Monday, June 6, 2011
To wash or not to wash?
Do our pre-wash your cotton fabrics? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.
Pre-washing, and the need to, really depends on what you are making and what fabric you are using.
General high quality quilting/dressmaking cottons have very little shrinkage (about 5% in general) so if you are making a snug fitting garment, or a quilt, it is best to prewash so there are not any little surprises after your garment has been washed for the first time. If you are using a cotton knit, shrinkage can be up to a massive 25%.
Different cottons shrink at different rates so if you are using different fabrics sourced from different manufacturers it is often best to prewash.
Cotton fibres are stretched during manufacture so washing just "relaxes" the natural fibres back to their natural state, hence the shrinkage. Drying on a low heat can also help relax the fibres.
Cotton fabrics (excluding organics) are coated in chemicals so if you are chemical sensitive, or just prefer to keep things natural, it is always best to pre-wash in a natural mild soap in cold water and either line dry or dry on a low heat.
I always pre-wash in cold water with a mild detergent. This helps eliminate any colour runs. I then dry in a warm dryer, and fold my fabric, ready for use.
Do you pre-wash? Let us know in the comments below!