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Forum > Sewing Techniques and Tips > To wash or not wash fabric! ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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To wash or not wash fabric!
pre treating fabric
Nan Kay
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Nan Kay  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/4/12 10:24 AM

I almost always pre treat fabric according to the fabric type. Wools get steamed, cotton gets warm water and dried, same with most blends. Once in a while I question how necessary it is with some fabrics. I had a lovely piece of navy with white polka dot linen, cotton blend in the stash. Yes, it has been aged a bit, maybe longer than a bit, like several years! But I was in a hurry and didn't really want to take the hour necessary to wash it, but decided to do it any way. Well, you guessed it, complete disaster! It came out of the cool water wash with faded streaks through the whole yardage. It is completely unusable. This was not a dry clean only fabric, but it certainly wasn't stable. I am sorry to loose the piece but would be more than sorry if I had spent the time to make the garment, then throw it out!

So once again, I am on the treat it first band wagon!

------
Nancy

PattiAnnJ
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PattiAnnJ
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In reply to Nan Kay <<
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Date: 8/4/12 11:04 AM

Sorry about your fabric.

Although, I too have found my first instinct is almost always correct, I have occasionally skipped the process of lightly pre-washing and drying (or dry cleaning) as I intend to do once the project has been completed.

Not only can dyes and chemical treatments be unstable, you never know where the fabric has traveled during the trip from the factory to the display.

Or, how many times the store staff has tossed the bolt onto the floor while re-organizing!

Just look at the bottom of your shoes after walking across a black-top parking lot - ugh! Now that sight should be enough for me to stop procrastinating about pre-washing! I should take a picture and post it on the door where my stash is stored.

------
I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

Nan Kay
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In reply to PattiAnnJ <<


Date: 8/4/12 1:23 PM

There is another good reason to wash it before it enters the stash! I've spent a lot of time in fabric stores and their back rooms are not the cleanest of places and that is where our fabric sits, let alone where some of it is made. Think I'll start washing before letting it age!

------
Nancy

path49
path49
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Date: 8/4/12 2:25 PM

I pretreat EVERY fabric since the early '70's. I made a dress to go out for a big night on the town...& those nights out were rare when I had 3 little ones! The fabric was synthetic...kind of a heavy gauge tricot paisley print. Didn't think there'd be any shrinkage so I didn't wash it first. Well, I got to wear it ONCE! After it was washed, I think it would have fit my 3 year old daughter!!!

I learned my lesson then but, I absolutely LOVED that dress...I still get a little sick thinking about it....

idahodogs
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idahodogs
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Date: 8/4/12 2:38 PM

I prewash everything as soon as I get it home. No way would I be able to remember which pieces had been been prepped and which hadn't after more than a couple days!

Besides, I'm never ready to cut into a piece right after I get it, but I'm so excited that I want to do *something* with it - so I wash it

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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Date: 8/4/12 11:31 PM

I can usually tell when something's been prewashed--the cut ends get a short, fuzzy fringe instead of a crisp cut edge. Knits tend to curl a little more than just off the bolt. Of course, this doesn't help if you've washed then *used* some of the yardage! Ha!

------
~Gem in the prairie

cocosloft
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Date: 8/5/12 7:15 AM

I make myself launder new fabric before it goes in the loft. It sits on my kitchen counter and reminds me until I do it! And when it comes time to use it, I'm always glad I took the time.

------
Coco

Fran G
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In reply to idahodogs <<


Date: 8/5/12 8:09 AM

A little tip: after prewashing, snip a bit off a corner so there is an angle ..a signal to yourself that the piece has been prewashed.

bluefly
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Date: 8/5/12 8:30 AM

Everything gets washed;I then enter the yardage in the computer along with what pattern number I intend to use (if I know it yet).

------
"Let's make the most of this day"
bluefly

2 Airedales n Me
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In reply to Fran G <<
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Date: 8/5/12 10:40 AM

Like idahodogs, I snip all four corners of cottons and other non-ravelly wovens before pre-washing. For anything that will ravel I serge each cut end first. Knits? I find the cut ends often curl up. But...like many others here absolutely every piece I buy gets pre-washed before storing....so it's good and ready when the mood strikes me.

I did read the other day that some people wash and dry linen three times before sewing. Hmmmm. If that is necessary (?) I have more washing to do!

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