking:
Prewashing the fabric prepares it by:
- Removes chemicals from the manufacturing process.
- Removes the embedded fold so you can fold the fabric square and cut strips perfectly on-grain.
- Removes any excess dyes from the fabric.
- Relaxes and preshrinks the fabric.
Tips on to wash or not to wash:
- When you are working on a project and want to wash one piece – you should wash it all as a general rule.
- If you are working with mixed materials like a Shannon® Cuddle Fabric and a cotton – the cotton will shrink and the Cuddle Fabric will not. Wash the cotton for best results.
- If the fabric is stiff or rigid and feels like it has an excessive amount of dye or sizing – you should wash.
- When you are using lights and darks or lights and reds you should consider washing the fabrics separately first to keep the whites and lights the appropriate color and avoid color bleeding when you wash the finished project.
- Use a Color Catcher when washing mixed color fabrics.
- If you are using precuts – wash once the fabric is sewn together.
- Lingerie bags help with small pieces like fat quarters.
- If it is hand dyed fabric – test before washing.
- If you want the sized feel you can iron with starch after you prewash.
- When you are washing a small piece of fabric consider basting the ends together to form a tube. It will help with fraying. You can also baste or serge edges.
Fabrics you can wash at home:
- Linen – some, not all
- Linen – some, not all
- Most can be used without preshrinking.
- If you plan to add any type of piping or specialty trim to your sewn project, you should prewash them too.
- Use a lingerie bag or a pillow case to keep trim in the best condition.
- Preshrinking is not really recommended. However, some shrinkage is expected with 100% cotton batting. Once a project with batting is washed, it can shrink up a bit. This is what contributes to the “antique look” we all love.
Selecting the right method for washing the fabric:
- Voile does better with a gentle or hand-wash cycle in your washing machine, or hand washing is also an option. A few minutes in the dryer followed by hanging to dry is fine.
- Broadcloth or quilting weight cotton can be machine washed and dried. Be sure to use the temperature settings that you plan to use for the finished piece.
- Flannel and knits love to shrink use the hottest water setting and the hottest dryer setting for maximum results. After the piece is made use the lowest temperature setting on the dryer.
- For yardage wash on gentle in warm water, and dry in a low to medium dryer. Air dry if possible
- Keep all rayon out of the dryer after construction.
- Linen will soften up after laundering. Dry-clean or hand wash in cold with mild detergent. Air dry.
- Hand wash with a gentle detergent and then hang dry. Dry-cleaning is another option.
- Wash wool as little as possible.
- Soak in cold water before washing and use cold water and a gentle setting on the washing machine.
- Air dry
- Machine wash in warm with all-purpose detergent.
- Dry on low. A dryer sheet or wool dryer balls will help reduce static.