Do you always wash your cotton before sewing clothing?

Discussion in 'Sewing & Quilting' started by InHisName, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. InHisName

    InHisName Well-Known Member Supporter

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    what if you are quilting? Do you wash it then????
     
  2. hippygirl

    hippygirl Well-Known Member

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    I've always washed cotton before cutting, but I've known some who don't.
     

  3. AngieM2

    AngieM2 Big Front Porch advocate Supporter

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    I had never heard of doing this, until I started doing the quilt block swaps here.

    I have heard of not doing it if you want to shrink it later to give the old fashioned look.

    So, it depends on whether the pre-shrinking is what you need. But, I've been told by some quilt stores that the modern cotton does not need pre-shrinking.
     
  4. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I always preshrink, not "wash". The sizing in the fabric acts as a detergent, so if you just put it through a rinse cycle that is enough. The fabric then goes into the dryer, or I usually iron it so it is nice and pressed, ready to cut. When I used to use midgrade fabric for quilting (JoAnn Fabrics) I didn't rinse or wash it first because some of that fabric was flimsy and needed sizing to hold together for cutting and sewing. In that case I sprayed the fabric with water and ironed it. I will test dark colors for bleeding.

    I don't think it's a good idea to sew first then shrink because the fabrics shrink at different rates. It's better, if you want that look, to use a backing that has a 1 - 2 % shrinkage.
     
  5. huzzyjr

    huzzyjr Well-Known Member

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    I just wore a shirt yesterday that I made with unwashed cotton..........oooooppps.
    Tight in the arms, then remembered I had not washed the fabric first.
    It was a fabric line that just came out last fall, I treat fabric like wine, buy it and then let it age on the shelf awhile. lol
     
  6. sewserious

    sewserious Well-Known Member

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    Always do. I want it preshrunk. If I am making clothing, I may put it through the rinse cycle and dry 3 or 4 times before cutting and sewing as cotton usually continues to shrink for a few washes.
     
  7. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Always, always, always!

    I serge or sew the two cut edges and pin the fabric still folded with lare safety pins to hold it together.

    Then, I wash it and add vinegar to the rinse to get whatever chemicals that have been sprayed on.

    I read somewhere that insecticides are used on fabric that comes from overseas.
     
  8. Parttimefarmer

    Parttimefarmer Well-Known Member

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    I wash and press before sewing.
     
  9. InHisName

    InHisName Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks! Ardie, that is a great idea....
     
  10. Tommyice

    Tommyice Indomitable

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    I've always done what Ardie does with cottons. My apparel fabric I treat differently. Never wash until ready to use so that I can treat it the same way I will treat the garment. Even though some things can be put through the washer/dryer, there are some garments I like to hand wash only.
     
  11. BusyBees2

    BusyBees2 Well-Known Member

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    I never prewash, unless it's for a swap. I might prewash navys, reds and black.

    I like the shrinkage after I finish a quilt and have never had any problems with unevenness.

    I never considered prewashing for garments. Guess that's why some of the things I make don't fit well! LOL
     
  12. CarrieAnne

    CarrieAnne Well-Known Member

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    I always prewash, just what I was always taught to do. I remember a lady in the 80s gave me some blue and red fabric that bled awfully....seems like the stuff now has better dyes though, I never see much bleeding at all.
     
  13. emdeengee

    emdeengee Well-Known Member

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    Always. And the amount of shrinkage is appalling in much of the yardgoods sold today.
     
  14. Terri in WV

    Terri in WV Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't sew clothing, so I can't comment on that.

    I quilt though and I never prewash/preshrink my fabric before use unless it's for a swap here. I like working with crisp fabric and have way too much material to prewash and resize before using. In 25 years of quilting I have never had a problem with any of the unwashed fabric that I have used in quilts. I do take care to wash my quilts in cold water and don't overly dry them.
     
  15. Garnet

    Garnet Well-Known Member

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    I always wash all fabric, and dry and press as the end product will be laundered. I use a minimum of detergent.

    I have hand washed some fat quarters and had some bleed. So I want that taken care of before the fabric goes into a quilt or garment.

    Some fabric is wound on the bolts out of alignment with the grain. So I want to give the fabric a chance to wash and dry into alignment.
     
  16. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That too! :rock:
     
  17. RedDirt Cowgirl

    RedDirt Cowgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I want to have the fabric in it's finished state after going through the most extreme conditions - hot wash and dry, then ironing - so I can use the right stitch and finishing techniques for a smooth garment. No fabric, even backing, shrinks evenly.

    THREAD is the big shrinker that can ruin all your work - I only use the Swiss-made Mettler now; it makes a huge difference, and I think it pays for itself just in the amount of ironing those burbled collars and plackets require. Your sewing machine will thank you too!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  18. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I also only use Mettler.
     
  19. calliemoonbeam

    calliemoonbeam Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've been told that modern fabrics don't have to be prewashed, but I do it anyway just to be safe and to get out the sizing. I wash, dry and then iron before ever cutting a piece, lots of work, but it's the way I was taught so I'm used to it (but then I'm older than dirt, lol) and I've never had anything shrink up or bleed on me, so I stick with what I know.

    Ardie did have a good idea about getting it ready before washing though! I think the hardest part is untwisting it and spreading it out after it comes out of the dryer, especially if it's a 5-yard piece of fabric, like I use lots of times, lol! :eek:

    Quality thread is a must!
     
  20. Sweetsong

    Sweetsong Well-Known Member

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    Sewing/tailoring class in college: pre-treat your fabric exactly how you will be treating it after the garment is sewn. So for wool jacket and skirt that was to be made I had the fabric, hair canvas and zipper dry cleaned. (that was 28 years ago, maybe it's different now)