Washing Fabric

Having pre-washed fabric is always recommended.  Just so I don’t cut into my fabric, I leave the washing of it till I know what I am doing.  I even pre-wash the muslin.  I have done the muslin mockups.  Now I have a good idea how the pieces fit together, so it is time to wash the fabric I am actually going to use for the garments.

Today is the day to wash fabric.  I prefer to wash fabric with other things that wont bleed into it.  I also find that if I edge it with a zig-zag it does not frae very far.  Sometimes it needs a little more than just a zig-zag stitch, it needs surging.

I use zig-zag on fabric that has a tight weave.  I find I only need to zig-zag the ends because the finished salvage is woven in such a way it will not frae.  When the fabric is a loose weave like wool or other natural fibers I find that I actually need to surge around all the edges.  This means that the 7 plus yards of wool needs to be surged before it goes in the wash.

All  the fabric that is going to be used in the garment(s) needs to be pre-washed.  It needs to be pre-washed because if one part of the garment is not pre-washed, it may change size or shape after it is already apart of the finished garment.  It would really suck if say the interfacing shrunk and the fashion fabric did not.  You basically have a garment you were proud of but you no longer want to wear just it does not look good and it just feels odd.  So wash everything.

Most fabric can go into a front loader washing machine.  I try to wash fabric with clothes of the same color.  This way the fabric does not feel like it is being picked on and will not distort the weave.

Dryers are something to consider.  Cotton and rayon is just fine in the dryer.  When you start doing synthetics you will need to keep an eye on the temp to make sure it does not get too hot.  Yet another reason to wash with other clothes, so the fabric you are pre-washing does not get the full force of the dryer heat.  Silk is like synthetics,  not too much heat please.

Wool, if it is a small enough piece, you can wrap it in a towel to dry.  You can put it in the dryer.  You must not over dry it or you may end up with felt instead of the lovely fabric you put in.  You can always pull it out a little early and let it finish drying at room temp.  If that is not an option (due to small children / pets who want to help / or just no space) you can monitor the dryer as it get closer to being dry.  You can also just put it on air dry.  Still, too much tumbling and you may end up with felt.

Interfacing can be treated like fabric EXCEPT if it is fusible.  if it is fusible DO NOT put in dryer.  You may not want to put it in the washer.  If the fusing substance on the backing comes off easy you don’t want it coming off in the wash.  Bad for the washer and worse for getting an even fuse of the two fabrics.  Wash by hand and roll in a towel to dry.  Also if you are using any type of tape you should wash it in a bowel and roll it in a towel as well.

Yep, there is a lot to wash but it pays off when your garment does not go out of joint.  Also by pre-washing it, you are setting up how you will care for the garment.  If you do not pre-wash the fabric, and sometimes that is necessary,  it will a Dry Clean only garment.

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