Before sewing your project, preshrink any fabric you suspect might shrink after laundering. (Not all fabrics shrink when laundered. If you’re unsure about your fabric, launder it anyway just to be on the safe side.) If your fabric ravels easily, serge or zigzag the raw edges to keep them from fraying. It’s fine to launder your fabric with a regular load of laundry. However, if your fabric is a dark or bright color that may bleed, launder it separately. If your fabric is 100% cotton, you may want to wash and dry it several times. One hundred percent cotton fabrics don’t always shrink the maximum amount the first time. Also preshrink linings, interfacings**, and notions: Preshrink linings, notions (zippers, trims, elastics), and non-fusible interfacing as you did your fabric. Place notions in a lingerie bag to keep them from getting lost.
Preshrink fusible interfacing by hand-washing it. Submerge the interfacing in a sink full of warm to hot water for about 10 minutes. Don’t wring the interfacing because it could damage the adhesive or create wrinkles you won’t be able to press out. Instead, roll the interfacing between layers of a towel and blot the water out. Lay it flat to dry, it may stretch if hung. And don’t put fusible interfacing in the dryer. The heat of the dryer could damage the adhesive or the adhesive could damage your dryer. Do not press the interfacing or you’ll melt the adhesive. For an item you plan to hand wash: Hand wash your fabric with a mild soap and let it air dry. Preshrink your linings and notions as you did your fabric. Preshrink your interfacing** using the method described above.
How to Preshrink dry-clean only fabric*
Even though you won’t be laundering your finished item, you may still need to preshrink your fabric. Some fabrics can shrink just from being exposed to the heat and moisture from an iron.
Test your fabric first for shrinkage:
If it doesn’t shrink by one of these methods, it shouldn’t need preshrinking.
Note: When pressing your fabric, remember to use an appropriate temperature. As a general rule, cooler settings for delicate fabrics, hotter settings for cottons and wools.
Method 1: Cut about a 2” square of your fabric. Place the square on a piece of paper and trace it. Dampen the square of fabric, then press it dry. Place the square on top of your tracing. If your fabric square is smaller, your fabric shrank. Preshrink your yardage using one of the methods below.
Method 2: Cover a large corner of your fabric with a press cloth. Press and steam this corner thoroughly. Remove the press cloth and allow your fabric to dry. If you can see wrinkles between the pressed area and the non- pressed area or if you can see the indentation from your iron, your fabric shrank. Preshrink your fabric using one of the methods below.
How to Preshrink dry-clean only fabric:
Test these methods on a scrap of your fabric first. Some fabrics can water spot or become damaged if dampened.
Method 1: Take your yardage to your dry cleaner and have him steam press it for you.
Method 2: Working in sections, hold an iron just above your fabric and thoroughly steam it until it’s damp. Leave the fabric in place until it’s completely dry. Steam the next section the same way and continue until all your fabric has been steamed.
Method 3: Working in sections, dampen a press cloth and place it on top of your fabric. Or dampen the fabric itself. Press your fabric on the wrong side with your iron. Leave the fabric in place until it’s completely dry. Steam the next section the same way and continue until all your fabric has been steamed.
Also preshrink linings, interfacings**, and notions:
Preshrink linings using the method you used above.
Preshrink notions (zippers, trims, elastics) by submerging them in warm water and letting them air dry.
Preshrink interfacing using the hand-washing method described earlier. Or, steam shrink the piece just prior to application by holding your iron over it and steaming it for a few seconds. Don’t press fusible interfacing or you’ll melt the adhesive.
Follow your fabric’s care instructions. There’s debate over whether interfacing needs to be preshrunk. Some recommend it while others believe it’ s not necessary. If you choose not to preshrink your interfacing, steam shrink the piece just prior to application by holding your iron over it and steaming it for a few seconds.