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The Prewash Debate

AndreaSews | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I’ve always believed that one should pre-treat a piece of fabric as one plans to post-treat it.  That is, if it will be washed after sewing, then wash it before sewing.  Now what about dry cleaning? I am making a garment with expensive fabrics, and it is meant to be dry cleaned after use.  Do I do anything to pre-treat that, or just get down to business at the sewing machine??


  1. user-122474 | | #1

    Trip to drycleaner is what I have always been told and have done..Good luck

  2. mem | | #2

    I ll bet that manufactureres dont do that . I would have thought you would be safe  with dry cleaning.

    1. jkimes | | #3

      It's always safest to at least have the fabric steam-shrunk before making the garment. It's the pressing that is more likely to shrink a dry-cleaned garment than the cleaning itself. Also, keep in mind that dry-cleaning is a misnomer. Clothes do get wet, but with dry-cleaning solvent instead of water, and most cleaners will add some "moisture" (meaning water) as dry-cleaning solvents can't remove water-based dirt and stains. I worked in a cleaners during college, and remember quite a few clothes coming out with food, etc still on them.Good luck!Juliette

      1. AndreaSews | | #4

        Good input, all.  Thx.  I wrote to Silk Road Textile Merchants to get their take on it.  Their website http://www.srfabrics.com

        offers a lot of information about the care and use of the fabrics they sell.  They replied, "No need to take the fabric to the dry cleaners, as the dry cleaning process will not alter the fabric."  I agree with the last poster though, about the moisture in the pressing process... I'm thinking of hanging the fabric in the bathroom while I shower.  The silk setting on my iron is a low temp--cooler than the steam settings, but there are those times when you simply need a little touch of steam to finish a seam neatly.

        1. thehat | | #5

          sorry just a little hummor about taking a shower with your fabric  just getting two things done at once  how  multi tasking you are

  3. Teaf5 | | #6

    Some expensive fabrics, like silk, are very stable, while wools, rayons, or acetate can be very unstable.  To err on the side of caution, I'd pre-dryclean the garment to avoid any nasty surprises once you've spent all the time, money, and effort on the garment!

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