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Forum > Fabrics and more... > Prewashing and/or Preshrinking Viscose Lycra ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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Prewashing and/or Preshrinking Viscose Lycra
Is There a Time to Pass on Prewashing and/or Preshrinking?
a7yrstitch
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a7yrstitch  Friend of PR
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Date: 7/16/12 0:29 AM

Opinions please.

If the test sample indicates zero, or near zero shrinkage and minimal loss of color, does it even make sense to prewash this category of fabric, viscose/lycra?

I can't remember making anything that was washable, ever, without preshrinking. Am I kicking my self with this 'habit'. Will this fabric be easier to handle if it is not prewashed - as long as the swatch testing goes well?

I've got a prewashed piece with a black background. Now, it made sense to prewash that piece. No shrinkage, but some loss of color. It's a print that might have bled onto different thread or trim choices.

I have another print (same source), blues and greens, small amount of yellow. There is no visible color loss or transfer and no shrinkage when testing the large swatches. Is this fabric going to be easier to pin, cut and sew if I do not prewash it (seems it doesn't seem necessary for this one particular fabric)?

Since I'm relatively inexperienced with this fabric category (and just started online shopping last year), I'm getting enough extra fabric to be really thorough with testing everything, color loss, washing shrinkage, drying shrinkage (always hung after first drying), stitching.

I use 4 x 8 inch swatches or 6 inch square swatches.

What do you think? Easier to sew without prewashing (when the swatches indicate), or not?

***Just to be clear to anyone not testing with swatches, I am a prewash fanatic. Don't want to head anyone in the wrong direction with my question.

------
I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

LynnRowe
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In reply to a7yrstitch <<
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Date: 7/16/12 8:03 AM

I still prewash; there's a lot of dirt and grime fabrics pick up sitting in one warehouse and another, being handled by various people until it reaches its final destination. There can also be puckering of seams after the garment is sewn and washed if it isn't prewashed.

Knit fabrics can be off-grain when the fiber is relaxed after prewashing. If you don't prewash, your garment can end up twisting off-grain when it is washed.

It may be fine to skip the prewashing...I personally wouldn't, but that's just me.

------
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And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

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m/m

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Date: 7/16/12 9:27 AM

Another vote for prewashing - you learn more about your fabric that way: what it will really act like, excess dye, etc. Machine wash and dry once. After that machine wash and hang to dry because the drier is harder on the clothing than the washer.

a7yrstitch
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In reply to m/m <<
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Date: 7/16/12 10:02 AM

LynnRowe and m/m, thank you. I had wondered if the edges would lay flatter without, but it is obviously not worth the potential trade offs. Knits that twist after washing make me crazy (er). Getting rid of manufacturing and accumulated debris is an excellent point. And, I'm sure a full on wash and dry will have more effect on the fabric than my swatch tests.

So, thanks again, this is what I needed to know, not a time to stray from a lifetime of prewashing/preshrinking.

Off to the laundry room to prep fabric for the new machine!!!

------
I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

Miss Fairchild
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Date: 7/16/12 1:03 PM

I once bought some really dreamy rayon georgette in a light buttercream color. I didn't think I should prewash it because of course, rayon doesn't shrink much and I was anxious to make something. So as I laid it out on my cutting table, I noticed a very large bootprint on one corner. That was enough to make me prewash all my apparel fabrics, no matter how light weight, non-shrinkable, etc.

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a7yrstitch
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In reply to Miss Fairchild <<
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Date: 7/16/12 1:21 PM

Thanks, Miss Fairchild. All in all, it seems not only unwise, but probably a bit disgusting to not pretreat. Just heard the ding so it is ready for the dryer.

So glad I waited on the new machine for this particular piece.

And....had a lightbulb moment for other fabrics that I am prepping. Pulling our nice outdoor mesh chaise lounge out of the garage for air drying and for a big flat surface to dry gelatin infused fabric on before cutting it. No rusting components and I'll cover it with an old sheet first.

On a roll..........

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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

kitphantom
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Date: 7/18/12 9:49 AM

I'll add my two cents, though it looks like you've already decided to prewash that particular piece of fabric.
I've washed pretty much everything since I began to sew. I began to quilt in the era when it was suggested not to prewash, so any shrinkage helped the quilted look. When I changed back to washing everything, I noticed that I had fewer problems with the skin on my hands, since sizing, dirt, etc. was gone. (Cotton sucks the moisture out of my skin, so I still have some problems when I'm doing a lot of sewing in a short time.)
I've always figured that before I spend time and effort to make a garment, I want to know how it will behave in the washer. If I buy that one weird piece of whatever, it usually shows up when I prewash it. I may change my plans for a particular piece of fabric, once I see what happens when it is washed.

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a7yrstitch
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In reply to kitphantom <<
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Date: 7/18/12 11:18 AM

Thank you for bringing up an excellent point!!! I have very sensitive skin. I hadn't even considered that testing swatches may make it seem like it is okay for the fabric to reconsider prewashing but that it would definitely not be okay for me.

Your post has brought to mind what might happen if I was handling unwashed fabric and then started swiping at my face to move my hair

Thank you ladies. I'm happy to report that the knits that I prepared this week all lay just as flat as ever. My habit on everything except these newer knits had been to prep the fabric as soon as it arrives home. I'll be treating all the 'new' knits that way now too.

Silly that I could have considered letting potential ease of fabric handling preempt common sense. For those of you wondering what I was thinking, I'll blurt it out myself.

What was I thinking?

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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

stirwatersblue
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Date: 7/18/12 3:28 PM

For me, the test swatch is expressly to see if I CAN machine wash something--not to see if I can get away without it!

I'm a fanatic like you, too--always wondering how to pretreat every single yard of fabric that comes into the house, be that washing/steaming/or just staring at it fiercely, willing it to behave (and then never get dirty!).

But I did have a question about Miss Fairchild's post:

Quote:
I once bought some really dreamy rayon georgette in a light buttercream color. I didn't think I should prewash it because of course, rayon doesn't shrink much and I was anxious to make something.


I always thought that rayon shrank A LOT, so that's one fabric that absolutely gets thrown in the dryer for a few minutes on low at a minimum. Is this not the case in your experience?

Thanks!

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~Gem in the prairie

a7yrstitch
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In reply to a7yrstitch <<
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Date: 8/5/12 5:01 PM

Bumping for another question.

And......
Happily prewashing lots of fabric today.

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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

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