Do You Need To Wash Fabric Before Sewing?

There have been many arguments about pre-washing fabric before sewing. There are risks attached to pre-washing before sewing. What if the material loses its original color? Everything has its advantages and disadvantages.

There are lots of benefits attached to pre-washing your fabrics. Pre-washing also makes the fabric shrink and lose about 10% of its original size. Pre-washing depends on the type of materials. Fabrics don’t need to be cleaned before being sown. Fabrics that don’t need to be washed include; Polyester fabric, leather and vinyl fabric. 

The idea of washing fabric before sewing works flawlessly and helps prevent shrinkage on your garments when washed after the sewing process.

Do You Need to Wash Fabric Before Sewing?

Yes, you need to pre-wash your fabric before sewing. Pre-washing helps your fabric go through the preshrink process, get rid of chemicals in the fabrics from the production process, and prevent the colors from bleeding on the material. Pre-washing plays an essential role in the sewing process, because it helps the finished project maintain its size after sewing. Fabrics with diverse colors need to be pre-washed to avoid bleeding in the fabric. Running a color run test should be done if you are worried about the bleeding.

Materials are still treated with chemicals. Pre-washing will take them out and reduce stains in the fabric. Most fabrics from natural fibers shrink when washed. If you refuse to wash your fabric before sewing, and then wash your fabric after sewing, the garment will reduce in length and breadth (shrink). The fabric will look short and jumpy. Washing your material will make it soft and make sewing easy.

Pre-washing is crucial, because most fabrics are dirty and need to be washed. Pre-washing gets out the dust and dirt in the material.

What To Do Before To Keep Your Fabric Intact Before Pre-Washing

Some fabrics already have rough edges, and you don’t want that to worsen. Woven material needs to be overlocked around the edges before pre-washing takes place. If you don’t do anything to the rough edges, there is a probability your fabrics will fray. You can lose a few inches if you skip this step.

There are ways to finish up your edges perfectly to avoid losing inches and causing fray to your materials;

  • Pinking Shear is a zig-zag scissor that finishes up the edges of materials neatly and prevents them from fraying. It is an easy way to finish the edges without stress.
  • Serging is a machine that finishes up the edges of the material. It keeps the edges tightly in check to prevent fraying.
  • If you don’t have a serger, the zig-zag stitch will also come out nice. It will stop the fabric from fraying during washing.
  • You can test it by cutting out a square from the fabrics and washing it to see how much it shrinks and the bleeding quantity.
  • Spread out the fabrics before putting them in the washing machine.
  • Wash the materials bit by bit, don’t overcrowd your machine.
  • Wash similar colors together to avoid the dye staining other fabrics.

What Fabrics Should I Pre-wash?

You can prewash most materials. Fabrics like cotton wool, linen, silk, fibers and other natural materials can be pre-washed. Certain materials shrink. Flannel materials are examples of materials that shrink. Flannels are often made from synthetic fibers and wool. Flannel contains wool and needs to be pre-washed.

Synthetic fabrics like polyester can skip pre-washing, but you can carry out the activity on the material. Synthetic materials, when it comes to pre-washing, are not necessary. Synthetic materials don’t shrink, but they may bleed. The best way to wash synthetic material is by hand. Leather also needs to be hand washed.

Some materials need to be hand washed, and other materials are specific about being dry cleaned. Materials that require dry cleaning include polyamide, viscose, and traditional fur. Polyamide materials expand when washed. To avoid expanding, dry cleaning polymer is the best option.

How Can I Wash My Fabrics Before Sewing?

Check out the care tag of your fabrics if it is in your fabrics. The label will tell you how to wash or prewash the materials.

400;”>Wash your fabric according to the description on the label, and if it doesn’t have any label, you can wash it with the washing machine.

Before pre-washing your fabric, treat the stains and cut off the margins of your materials. If your materials are colorful and bright, run a color test. Soak a piece of the fabric in plain water for 20 minutes. Once it is past 20 minutes, check the water discoloration level. Separate the fabrics from others to prevent damaging other materials if the discoloration level is high.

After pre-washing, the sun dries your fabrics, cut out the fray edges or margins, and check the shrinking level.

400;”>Iron your fabric even if you are going to store it. Ironing your materials will help reduce wrinkles.

There are three methods by which you can pre-wash. Hand washing, washing machine, and dry cleaning. Choosing the proper washing method depends on your fabric materials.

Each fabric has a method suitable for its washing. Choosing the correct washing method will determine how long the materials will last.

