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Forum > Fabrics and more... > Do you really wash EVERYTHING before you make?? ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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Do you really wash EVERYTHING before you make??
I've only done it once!
heathergwo
heathergwo  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/22/12 10:04 PM

So... it seems nearly everyone washes & dries their fabric before they make something from it. Is this really true?

What about things that are probably going to be dry clean only?
What about if you're making a purse/bag?

I did it only once on a knit that I was making a top out of. I find that the fabric gets slightly more dull and sometimes naps a little and just doesn't look as nice and new after washing. If you're careful about ensuring how much a fabric will shrink and build that into the pattern sizing, does it *really* matter?? Or am I making the biggest blunder ever?

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Sauvage
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Date: 4/22/12 10:41 PM

I do. Even silks. But there isn't much I'm going to make that will be dry-clean-only (except for coats), so it's all going to go into the wash eventually. It seems hard to predict degree of shrinkage, too; thread isn't going to shrink at the same rate, if at all, so it might make the fabric ripple.

I have had one bad experience with washing silk organza.

In the last couple of years there have been bedbug problems on the east coast--not as much here around Boston as in New York--but I've taken to washing fabric as soon as it gets into the house. There is a thread about that here, but if the bugs aren't an issue on the west coast it's probably better to not even LOOK at that thread.....

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Lena Merrin
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Date: 4/22/12 10:55 PM

I do. And it saved me oh so many times. I also pre-shrink coatings

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jadamo00
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Date: 4/22/12 11:04 PM

I don't prewash fabric -- I buy it, cut it, sew it, wear it.

I always work with wovens. Laundering: cottons go into washing machine; wools get hand washed.

I never had a problem with shrinkage or distortion.

j.

Luckylibbet
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Date: 4/22/12 11:11 PM

I don't do dry cleaning.

So yes, every piece get pre-washed, sometimes as many as four times to eliminate all shrinkage. I measure the piece before washing, and then after, and if it has shrunk, it gets washed again - and if it has shrunk some more, then repeat the process. Learned from getting burned on projects that I spent time on, and then wouldn't fit after washing from shrinkage.

I've ended up throwing yardage out - if it hasn't stopped shrinking after five washes/dries it's simply poor quality and not worth the effort to sew it up. Sometimes thrown out if the hand has changed too much from the original - but again, I'd rather know the fabric is unsuitable before I invest my time in sewing.

That said - for some purposes, like handbags that are unlikely to see the washer/dryer, perhaps pre-washing is unnecessary.

Although I do believe there is a process for home treating wool, even wool that will end up being dry cleaned as, for example, a jacket, that will minimize problems at the dry cleaner.

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Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. - Steve Jobs

meleliza
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Date: 4/22/12 11:28 PM

Yea, I always prewash. If you don't, the garment may shrink after the fact and all your seams will be distorted, ruining your hard work. If the item will be dry cleaned only, you may pre treat it differently.

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Melanie

Kemish
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Date: 4/22/12 11:35 PM

Yes I am of the pre-wash crowd However, if it is a wool, then I would probably (and usually do) sew up the garment and then it is dry cleaned from then on, but I haven't sewn anything in wool for a very long time. I do, once I have made the garment from my newly washed/dried fabric always line dry the garment after that (no more in the clothes dryer). I have found that the dryer is (or can be) quite harsh on some cottons (knit or wovens) and line drying isn't a problem for me and the garments seems to last longer.

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GlButterfly

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Date: 4/22/12 11:39 PM

It's not only the shrinkage, but other factors which must be considered. Pre-washing fabric gets out any possible sizing, and, if any dye is going to run, it's best to find out before cutting out the fabric. Sometimes there will be dirt on the fabric, such as the fold, and pre-washing will get that out; thus, you won't press it in with the iron.

Granted, none of these happens that often, but all it takes is for it to happen once and ruin some beautiful fabric and all the work put into it. Probably shrinkage is the greatest concern.

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PattyE
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Date: 4/22/12 11:48 PM

I always pre-whatever my fabric before sewing it. I've even taken my fabric to the dry cleaner. If nothing else just to clean it from who-knows-who handling it beforehand.

ChickenFreak
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Date: 4/23/12 0:04 AM

Yep, I prewash essentially everything, including most silks and wools. Even if I were making a highly structured tailored item that should be dry cleaned after construction, I'd probably prewash before starting.

If a fabric absolutely cannot be washed, ever, I'm unlikely to buy it.
-- Edited on 4/23/12 0:05 AM --

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ChickenFreak
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