Published April 3, 2012 by MisMandie

I know it is scary and tedious, but prewashing your fabrics before you cut and piece them together will help you to avoid wasting time and money making an adorable new outfit and having it ruined or shrunk the first time you wash it!  It is not complicated, but here are a few tips to help make it a little less scary!

  • Shout Color Catcher Sheets are your friend!  New fabric is very likely to bleed at least a little, so I always throw 1 in with my prewash loads (See photos 7&8 it is a little hard to tell, but in person you can see that one turned out blue and the other was coated in glitter)
  • ZigZag Stitch all around the borders of your fabric as close to the edge as you can to avoid/limit fraying and unraveling of the fabric.  (You will see in the photo 6 what it looks like when you skip this step – my mother in law gave me some of her stash when I took up sewing and she never did this so I was able to get a photo of hers to show you!)
  • Measure each piece before and after washing.  If you get more than 2 inches of shrinkage wash again until the shrinkage is less thank 2 inches.
  • Since you have the measurements anyway, this is a good time to start a Stash Inventory.  I use Excel spread sheet (see photo 2).  It is nice to have a list like this so that you know at a glance if you have enough of a certain material to complete a project, and I try to include a link to the fabric info so that I can get more if needed.
  • There are many complicated guides and charts that will show you how to wash each type of material (hand wash, machine cold, machine hot, with or without soap……the lists go on and on and frankly, make my head hurt!  So here is the way I do it…however you will be washing the final product is how you was the fabric!  For me this means machine wash warm and machine dry med heat. (my settings for pretty much EVERYTHING)

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