To Pre-Wash or Not to Pre-Wash your fabric?!

To Pre-Wash or Not to Pre-Wash your fabric?!

We've all been there: eager to dive into a new sewing project, the perfect fabric spread out before us. But wait! Should you wash that fabric before you start snipping? The answer, in most cases, is a resounding yes. Here's why pre-washing is your sewing superhero move:


Most fabrics shrink when washed for the first time. Cotton, linen and flannel are notorious size-shiftersImagine the horror of meticulously sewing a garment, only to have it morph into a distorted mini-me after its first bath. Pre-washing ensures your fabric reaches its final size before you sew, preventing a disappointing size mismatch.


Colour bleeding:

Fabrics, especially bright or dark colors, can bleed in the wash. Prewashing helps you identify and deal with bleeding issues before you mix fabrics in a single project. This step is particularly vital when working with contrasting colors or white fabrics.


Washing Away the Chemicals:

Fabrics often go through various treatments during production. These can make the fabric stiff and affect how it behaves while sewing. Pre-washing removes these chemicals, revealing the fabric's true texture and making it easier to work with.


Bonus: Cleanliness is Key!

Fabric can accumulate dust and dirt during its journey from the factory to your doorstep. Pre-washing ensures your project starts sparkling clean.


When Can You Skip the Pre-Wash?

There are a few exceptions to the pre-washing rule:

Synthetic fabrics: Synthetics like polyester generally shrink minimally. Check the care label, but pre-washing might not be necessary.

Delicate fabrics: Delicate fabrics with special care instructions might require dry cleaning. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Quilting pre-cuts: Charm packs and jelly rolls etc. often have a tighter weave which means minimal shrinkage. This saves you time and lets you dive right into your project. However, keep in mind that the batting (also called wadding) used in quilting can sometimes shrink, so pre-washing that might still be a good idea.


Pre-Washing Pro Tips:

Prevent fraying by overlocking the raw edges or using a zigzag stitch before washing.

Wash similar colours together. Prevent colour bleeding by washing fabrics of similar intensity separately.

Wash, dry and iron your fabric exactly how you'll treat the finished garment. This ensures consistent shrinkage and colorfastness.


By incorporating pre-washing into your sewing routine, you'll save yourself time and frustration in the long run. So next time you have a fabric waiting to be transformed, consider whether pre-washing is right for your fabric. 

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