In today's video, we chat about prewashing your fabric, why you should do it and my favorite tips for a prewashing routine that will have your fabric stash ready to sew at all times. I also share my favorite methods for preventing fabric from fraying in the wash and how to decide on a washing method.
Six Tips for Prewashing Fabric
1. Wash according to fiber content rather than fabric type
Different fibers react differently to different washing methods. The most important factor is what kind of fibers your fabric is made from (cotton, linen, rayon, silk, wool, etc.). Second is the fabric type (woven, knit, challis, corduroy, denim, etc). For more info on selecting a fabric washing method, I recommend reading this blog post by Oliver&S and this blog post by Colette.
2. Pre-wash using the same method you will use to wash the garment
Whatever method you use to prewash your fabric, make sure it’s the same you’ll want to use when you wash the garment.
3. Finish the raw edge of your fabric before washing
If you are machine washing your fabric, it’s important to finish the raw edge or else you’ll end up with a big jumble of tangled threads. Prevent the hassle of untangling the threads, and finish that edge first. I like to use a very long zig-zag stitch because it’s quick, it works and it’s easy to remove.
4. If you’re unsure of the best method, pre-wash a swatch and test it out
I don’t test a swatch every time I wash fabric. I only do it when it’s a fabric type that’s really new to me or I’m otherwise unsure how the fabric will react to a particular method. Often, you can diverge from manufacturers’s recommended washing techniques but it’s important to test it first.
5. Pre-wash before you store your fabric
This is my number one tip for making sure my stash is always ready to sew. I always try to wash my fabric as soon as I bring it home, and definitely wash it before I store it away with my other fabrics that have already been washed.
6. Make a record of how you pre-washed your fabric
If you have a method of tracking your fabric stash, you are a Stash Rockstar! I have not mastered this. Yet. But when I do, I will make sure to note how I have prewashed the fabric. Fabrics often live in my stash for years, and I often forget how I initially treated them.
I hope that you found these tips helpful. If you haven’t already, I’d be forever grateful if you follow me on YouTube. I post a new video about once a week so there’s lots of fresh, new sewing content to watch!