12 July 2010

Sewinng 101 with Shilo, To Prewash Fabric or Not

Hi my fellow stalkers followers of Chris at Pickup Some Creativity. My name is Shilo with Toadly Crafty. I "meet" Chris when we both "competed" in So You Think Your Crafty, last session. I admire her simple, yet creative crafts and her willingness to share them with the blogging world. I love paper crafting, sewing, quilting and scrapbooking. I am pretty new to this whole sewing thing...I just got into it in the last 6 months, when my cute hubby bought me a sewing machine (I had no idea at the time that it was a trick to get me to be more willing to sew on all the badges and scouting paraphernalia for him, his scouts and our sons!)

Today I am going to share my limited experience with washing verses not washing your fabrics before working with them.

I learned the hard way that it is a must to wash fabrics for clothing purposes.


I made this cute little skirt for my daughter...really one of the first things I sewed....well I did not prewash my fabric and here is how it looks today

Not very good (even though the little model is adorable!)
So for clothes, I would suggest always prewashing your fabric. This way you preshrink the fabrics and if they are bright colors it helps wash out some of the color that might bleed.

Now quilting fabric is more of a personal preference. Some prefer to pre wash...for some of the same reasons, it helps with bleeding, it preshrinks the fabrics and working with that much unwashed fabric can dry out the skin.

I however, prefer to not prewash my quilting fabrics. Mostly because working with a stiffer fabric is easier for me to manipulate and I heart the look of the wrinkled, old looking quilt that you can only get be quilting, binding and then washing.

This is a quilt I made for my nephew, this picture shows it after quilting, but before washing.


This is the quilt after washing, it is all crinkly and soft.

To help with the bleeding, I use Shout's color catcher and wash the first time in cold water....but I must say I cringe the whole time my quilt is in the washer!

There really is no wrong or right way when it comes to prewashing fabrics for quilts.

The last type of sewing projects I do are crafty ones...like these




Again it comes down to personal preference and the type/amount of use. On both of these I elected to not prewash the fabrics. However, with the tote bag, had I made it for one of my kids and it was going to get alot of use, I would have washed the fabric before sewing it, to preshrink it.

Bottom line, aside from clothing, it really is a matter of personal preference on pre washing or not prewashing you fabrics. I recommend trying it out a few ways and seeing what works best for you.

Thanks for letting me visit and happy sewing! 

Great tips, Shilo.  Thanks for sharing your experiences...both good and frustrating.  I've gotten to the point that I prewash all the fabric I bring home.  :)  Be sure to head over to Shilo's blog...she's been making beautiful quilts for her children.  

4 happy thoughts:

Design Esquire said...

Great post! I prewash all my fabrics, but I'm always frustrated when they unravel some in the washer. For some reason, even with a rotary cutter and grid, I have the hardest time getting that fabric squared off and straight!

Chris said...

Couple suggestions to handle fraying in the wash. First, use your pinking shears on the edges. Second, sew a straight stitch down the side or serge (lucky duck!) the edges. Hope that helps!

Kim said...

I don't always prewash for my crafty things, unless it is for baby and has a chance that it might go into the washer. Even if it is probably not going to end up at some time, I still try to prewash with free and clear detergent. It makes me feel a little better ;D. And I second using the pinking shears around the edges. It is a pain when you have a lot of fabric but helpful in the long run.

Elizabeth of Online Fabric Store said...

I often preshrink fabric for garments by simply rinsing it out with no detergent and then pressing it when nearly dry. I often preshrink material for crafts, such as bags by steam pressing, using both the steam from the iron and a damp cloth.

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