Is pre-washing a do or don’t in your sewing process? It’s definitely a “do” for me. I was taught that you should always pre-wash your fabric as you intend to wash it in the future. So for example, if you have a wool fabric that requires extra care, then you can take it to the dry cleaners for this process. Or if you have a low maintenance fabric then you can put it in the washing machine with like colors. Here’s 5 reasons why this is essential to my sewing process!
1. Colors can run. If you’re someone that wears your me-makes quite frequently then it’s important to give it a good pre-wash. Deep colors like reds, pinks and even some denim will run. You’ll want to avoid those accidents when you wash them with your other clothes. Pre-washing allows for this step to happen in the process time -and you’ll avoid heartache later!
2. Fabric shrinks. I don’t know the exact amount that fabric shrinks in the prewash process, but you definitely don’t want it to shrink after you have fitted it to your liking and worked hard to make it. Plus if you wash it after you’ve made it, then it can allow your seams to pucker and look stressed. You definitely don’t want that.
3. It softens fabric. Sometimes fabric is stiff! A good wash and a tumble in the dryer will soften up even the toughest of linens and cottons.
4. You can’t avoid ironing. Raise your hand if you’ve started a project without a good press to your fabric just because it seemed like it was “okay” when you took it from the store. I’ve been guilty of this and have had good luck and bad luck with this philosophy. When you pre-wash your fabric, pressing out the wrinkles is inevitable and ultimately will allow your pattern pieces to lay smoother -essentially giving you more accurate cuts!
5. Pre-washing removes harsh chemicals from fabrics. As much as we’d love to think that our me-makes are chemical free, sometimes this is not the case. Removing those toxins in the wash is a good measure to take.
And if this is your first time pre-washing, that’s okay too! I got you covered! This step does not require a lot of detergent. In fact, I usually don’t go past line 1 on my detergent cup. Also, fraying is normal and there are ways to prevent it. Pinking Shears are a really great way to make sure those edges don’t get out of hand. If you don’t have time to do this, then no worries you can snip the frayed edges after it comes out of the wash!