Tuesday, October 8, 2013

So Sew! Day 8: Fabric Prep

Welcome to day 8 of our 31 Days sewing series! Today we're prepping our fabric so it can be used.

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Once we've purchased the fabric for our project, it is wise to do a little prep work before using it. This step can be ho-hum, especially since I'm all like LETMEATTHISFABRIC! Do you feel that way? That pretty, crisp, new fabric is just begging to be used!!

christmas fabrics
I picked these up after last year's Christmas season, and I've been dying to get at them all year!! And yes, this is officially a peek into So Sew Organized's Christmas collection! =)

Here is the number one tip for new fabric - it may shrink. It doesn't always, but it might. You might spend lots of time making clothing for your family only to have it shrink the first time they wash it. That may or may not have happened recently. Ahem.

So it is a good idea, especially with cotton fabrics, to pre-wash and dry it. I always do with fabrics for my shop so that I can guarantee that the finished product is washable.

I just throw it in the washer on a mild setting. You don't really even need detergent.

I've read somewhere that you should hand-wash fabrics so that this doesn't happen...

but really, I haven't found that it matters. Yes, the cut ends fray some in the washer. But very likely the ends weren't cut straight anyway {there's my soapbox again} and you're going to have to even things out regardless. I just trim the threads off before throwing them in the dryer, so they don't get too tangled up and dry all wrinkled.

Once they come out of the dryer {try to catch them while they are still warm so they don't wrinkle!} I give them a quick ironing. I normally fold the piece back in half, the way it was on the bolt, and make sure everything is lined up and straight. Sometimes the fabric was not on the bolt straight, so it was cut wrong, and major lining up has to be done. This is especially important with stripes or plaids.

Once I've ironed it, I just lay it out on my cutting mat and trim the cut edge. Now I have straight edges and even corners to work with!

That's it. That is all the prep work that is normally required. To me it is well worth the effort, as it may be crucial to your finished product later on!

{In my defense: that piece I referenced earlier that shrunk in the wash....it was a really big piece of fabric, and a heavier denim. I didn't feel it could go through the washer very well. But apparently I should have tried anyway. =) Lesson learned!}

Challenge: Have you purchased fabric for your next project! Stop right now and go stick it in the washer...it can be washing while you are reading this! If you have a regular fabric prep routine, what is it? Any more tips you have to share?


  1. I bought some fabric to make pillows for my Bedroom... washing now!

    1. Good for you! Can't wait to see the finished product! =)


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