Updated at: 13-04-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Should a cloth be cleaned before stitching? is a commonly asked subject in the sewing community.

Stitching or producing something new is much easier when you don’t have to worry about cleaning and ironing your materials first.

The main reasons why you should pre-wash your fabric:

  • Pre-reduce
  • Cleaning the manufacturing process of pollutants and dirt

Fabric made from natural fibers is the most common. After being washed, they tend to shrink. About 5% of the original cloth weight is lost when made with cotton. Fabrics made of natural fibers, however, can shrink by up to 10 percent. You’ll end up with a garment that doesn’t fit if you don’t wash your fabric first.

If you want to avoid this, dry and wash your cloth in the same manner that you would your finished product. So, if you’re going to wash the fabric by hand, give it a gentle hand wash first. To wash it on the line at 30 degrees, if you intend to do so.

When you wear a garment (like pants after washing), shrinkage can lessen, but lengthwise shrinkage doesn’t. Because of the importance of fit and dimension, pre-washing your clothes is recommended, especially for garments with fitted designs.

Another reason is to remove the chemical sizing treatments/treatments with starch or dye from the manufacturing process and clean out the dirt. It is possible to maintain and strengthen the yarn used for weaving with these procedures. You may make your clothes softer by cleaning them.

Pre-washing fabrics

Fibers that need pre-washing:

Most materials must be washed in the same manner as the clothing you intend to wear. 100% polyester textiles, such as Minky and polar fleece, as well as vinyl-like imitation leather, cannot be pre-washed. If you don’t want to wash the item, like a wall hanging, you can omit this step.

Different pre-treatment methods:

The home washing machine and dry cleaners are the two most common techniques of pre-cleaning. You can also wash your dishes by hand, but most people prefer to avoid it.

For example, if you plan to wash and dry your silk skirt on medium heat, make sure you do the same with the fabric before sewing it up. If you send your silk blouse or wool skirt to the dry cleaners every time, you should do the same thing with your yardage before cutting it out and stitching it. If you like, you may also wash and dry your silks and other wools in the bathroom on the hanger provided.

There are a few other tips to the process of pre-washing your fabric

  • Try it out by washing it with water. After washing, you may easily take a measurement by cutting a 10cm (4′′) square. If you’ve finished the edge before washing, you can see how much it shrinks and how it holds up to the washing procedure in general.
  • Before putting your clothes in the washing, unfold them.
  • Make sure your washing machine isn’t too full.
  • If there is too much dye in a garment, it should be washed with similar colors to prevent stains on other materials.
  • in addition to your regular points whether or not it is possible to immediately iron and catalog the samples of the fabric you have just washed into your fabric library

The long and the short of it is this. It’s reasonable to assume that, for the vast majority of garments, pre-washing the fabric is a good idea, although this depends on the particular project and the fabric type. If you’re unsure, ask the retailer where you bought the fabric for advice, and if you’re still unsure, wash a sample first.

What is the purpose of prewashing?

Washing the cloth by hand or with a machine before to stitching is called prewashing. Pre-shrinking a fabric is also a possibility because washing it will reveal how much it shrinks. In order to verify that the finished product will meet your intended dimensions, you should do this step before stitching.

How to pre-wash fabric?

In addition to what I’ve already said about washing and drying your fabric in the same manner as the finished garment, you need also take this into account… If you don’t finish your raw fabric edges before sewing, you risk losing some of your fabric lengths.

What can you do to keep your clothing from fraying while you’re rinsing it?

The cut ends of the selvage are frayed, but not the selvage itself. Fraying can be minimized or avoided in a number of ways.

  • Finish the edges of your fabric with a serger.
  • Make sure the edges of your cloth are zig-zagged.
  • Create tubular slices by sewing or zig-zagging the ends of each slice together.
  • Fraying can be minimized by using pinking shears. When the fabric is of a finer weave and does not easily fray, I believe this is the ideal option.
  • Pre-frying the fabric is necessary. Create a beautiful frayed edge by snipping about a centimeter (about 3/8′′) of the weave thread that goes from right to left and selvages to selvages. At the end of your scarf and on linen table mats, you’ll notice this.
  • don’t… When dried, trim the frayed edge. Let it get crazy and far away.

Unfortunately, I only remember using fray prevention on an one occasion. When you wash a silky bamboo viscose like mine, it becomes a knotted nightmare. In the end, I had to snip the corners. As a way to prevent further fraying of cotton muslin rectangles, I pre-framed the edges.

Do You Use Detergent When Prewashing Fabric?

Detergent can be used to wash machine washable materials. It’s also a good idea to test the cloth by washing it with detergent to check if there are any color fades or other reactions. Using the mild soap, wash the fabric gently if it needs to be done by hand.

How To Wash Cotton Fabric Before Sewing

Cotton has a tendency to shrink when washed, therefore it’s better to use a gentle machine to prevent this. Cold water can be used to wash it by hand. To get rid of creases, hang the fabric up to dry along the lines you just drew. Flannel and knitted materials are also sensitive to shrinking, so wash them in warm water first.

How Do You Keep Fabric From Fraying When Prewashing?

To prevent excessive fraying, sew the fabric’s edges before washing. Make use of a serger or stitch wide zigzag stitches or a three-step zigzag to prevent the fabric from bunching. Pre-fray the fabric by extracting a 3/8-inch selvaged thread from your weave and transferring it to the selvage to reduce fraying.


Is this article helpful to you? Prior to sewing a test piece, study a square of fabric and select if you want to wash it by machine or hand, then proceed with your project. Make careful to use a mild soap and then dry the cleaned items.