Caring for your fabric, before you even lay it on the cutting table

I love to shop for fabric. It is actually therapy for me, as it is for so many others.

I used to work a regular 40 hour per week job. It was a stressful job full of deadlines and grumpy coworkers and even more grumpy bosses. When I left work, I went home to a houseful of rambunctious children. And I was taking night classes at the community college a couple of nights per week. Yes, I lived a stressful life!

I started seeking out places that I could escape to. Just for a lunch hour. Where I could feel at peace and do a little day dreaming. At first I tried a walk around the block. It really wasn’t relaxing as there were only a few sidewalks and lots of cement mixer trucks or gasoline tankers flying up the road.

Eventually, I found a nearby fabric store. It was full of beautiful fabrics and it was full of smiling, laughing, creative people. I would just go and browse and feel the fabric and dream of dresses and skirts. Of course, I found many pieces that I just had to purchase. Just a yard or two. And so my stash began to grow….

Once I have gotten my fabric home, how did I care for it? I used to just fold it up and put it on a shelf until I was inspired by a perfect pattern. Then I would have to wash and dry the fabric before I could begin working on my project. Wait! You do know to wash your fabric first to minimize potential shrinking, right? I usually lost my momentum after this because if I was going to wash my fabric, I really should wash a load or two of the household laundry that was piling up (my mother’s voice in my head). After all that I was no longer inspired to start working on my project.

Now, I wash my fabric as soon as I get home, or very shortly after. I always wash and dry my fabric as I intend to care for my finished garment. I am referring to fabric for garments here. Once it’s washed and dried, I iron it.

I love to iron. There I’ve said it. I always have. What is it about ironing that so many people hate? I just don’t understand. Anyway, I digress.

When I pull my fabric from the washer the cut ends are usually a bit tangled but, after it comes out of the dryer it is usually ten times worse and needed to have all those tangled threads trimmed as I am ironing.

strings from unfinished fabric

strings from unfinished fabric

I saw on the internet some people who had mention in a few places about running a zigzag stitch along those cut edges before washing it. Or if you have a serger then you could just zip it through before washing. So, I tried it.

finish the raw edges

finish the raw edges

And you know what? It’s a miracle. There is no “it’s better”. It’s simply “perfect”. I had wasted so much time in the past. I have learned this lesson well. Every piece of fabric that comes into my home now has it’s cut edges serged first and then it’s washed and dried and yes, ironed.

DSC_0011How do you prepare your fabrics for your projects?

Nice and neat and easy.

Nice and neat and easy.

About robynsewsthisandthat

I sew. I knit. I craft. I have too many desired projects and not enough time to create. I am mom to 8 and grandma to 7 wonderful gifts. I am married to my best friend. I created this blog to track my projects and to inspire others. We all learn by sharing knowledge.
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