Little T’s Haberdashery | Happy Sewing!

Should I Pre-Wash My Fabric?

Pre-Washing of fabrics is something that creates lots of discussion and is a step in the sewing ladder that lots of people may not be aware of if they’re unfamiliar with handling or working with fabric. To help explain why the majority of people will advocate the pre-washing of fabric (and how they do it), I decided to write this short blog post.

Reasons to Pre-Wash:

1. Fabric is made and produced in factories or similar environments, these environments can be dusty and 20160527_154609-01dirty which means that dust and dirt can get onto your fabric. Personally, I don’t want to put some fabric on my son’s (or mine) skin that is dirty. Also, and perhaps more worringly, a large number of different chemicals are used in the production of fabric. I really would rather the fabric I touch, wear and my son inevitably puts in his mouth, is as chemical free as possible. Pre-washing ensures that your fabric is CLEAN.


20160527_154708-012. Fabric features different colours and designs, all of which are created using different dyes. These dyes are ‘set’ during the manufacturing process but there is often dye residue still present on fabric when it is received by you and I. If you use this fabric without pre-washing, the dye can run and stain – both other clothes and other fabrics you use in your sewing project. Something nobody wants to be dealing with! Pre-washing ensures that your fabric is less likely to STAIN.


3. The majority of fabrics are woven and printed on various types of machinery. During this 20160527_154835-02process the fibres making up the fabric can be stretched and pulled out of shape. The first time fabrics are washed, the fabrics will shrink back to their original size and shape. If this happens after you’ve completed your project, the garment or items shape will become distorted or smaller! Potentially meaning it’s no longer fit for use. Pre-washing ensure that your fabric will SHRINK before you sew with it.


Reasons not to Pre-Wash:

The main reason I’ve come across for not pre-washing fabric is impatience! You get some beautiful new fabric delivered by your lovely Postman, you have a fantastic new pattern you want to sew, and you want to do it yesterday. We’ve all been there and it’s so very tempting to just crack on with it straight away but I would really urge you to just be patient for a few hours and get your fabric washed and dried before getting out your scissors / cutter / sewing machine! You’ll thank yourself for it later, I promise!!


I hope this is useful! If you can think of anything I should add to this post, please do drop me an email to


Happy Sewing!


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