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Preparing Lining Fabric

KateM | Posted in General Sewing Info on

My mother always told me to “wash” the fabric I was going to sew with, prior to sewing, using the same method I would later use to wash my completed garment.  For example, if I was going to machine wash and dry my garment, I should machine wash and dry my fabric before sewing.

I have two pieces of lining, one polyester, and one Ambience rayon lining that I wish to dry clean.  My finished garments will also be dry cleaned.  My local dry cleaner refuses to dry clean pieces of fabric but won’t give me an explanation.  They just say they won’t do it.  

Does anyone have any ideas where/how I can dry clean my two pieces of lining?





  1. MaryAnn | | #1

    Kate, I can't help with where to get the fabric pieces dry cleaned but I can tell you how I "prepare" my lining fabric.   I wash it.  I avoid polyester lining, however, I'd wash it anyway knowing it isn't going to shrink.  I wash the rayon in cold water, tumble not quite dry on cool cycle and then press it flat.  The rayon may shrink a little, however, the real reason I wash it first is to avoid water spotting later.

    The reason your mom told you to prepare the fabrics the way you treat the final garment is to avoid shrinkage afterwards.  I steam the dickens out of my dry clean only fabrics, as I've heard horror stories about the prices people paid to have fabric drycleaned when they could find a place that would do it.

    Mary Ann in NoVA


  2. Teaf5 | | #2

    I agree with Maryann that you don't need to pre-dryclean the lining, as drycleaning doesn't affect shrinkage, and polyester doesn't shrink anyway. In fact, for most modern fabrics, drycleaning is unnecessary and sometimes even degrades the fibers faster. Many Threads discussions offer explanations and descriptions of people's experiences with washing rather than drycleaning fabrics.

    The drycleaner probably doesn't want to do fabric lengths because they will likely ravel and twist around other garments in the process, and then he/she would be responsible for wrecking not only your fabric, but the other garments in the same load. (Can you tell that one of my first jobs was at a drycleaners??)

    If you really had to dryclean a length of fabric (to remove stains, dirt, etc.),you could fold the lining in half, stitch the edges together, and tell him/her it's a pillow cover you'd like to have drycleaned. The piece then wouldn't ravel or twist, and you could remove the stitching to use it flat. Good luck, and let us know what you decide to do!

  3. solosmocker | | #3

    Take the fabric back to the cleaners and ask them to do a heavy steam press, but not at too high a heat for the poly. I have done this often with wools. No need to clean them, just shrink them, and a heavy steam press will do this. Hopefully it could work for your linings.


  4. SewNancy | | #4

    I use either silk or Bemberg rayon for lining a jacket and I don't bother to wash either since I am going to dry clean the jacket. Silk doesn't usually shrink, but Rayon does and it changes the hand.

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