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Message Board > Fabrics and more... > To Pre-wash or not? ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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To Pre-wash or not?
Please help me decide and figure out how to...
Kalindi1121
Kalindi1121
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Date: 3/19/13 11:37 AM

OK, here is my dilemma. I have two large bay windows and another regular size window in our house. We are living in our house while gutting and completely renovating and redoing ourselves. I say this because these bay windows are to be ripped out next summer (probably the summer after at the rate we are going), but I must hang curtains. So whatever I hang is to be fairly temp, but needs to be nice enough to last a while.

So I found some cheap fabric at JA that matched the room and bought the 20 yards needed to cover the windows. At $3.80/ yard after coupons it is a good deal. I got it in their Keepsake Calico section so it is kind of thin and need to get a heavy weight utility fabric to line the curtain to keep it from being transparent, I was able to get this for $2/yard with coupons at JA also.

All is fine and good except normally I would pre-wash this type of fabric. I have no idea how to pre-wash this many yards. I thought about cutting it to size panels, but my first thought is that the last time I bought this quality fabric from JAs (not a fan here) it shrunk so bad I didn't have enough for the pattern I was making). I know these temporary curtains will take a beating so will need to be cleaned often in the future. I have two toddlers that get into the bay windows all the time to watch the animals outside, not to mention that we are always drywalling somewhere, ripping something out, we need to move the stairwell into this room in a few months, pull up the floor in the room next to this, and the list just keeps going.

So, do I cut into the panels and pre-wash, maybe in cold water to reduce shrinkage (of course remembering to always wash curtains in cold later)?

Or, do I just make the curtains and dry clean if ever needed later?

Any suggestions if I am to pre-wash? It is a total of 40 yards.

EleanorSews
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Date: 3/19/13 11:54 AM

I'd buy a little extra and cut the panels to allow for some shrinkage. Then prewash and run through a dryer.

I just did that on a smaller scale when making prayer blankets for church. I had over 8.75 or so yards of flannel to preshrunk and we use 1 yard by the width of the fabric for each blanket. To prewash, I cut 8 pieces plus dividing the extra inches by 8. There was shrinkage, but it was OK. Also, easier to handle.
-- Edited on 3/19/13 11:56 AM --

------
"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

"Attitude is the difference between an adventure and an ordeal." unknown

Kalindi1121
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In reply to EleanorSews <<


Date: 3/19/13 12:07 PM

How many panels would you wash at once? They would be roughly 2 yard panels. I am also afraid of them getting tangled and becoming a twisted ball of frayed ends. I will use pinking shears on the ends, but still, I am not wanting to end up with a ball of tangled ends to unravel.

Char in KS
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Char in KS
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Date: 3/19/13 1:04 PM

You could put the panels in the lingerie wash bags. I have done this before with a cotton lawn that i want to make a top from. Then you don't worry about tangling with other items. It will take longer to dry.

HanPanda
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Date: 3/19/13 1:48 PM

Cut a square of fabric...I'd suggest 5x5. Wash that normally and measure the sides. (It'll also show you how much the fabric will fray.) if the 5x5 square shrinks an inch or more (20% of that square) I would wash it again and re-measure. That will give you a good idea of how much the fabric will shrink, so you can cut the panels and take shrinkage into consideration with your measurements.

------
2014 resolution: keep track of sewn yardage!!
In: 68.5 yards
Sewn: 21 yards

I'll try anything once :)

Please excuse my typos...sometimes it is harder to go back and edit on mobile than it is worth!

Kalindi1121
Kalindi1121
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In reply to HanPanda <<


Date: 3/19/13 1:57 PM

Thanks HanPanda. I am going to try this now. I think it will give me the confidence needed before I start cutting into the 40 yards of fabric.

nancy2001
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Date: 3/19/13 3:10 PM

Another alternative would be to press the fabric with a lot of steam which is what I do whenever I don't want to prewash something.

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No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.

MartiP
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Date: 3/19/13 3:59 PM

I think with the types of fabric you have you would end up with a lot of wrinkling if you washed it. Long pieces of fabric tend to twist in the ordinary washer and dryer. It is not necessary to wash it unless you want to wash and iron the finished drapes. I don't think this would be practical. It is my opinion that you would be better off just making the drapes with the unwashed fabric. Vacuuming removes most dust and dirt. If you wanted to clean them, you can send them to the cleaners. to save money you can ask for "bulk cleaning" and press as necessary, but they won't be wrinkled and shrunk as they would if you washed them.

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MartiP

Ruckertt's Law; There is nothing so small that it can't be blown out of proportion.

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stirwatersblue
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Date: 3/19/13 5:22 PM

I would either:

--Cut a single panel plus generous seam allowances, keep track of the size, then wash as you normally would (I pre-shrink everything on hot wash/hot dry, and most of your shrinkage comes from the dryer). Measure to see how much shrinkage--length and width--there is. It could be significant, even with "good" fabric. The very expensive custom curtains that the previous owners installed shrank about 3" when I washed them.

OR

--Plan to do as Marti suggests, and don't wash them at all. To refresh them as they get dusty, you can toss them in the dryer with a damp towel to steam them.

If you do end up short, think about doing rings/grommets/tabs instead of rod pockets, or adding a band of fabric at the header or the hem.

Honestly, since they're temporary, I probably wouldn't even bother planning to wash them. Unless somebody is going to be wiping his face on them or something (looks suspiciously at her dogs), they're not going to get SO dirty in just a year.

------
~Gem in the prairie

Nancy K
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In reply to Kalindi1121 <<
thumbsup 1 member likes this.


Date: 3/19/13 6:50 PM

If these are going to be temporary, why bother? If you really want to pre wash it you can always take the yardage to the cleaners to steam or a commercial laundry.

------
www.nancyksews.blogspot.com

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