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Topic: To prewash or not to prewash, that is the question...  (Read 11982 times)
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2008 03:45:22 PM »

always, on hot, just like mom taught me, of course it's neccessary, as I make diapers and they have to be washed on hot.

the first batch of fabric I bought got washed on warm accidentally, and none of those diapers fit anymore.

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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2008 01:53:21 AM »

I prewash everything, immediately upon its' entry into the house.  The laundry room is the first stop for all fabrics, and if the fabric is to be dry-cleaned, it doesn't even come into the house, but goes straight to the cleaners.  This means that any fabric I see in the house is ready to be worked with, and I don't have to try to figure which is ready and which is not.

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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2008 06:27:03 AM »

I wash everything as soon as I can - most everything I'm going to make with it will end up in the washer at some point, so it's good to get it pre-shrunk (and find out if the dye runs, which it never has).

I find the act of washing, drying, and ironing my fabric (along with the pesky cutting off extra threads and perhaps spray-starching) very helpful. I feel like I really get to know my fabric and it helps me determine if it's really going to work on the project I had it picked out for, or if I didn't have a plan in mind, it gives me an idea of what I can do with it. For instance, some fabrics look great, and then when they come out of the dryer they need to be ironed like crazy. Well, that's not very good for a dress shirt (imho), so I'll make something else out of it. Other fabrics have a nice sheen to them on the bolt, and when they come out of the dryer it goes away, or sometimes (even better) it stays, and then I love the fabric even more. It's easier to tell the fabric's true drape and quality after washing and drying.

But, that said, I haven't made anything that won't end up getting washed (like a purse), so it's just one view of the issue.
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2008 08:49:02 AM »

I always wash the fabric first -  I tend to use 100% wool, linen or silk and I always treat them the same way.  Hot wash  Grin - sometimes boil wash Shocked then in the drier.  Not had a disaster yet and I know that everything I make can be thrown in the washer when necessary Cheesy


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« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2008 10:57:09 AM »

Fabric tends to shrink in the length more than the width (probably because of that whole stretch-onto-the-bolt thing someone else described). 

The biggest post-sewing problems with fabric that isn't pre-washed are puckered seams (because the two pieces of fabric shrink different amounts) and sudden shortness.

I always pre-wash natural fabrics (cotton, rayon, silk, wool) the same way I'm going to wash them when done.  I've gotten some weird surprises that would have been awful if it happened post-sewing, like the pink stripes that washed completely out of the fabric, leaving it plain white.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2008 10:59:59 AM by steiconi » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2008 03:31:33 PM »

I always told to wash before you sew any type of fabric. This is great way to know if your fabric is going to shrink.

« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2008 08:16:07 AM »

I hardly ever prewash. I forget who it was, but in an interview a designer/pattern maker, said they only prewash when they are doing a mass amount of something. Like if they are really popping out quilts for an upcoming show. BUT they said that most high quality materials don't have much of a shrinking issue, that it is mostly cheaper materials that shrink, and they wash it for chemicals more then anything. She said that when doing a LOT of sewing the chemicals started to bother her.

I have to agree with her. I've never really had shrinkage, especially on the nicer stuff. The cheaper fabric that has an obvious loose weave usually shrinks, but the high quality well woven stuff usually doesn't. Also things like corduroy I've never had a problem with shrinking. Flannel, even WITH prewashing slowly seems to shrink.

I really think it's preference, and what you're working with.

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« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2008 10:18:52 PM »

I've heard quite a few professionals say they never wash prior to sewing, some here on Craftster in other threads.  Here's the thing. 

How many of us have had the experience of buying something at the store, following the care instructions on the label, and then had the garment shrink?  Or the colours bleed or the drape or finish changes radically?  Guess what?  It's because it's not prewashed.  Guess what else?  That whole "the professionals don't do it" is one argument that doesn't work for me.

When I was still in Canada, some fabrics were labelled on the bolt as prewashed.  Those are the only fabrics that I would think might (but might only) be okay with not prewashing, but honestly, even those I would prewash. 

Like others, I always prewash.  Everything.  I want to get rid of any starches, sizings, etc. that are on the fabric.  I want it to shrink so I have no surprises later.  I want to see how the fabric will really behave under normal washing conditions.  I want to find out if the colour is going to bleed.  I prewash because I don't like surprises.  Smiley

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« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2008 03:18:20 PM »

It depends. Sometimes I do prewash, but if I know for sure that it won't be washed then I don't bother. I do love the process though.

« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2008 09:50:24 AM »

Almost always pre-wash.  My mother taught me.  I treat fabric the way it's going to be treated.  If I line-dry the fabric, it becomes a line-dry garment.  If it's dry-clean only, I don't wash it or dry-clean it.  In addition to sizing and fabric hanging wrong on the bolt (warp and weft aren't square), I've seen shrinkage, as much as several inches, width-wise in cotton fabrics.  That's a real bitch on 45" fabric which suddenly becomes 41-42" and your pattern barely fits on it.  I use a cold-water wash, as I do with all my clothing.  I guess, as others have said, if you're not going to wash the final product, you don't have to pre-wash. 


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