It's here, your fabric has arrived! The rush of adrenaline, the excitement as you tear open that package. You cuddle it, drape it around yourself (just me?), start making plans on all the things you'll make with it. But wait, first things first. Washing it. How do I wash my fabric? Are all fabrics treated the same?
So why do you prewash fabric?
We hear this all the time. What's the point in prewashing? do I have to prewash? So there are a few things about prewashing you will want to know. Washing your fabric before hand is going to help with any sort of shrinkage your fabric may have. Nothing is worse than forgetting to pre wash your fabric and only realizing after it's already sewn up or after that first wash. It can seriously alter the structure of your garment or just make it too short now. I remember one of my first sewing projects being a cotton pillowcase I hadn't prewashed. Trying to fit my pillow into that poor pillowcase was like trying to put on my 8 year old jeans. It just wasn't happening. Prewashing is also going to help remove any extra dye your fabric may be holding onto. Sometimes in the last steps of dying fabric it isn't rinsed out thoroughly, so it will bleed in your prewash. A great example is our indigo knit denim. It has such a vibrancy and pack of color to it you are definitely going to want to give it a good wash or two before sewing with it (a tip is to wash it with some of your jeans, then if it bleeds your other jeans can soak up some of that extra color!).
So what are some basic washing instructions?
How would you launder it as a finished garment? Most likely, that is going to be the way you prewash it as well. We recommend on a lot of our fabric to wash on cold and to dry low. I have heard in the past that some people like to be a little more aggressive with their fabrics the first time they wash it (maybe drying it on a higher setting) to ensure all of the shrinkage is gone. This is a personal preference and something you'll have to play with yourself if you're comfortable. Use whatever laundry detergent you like! I always wash my fabric with a mild detergent and no fabric softener for it's first wash. And as a rule, I wash everything as soon as it gets out of the box. I didn't always, but far too many times I couldn't remember which fabrics had been and which hadn't. So now no going on the shelf till it's been washed and dried.
So what about special fabrics?
What about some of those more special fabrics? What do I do with stretch leather? What about if my fabric has foil on it? You are going to want to take a little more caution and care of these fabrics.
Faux stretch leather - You are going to want to be sure to wash this on cold and hang it dry. The high heat of your dryer can dry and crack your leather.
Sequins - With sequin fabric you ware going to want to wash on cold, preferably the gentle cycle, and lay flat to dry (or hang dry). Treat those sequins with a little extra love.
Foil - You may snag some of our foil printed fabric, it has such a neat metallic flare. With this fabric you're going to want to stay away from high heats. Wash on cold, and tumble dry. The heat from your drier can potentially fade and crack some of the foil if you're not careful.
Distressed - It's kind of funny to think about babying a fabric that already has some damage done to it. I would recommend turning your finished garment inside out to make sure the threads don't get snagged on any buttons or zippers. It is preferable to wash it without garments that have buttons, zippers or velcro.