To Pre-Wash or not to Pre-Wash, that is the question

by Rachel Baker on January 13, 2014

I never know whether I should pre-wash the fabric or not before I start sewing. I fully recognize I probably should consider the project and the type of fabric I am using, but I’m not even completely sure what that means. Cotton shrinks, and beyond that, truly, I’m probably pretty clueless.

I went on an internet expedition to figure out what this all-import question really is asking and the answer to it. Here’s the best site I found for helping me understand why my stitching seems to be pulling after the project is finished and I threw it in the wash…

What exactly is prewashing?

It’s just what it sounds like: washing fabric before use.

To do this, sort fabric by colors, separating light and dark. Always wash like colors together on a cold cycle with a gentle detergent. Once finished, shake out fabrics before tossing them into the dryer. Remove fabric promptly to prevent wrinkling. The edges will fray during this process, so trim them off before folding the fabric. If the fraying bothers you, the edges can be serged or zigzag stitched to keep them tidy.

Read more about tips for handling new fabrics here:

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