Methods for Pre-Treating Fabric for Sewing

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Certain fabrics need pre-treating before you can sew them, depending on the material and purpose of your project. Learn how to prepare your fabrics for sewing from a professional sewing instructor in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Sewing Basics
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Video Transcript

Hey, it's Vanessa with, here to talk to you about some methods for pre-treating your fabric for sewing. So, there can be two different schools of thought as to how to pre-treat your fabric before you start sewing either a garment or a project. Some people swear by the method of just washing and pressing all your fabrics regardless of what you'll be using it for. Other people tend to think that if you steam the fabric the moisture in the steam will automatically pre-shrink it. What we mean by pre-shrink it is that there are some fabrics that can shrink in the wash and drying process they'll shrink up to 3 percent to 5 percent, so obviously if you're making a garment to wear and you make it specific to all your measurements and then you wash it, then it's not going to fit you exactly like it did the first time. So when it comes to garment making I definitely recommend washing and pressing all your fabrics first. When it comes to craft projects and things like that there's a little bit more leeway so you don't necessarily have to wash the fabric every time. The times that I do recommend you do is if you're using dark fabrics like these dark denims or blacks or if you're using bright colors, especially reds. What you want to do is test the fabric first. You may want to wet the fabric a little bit like this red and then I would dab it on some light fabric either a cream or a white colored and if it bleeds pink or red then you know you definitely want to wash it before you use it in a project. The light denims you may not necessarily have to wash it before you use it but this dark one I would especially if you're working with lighter fabrics. It may bleed onto the whites. When you're working with sewing and quilting type projects, you want to press. Literally it means pressing your iron onto the surface. What I like to do to keep my fabric nice and stiff, it makes it a lot easier to cut and to sew with this is starch it. Some people don't like it and it kind of depends on the fabric texture that you're working with. The reason for pressing is that you don't want to swipe out and skew the, either the woven fibers of the fabric or if there's a pattern on it or words you don't want to skew it either. And that's how we prep our fabric before we start working with it for any project.


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