Oliver + S

do you always pre-wash your fabric?

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    dkbnyc @dkbnyc

    i do believe it is best to pre-wash fabrics, but do you really do it, always? If i use good quality quilting cottons do you think its really necessary to pre wash if i am making garments with few components (lazy days skirt, ice cream dress, tote bags, zipper pouches, etc)

    I want to start sewing garments that friends will purchase, i dont have a washer/dryer and must take my fabrics to the laundry mat. This is a real hassle and additional expense. Do you think i will cause myself some problems if i choose not to prewash?


    Tamara @justsewit

    It depends on the fabric. I know on some things (for example interlock) online shops especially will tell you that that particular fabric shrinks by x% so you need to allow extra fabric.

    I do prewash my fabrics (except silk) because I need to know that the colour will not bleed as I had quite an experience with 5m of fabric with the most delicious print on it and it bled like crazy when I washed it – so bad I couldn’t use it at all!!

    Some colours you need to be aware that they are more likely to bleed and if you have a print say with a white background and red or even navy or (in my case) turquoise, you will most likely run into trouble.

    That said, I feel that it is the quality of the fabric and how it is printed that would give you and great result post washing or not. I personally haven’t had issues with quilting fabrics with the colour bleeding but they have shrunk just slightly in the wash (and I wash in cold water).

    So I would suggest to maybe do a test sample in the wash to find out how it shrinks and fades in colour etc before making your product. There would be nothing worse than finding out that the fabric would come out yuk! after you had gone to all that effort in making your piece.

    Hope this helps


    Nicole @motherof5


    Why not hand wash in warm water in a sink,squeeze well,wrap in a towel,squeeze again and hang to dry on your shower rail.

    If you are sewing for others I would definitely pre-wash.

    Of course this is only my opinion.

    rastis @rastis

    when making clothes i always prewash… some fabrics (linen, knits, flannel etc in particular) shrink a LOT and the finished garment can end up looking yuck and not fitting properly… i learned that the hard way (my first ever dress that i worked on so hard that no longer fit after the first washing, t-shirts that ended up becoming crop tops eww)… i vowed to always prewash… it also gives you a greater idea of how that fabric will behave as clothing as well…

    that said i don’t always prewash when quilting… because fit isn’t an issue… it doesn’t matter to me how much a quilt shrinks!

    meleliza @meleliza

    Yes, always, yes. Otherwise the garment will be distorted the first time it gets washed. But I often throw my yardage in with regular laundry of appropriate color so I’m not wasting water and such.

    Violaisabelle @Violaisabelle

    Yes I do, even my silks and wools. For the reasons already mentioned, I do this, but also because of the sizing chemicals used to treat fabric to make it look so pretty on the bolts. Those chemicals give off gasses, which is why I almost always wash my fabric the day I bring it home, before it goes into the sewing room.

    Nicole made a good suggestion on washing by hand, that works well. However, if the person purchasing/receiving the garment, decides they want to put that garment in the dryer, they could still have shrinkage. The general rule of thumb is that you pre-treat your fabric how you will wash it once the garment is made up.


    scgoble @scgoble

    In the interest of solidarity with those without washer/dryer, I sometimes do not pre-wash mine either! My husband has the job of going to the laundromat so I put the fabric in with our regular wash piles; he is certainly not going to wash separate loads. If I’m making something for someone else, I always pre-wash.

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