  • Silk is a glossy beautiful material and one of the more expensive materials available. Silk materials are soft and delicate, and should be washed by hand to prevent damage and fraying on materials.
  • Cotton shrinks during washing. Cotton can be washed in the machine by selecting the cotton option on the machine. You can also decide to wash your cotton by hand.
  • Wool is normally acquired from animals and sheep. Wool is extremely strong and shrinks in water. It is preferable to wash your wool with your hands.
  • Linen is made from fibers.  The suitable prewashing method for linen fabric is hand washing, a washing machine and dry cleaning.
  • Acetate, acrylic, nylon, and polyester can be washed by the washing machine and sun-dried or dried with the help of a dryer. When using the dryer, remove the fabrics before they get very dry.
  • Lyocell can be washed with the machine or with your hand.
  • Viscose can be washed with a washing machine. Viscose fabrics get wrinkled and need a low hit while ironing, because the fabric can melt when the iron is hot. 

The type of fabric determines whether it needs to be washed or not. Some fabrics do not need major washing, because they don’t stretch and maintain their posture even after being washed.

What Should I Do in Situations Where I Forgot To Pre-wash My Fabric?

 If you forgot to pre-wash your fabric, you can pre-wash all the material or choose not to bother yourself anymore. That way stitches will not be too strained. To reduce the strain on the stitches, you can decide to hand wash them using warm water.

If you forgot to prewash the fabric, there is no issue. Some prefer their projects to shrink, especially quilters, because it gives their work the puffy look they need.

Do I need a lot of Detergents While Pre-Washing?

No, you only need a quarter of what you usually use to wash.  If you are using a washing machine to prewash your fabric, you can use detergent, but little detergent will do.

While prewashing your fabric, you need warm or cold water for this process. When you use your hands to wash, you need small soap, because you don’t want the fabric to breed out all its colors.

What Happens When I Use a lot of Detergents?

Putting a lot of detergents can pose a threat to the fabrics, generating high levels of bleeding, which can fade out the fabric. It is best to follow the standard measurements of pre-wash. If you use too much detergent, your fabric will contain detergent residue and solidify the fabric’s texture. To solve this problem, you have to run your fabric through rinse twice or thrice.

Follow the instructions attached to the detergent package and your machine to get the right measurement of detergent.

How Long Does It Take to pre-wash?

Pre-wash doesn’t take long. It works under three to five minutes. What the pre-wash does to your fabric is clean dirty clothes. Pre-wash can only be done with water. Pre-wash, as the name implies, is not the main washing. It is before washing.

Should I Wash Batting Before Using?

Yes, you can wash your batting using your hand before using it. However, you have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Batting materials are thick enough to resist shrinkage. 

If you are using a recycled batting sheet or blanket, it is compulsory to wash it using your hand or air dry them properly. This will help put it in the best condition and a good size to quilt.

You can wash other materials used in quilting, but avoid washing pre-cut. Pre-cut are delicate materials.  Washing pre-cut materials will make them a victim of fraying and falling apart.

If you have stained precut materials or have blemishes, buy a new one or carefully wash them with your hand.

How To Pre-wash Linen Fabrics Before Sewing

If you are not sure whether it is best to preshrink your linen fabrics for your project. Linen fabrics can be pre-washed. You should pre-wash your linen fabric to prevent shrinkage. Natural linen does not shrink on the first wash. Not washing your linen fabric might throw your work out of balance, except you are experienced in sewing.

It is advisable to pre-wash your fabric linen before drafting and cutting your fabrics or starting your sewing project.

How Do You Preshrink Fabric Without Washing?

There is a way to preshrink your fabric without washing, and people have tried this method. This method has proved right, and people are using it. If you do not have a washer or dryer, preshrink is the best alternative for you. The simplest method is filling a bathtub with water (warming or cold temperature) that should be used in washing the garments.

Let the water enter the fabric. Remove after two minutes and hang the fabric to make it dry.

You can pre-shrink your fabrics with iron. This depends on the type of fabrics. There are some materials you cannot practice this method with, because it will burn the materials.

The iron method has been used to improvise the pre-wash method. It is what you can do without having to stress yourself or panic that you might destroy people’s clothing during prewashing. The iron method is the easy way to pre-shrink.

There is a certain iron used for the pre-shrinking. You will need a steam iron to pre-shrink. For delicate cloth like silk, you will need pressing cloth to place on the fabric before steaming. Lay your fabric on the pressing table and over the iron on it. To avoid burns, the iron should not touch your fabric. Press the steaming button to generate steam to steam the fabric underneath.

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It is obvious through the article that you need to wash the fabric before sewing. However, one needs to be careful of colorful materials. You need to run a color test before washing and mixing it with other materials. Mixing a bleeding fabric with a plain material will damage the plain materials. Washing your fabric before use gets rid of the dirt, and shrinks the fabric.

There are reasons why it is necessary to pre-wash your fabrics, because many fabrics shrink after the first wash. Flannel and interlock shrink little by little after the first wash. The first wash is important, because some fabrics shrink in length, while others shrink in width. Making a dress that fits, only to discover another thing has happened after the first wash doesn’t sit right.