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mustsew | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I do NOT prewash any cotton fabrics before sewing/quilting.  Wash, dry and iron after items are complete.  Never have had a problem with this method.   

What about flannel, tho?  Plan to make the PJ bottoms for Grands for Christmas.  If I can get away with it, would prefer to work with new, crisp fabric.  Would there be so much shrinkage as to make garments too small?

TIA for any suggestions. 


  1. Crazy K | | #1

    I wash ALL washable fabrics before cutting when doing garment sewing.  The exception is fleece which doesn't shrink.  I still prefer to wash it because it removes some of the dirt (you never know where it's been stored) and whatever else may be lurking within.  That's just me!  On the flannel, I would definitely wash it as some of it does shrink more than others.  There is an instruction page on Emb. Library....(brand new today) about making "Winnie's Quilt"......flannel with the frayed edges and she pre-washed everything and stressed the importance of that and then washed the quilt after completion to get the frayed effect on the seams.  Beautiful little quilt and she stressed the washing............

    There you have it........JMHO.....and the opinion of a few others, too!


    P.S. - People in the know say denim should be washed a MINIMUM of 3 times and dried in the dryer.........removes excess dyes and helps reduce the amount your garment will shrink later.

  2. solosmocker | | #2

    I wash everything also. If you asked me to pick the fabric most likely to shrink a horrendous amount, I would say cotton flannel. That is something I prewash 2/3 times before sewing.

    1. Crazy K | | #4

      Gosh....I've been missing the boat!  I have made flannel pjs and flannel pants and got by with one wash.  Was I just lucky?  I guess if I was worried about later shrinkage, I washed in hot water and used the high setting on the dryer.  Maybe that helped.........or maybe my kids just didn't tell me that they no longer could wear their jammies after washing!!  Oops!

      Well, I learned something today........thank you! 


      1. mustsew | | #5

        Thanks so much for the information. 

        Guess I'll have to break down and do as you recommend ~ the dreaded prewash and dry a few times. 

        This is so nice to know in advance, tho.  You have saved me some potential grief - "Grandma, the PJ's were great but they shrunk so much I can't wear them!"  Don't want to go there-lol!

        This is such a nice board.  Don't have much to contribute but sure do learn lots. 

        Appreciate it!

        1. Teaf5 | | #7

          Definitely prewash, but if you like to work with stiff fabric, you can always use liquid or spray starch and iron the prewashed lengths before sewing.In addition to shrinkage (as much as 2-3" in width and per yard in length for flannels!), prewashing gives you an idea about bleeding (especially in reds and purples) and about the qualities the fabric will have once the wearer washes the garment.

  3. sewingkmulkey | | #3

    Ditto!  I, too, wash all my fabrics and flannel at least 2 times!

  4. Ralphetta | | #6

    Wow!  I think you have been extremely lucky if you've never had anything shrink.  I had forgotten to wash something and told myself that I probably didn't need to do that anyway .  I started cutting out a print blouse...taking time to match the design, etc.  When I went to press the very first seam  I watched in amazement as the fabric began to shrink just from the steam.  I hadn't even put the iron on it yet and it was actually moving on the ironing board.  It was wasted money and time. (Well, I did get a few minutes of entertainment.)  Although cutting out new fabric is nice, I would much rather see what it's going to do when washed BEFORE I spend time on it.    If it's going to wrinkle badly or the colors run I want to know. 

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