Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Do I have to prewash fabric?

Prewashing fabric is not something I was aware off before I started reading sewing blogs, but now it's the first thing I tell new sewers, remember to prewash your fabric.

But why do we prewash fabric? Well there's two main reasons
1. Sometimes fabric shrinks. Prewashing it means you've pre shrunk the fabric which in turn means your fitted dress will still fit perfectly after the first, second and third wash.

2. Sometimes it's not quite colour fast. Pre washing can get rid of excess dye that might still be sat on the fabric!

In my defence I thought I had prewashed this, but it turns out I had prewashed my other dark red piece of fabric. Awww well you live and learn hopefully some stain remover will sort it out!

Other reasons to prewash fabric:
- It can help to indicate how much your fabric will fray each time it goes through the wash. And therefore how much finishing you need to do on the seams.
- prewashing can show you how wrinkled your fabric will be after each wash and therefore if your going to iron it every time.
- If your using second hand or vintage fabric a good wash can help to remove weird smells and stains (Incidently if you think your vintage fabric has moth balls pop it in a carrier bag and put it in the freezer for a few days and then wash, the cold kills the moths and their eggs.
- ironing after prewashing can alert you to fabric flaws , and holes in the fabric (this is useful for vintage fabric) and faded areas. 

So how do you prewash fabric?

( DISCLAIMER : this is how I prewash all of my fabrics however I DO NOT use expensive fabrics and I don't have time to faff about with washing, if you are using a expensive or sentimental fabric I suggest you get your washing advice from a dry cleaner) 

Right so I personally do it in this order (for day to day wear fabrics)

Buy fabric
Chuck fabric in washing machine using the same amount of powder and comfort as I do for a normal load. Wash at the same temperature as I would for a normal load. (30° for colours  40° for whites ) 

Basically treat the fabric exactly as I will when the garment is sewn up. I find this way stops any nasty surprises! 

Then I chuck it in the tumble dryer on the standard setting and iron according to how I iron most things (I do turn my iron down for some fabrics so its worth testing on a scrap)

The only exception is when I buy coat fabric this I wash according to the fabric and advice I find on line and dry in the same manner. Naturally I don't wash coats every week so they tend to be more luxury items as far as washing goes and I tend to hand wash quite a few of them so they stay nice! 

Much love 




  1. All good advice Frankie. When I wash I always throw in a Colour Catcher too, just in case.

    1. im hearing good things about these colour catchers! I may have the invest!


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