Fabric: To Wash, or Not To Wash…that is the Question!

13 Feb


So this may seem like a silly question to those of you who have been sewing garments for any length of time, but for a novice like me who’s only made craft-type things and hasn’t sewn anything wearable – I found it to be my first question when I brought out my bright, crisp, and beautiful fabric in preparation for my first-ever clothes making project! Should I wash the fabric before cutting it…or is it really necessary to take that extra step?? Will it really make a difference one way or another?!

Okay, okay…so it’s not really clothes that I’m making..it’s an apron! : ) I’m excited about it though and I’m even attempting to follow a store bought pattern. Of course, I have used patterns before…but they were those easy templates printed from the internet that guided me to outline a shape, or I’d draw my own pattern to make a crafty project…but a real pattern on that flimsy, thin paper from an envelope for what seems to be a simple apron was…well – it was kind of intimidating when I laid it all out! Then, this fabric question popped into my head! Wash it? Don’t wash it?? What to do!?

As usual, I went surfing (on the internet of course) and found a great article about this exact subject at Makeit-Loveit.com and thought I should share it with all of you since you too may have had the same question! After all, if I have heard conflicting opinions, maybe you have too! Some quilters say NEVER to wash the fabric first, some crafters say it’s not necessary, and others say that washing fabric ahead of time may cause the colors to fade and only delay starting your project! Still, there are some who swear that washing beforehand is the only option, without exception.

Opinions on this subject may still vary but what I found img_8663to be the best choice was…(drum roll please…)….WASH, DRY and IRON….and always, always, ALWAYS iron after washing. I admit, I hate ironing. Ironing the freshly washed fabric, however,  ensures proper measuring and cutting, and makes the fabric easier to work with than a freshly washed and dried crumpled and twisted piece of fabric would be.

If you want to know more, click here for the ins-and-outs of why fabric should always be washed before sewing anything – yes even before sewing those crafts! You’ll also learn why we should wash our crisp new fabric as soon as we bring it home from the store!

Hopefully this little tidbit of info will help you get more out of your sewing experience and keep you happily sewing along!

If you have any sewing tips you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Sewing!!

10 Responses to “Fabric: To Wash, or Not To Wash…that is the Question!”

  1. Naomi February 13, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

    Always worth doing. Nothing worse than the heartbreak of having something shrink when you wash it for the first time!

    • SewGiddy February 14, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

      I would be heartbroken too! Thanks for the encouragement and THANK YOU for stopping by and taking a moment to share a comment!

  2. Twilight Storm Crafts February 14, 2016 at 12:54 am #

    If you haven’t ever straitened the grain on fabric before its worth doing too after the wash dry iron. Maybe not critical for an apron but depending on the fabric it could affect its drape on you. I never bothered with it when making certain projects but that’s because I was lazy and it should have been done. In clothing you really should though especially if the fabric was folded on a bolt. BTW- I do trace my flimsy tissue patterns onto Pellon Easy Pattern cloth so I don’t cut my original patterns. It’s another pain in the butt step I do but I really like how the Pellon handles. There’s other products like it that might be more cost effective for you. Good luck on your first clothing pattern though!

    • SewGiddy February 14, 2016 at 6:43 am #

      Thank you for all the great tips! Looks like I need to go shopping for Pellon and a tracing wheel! 🙂 …and I’ve never heard of straightening the grain, so that’s on my list of things to learn and try! So glad you stopped by and thank you for taking the time to share your tips & suggestions!

      • Twilight Storm Crafts February 16, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

        This video (and all the others in her series) has info I wish I watched years ago it starts right off into how to straiten the grain, and reading fabric register marks. I wish I lived by the place I’d so take her classes! https://youtu.be/rvUlpC6VLOc
        hope this is useful!

        • SewGiddy February 16, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

          Awesome!!! THANK YOU!!

  3. norma February 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    I always wash quilting fabrics – don’t know why – I am probably following some long ago, long forgotten instruction but it somehow got into my head.
    I don’t always wash dressmaking fabric – I like the new fabric & I think modern fabrics don’t shrink, shed dye or whatever the way they may have done in the distant past.

    • SewGiddy February 14, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

      I actually like the crisp, new feel of freshly bought fabric too – probably why I didn’t wash them before making things in the past. Since I’m fairly new to sewing and definitely new to making clothes, I am finding I’m pretty methodical with each step of the process so if the finished product did shrink, I’d be extremely disappointed. I am also a terrible judge of fabric so I have no clue what would shrink, wrinkle, or fade, if at all. I buy like I choose my race horses…I pick what’s pleasing to my eyes and my mood, and of course compliments the project at hand. I rarely look at what the fabric is made from (I know, don’t laugh – but it’s true!)…learning about fabric is certainly on my list of tasks I plan to tackle! Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to share a comment! I’ll take all the help I can get!

  4. amapolisms March 25, 2016 at 8:17 pm #

    Also a novice when it comes to sewing but my mom’s been at it for quite some time. 😉 And, yes, wash, dry and iron the fabric first. I don’t like the last step as much but it helps a great deal! 😀

    • SewGiddy March 25, 2016 at 10:54 pm #

      I don’t love ironing, EVER. In this case, however I will always iron now. I appreciate all the advise I have been given, and appreciate your stopping by!!

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