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Forum > Bridal and Formalwear Sewing > Pre-shrinking silk ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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Pre-shrinking silk
For wedding dress
sophielas
sophielas
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Date: 12/26/12 6:07 PM

Hello, quick question - would you pre-shrink the silk for a wedding dress?

I have shantung, chiffon and a cotton/silk blend. Obviously is dress is only intended for one-time wearing, so I am wondering how necessary pre-shrinking or steaming may be...

Thoughs?

prostheticsgirl
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prostheticsgirl
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Date: 12/26/12 6:27 PM

I sew with a lot of silks for daily wear, so I machine prewash and shrink all of them. Washing and drying can change the characteristics (example will often soften the hand of dupioni). For a wedding dress that won't require frequent laundering, the advantage is that you don't have to worry about any shrinkage that shouldn't but could occur during dry cleaning or that could occur during steaming. You may want to just wash a couple of swatches and compare.
-- Edited on 12/26/12 6:28 PM --

andye
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Date: 12/26/12 6:34 PM

what temperature do you prewash silk at?

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Bernina B330
Feet: 1,2,3,3A,4,5,7,8,10,13,16,18,20, 29,32,35,37,50,64,70,71,82,85,86, 92

prostheticsgirl
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prostheticsgirl
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Date: 12/26/12 7:53 PM

I normally pre-wash and launder them on cold to prevent the colors from fading (occasionally warm if they have odors or stains). I dry them in the dryer at a higher setting than I plan to use for everyday laundering to maximize the initial shrinkage. Typically dry on low heat or air dry thereafter.

B

B
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In reply to sophielas <<


Date: 12/26/12 7:59 PM

No, I think there is a risk in doing this. It could water spot or change hand. You could try a sample to see what happens to it.

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Janome serger 634D, Brother PC6000, Singer 500A, Kenmore Mini-Ultra, vintage Bernina 600, White Rotary treadle, New Homestead A VS treadle

MaryDB
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Date: 12/26/12 8:21 PM

For my dd's wedding dress, I steam pressed the silk/cotton blend fashion fabric, the silk dupioni midriff, and the silk charmeuse lining before cutting. The silk/acetate underlining I purposely machine washed and dried to change the hand from stiff to drapey. The lace overlay I pressed on a lower setting over a towel before cutting. I mostly just wanted to make sure the fabrics wouldn't shrink as I was sewing and pressing.

The dress was dry cleaned after the wedding without any problems or changes to the fabrics.

PattyE
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Date: 12/26/12 8:49 PM

I agree with MaryDB.

Elona
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In reply to B <<


Date: 12/26/12 10:36 PM

Without pre-washing, there is the risk of water spotting with every steam-press, every little splash in the john, every little spill or splash at any sink, fountain, or raindrop. The only preventatives against water spotting are pre-treating with water itself--or taking great care not to get near any water at all until after the wedding.

sophielas
sophielas
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In reply to Elona <<


Date: 12/26/12 10:50 PM

Thanks all, that's really helpful. And Elona you make a VERY good point.

I don't really trust myself to steam press manually. I had read somewhere that you could hang the fabric in a steamy bathroom for about an hour or so and that would yield the desired result. Has anyone done that? Good idea?

Elona
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In reply to sophielas <<
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Date: 12/26/12 11:24 PM

Silk was invented long before dry cleaning. It is a tough fabric.

This is how traditional silk kimono were washed, and it involved unsewing the panels and washing them in water. Yes, water.

We do not want a disconfrumpulated garment, as the article so richly describes the possibility, so if one is concerned about water-spotting a silk wedding dress, it would be a prudent idea to expose the silk yardage to water beforehand. Sometimes, but less often than you'd think, there is a slight decrease of luster or body, but not all the time. Washing a swatch will tell the tale.

Personally, I toss all my silks into the washer and dryer as soon as they come into the house.
-- Edited on 12/26/12 11:25 PM --

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