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Using Home Dec Fabrics

almost | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I was interested in the recent Threads article about using Home Dec fabrics for garments.  I have seen many such fabrics that I think would work well in garments.  But an unanswered question was how to prepare the fabrics prior to cutting.  The only comment was that cotton should be pre-washed.  What about everything else?

Any ideas how to pre-treat would be appreciated.



  1. ineedaserger329 | | #1

    Some of the fabrics will need serged prior to sewing or pre-washing, most of them will be obvious once you cut into it. I use some heavier fabrics for various projects. Scotchguard is another thing I keep handy for light colors, but I usually don't make as much clothes, as these fabrics usually have little stretch to them. I serge all edges just-in-case........I hope this helps.

  2. Pattiann42 | | #2

    Serge a swatch and test for shrinkage.

  3. Ralphetta | | #3

    As someone suggested, wash a swatch.  I've found that the majority wash well, but the texture changes.  Washing removes the sizing and stiffness.  For clothing I prefer the softer look and they drape better and seems to be suited to a wider range of styles.  The other problem is that a small percentage of the colors bleed, but not as many as I expected.

    1. almost | | #4

      Thank you very much!  I am going to follow this suggestion and hopefully it will soften the fabric that I wanted to use from my stash.



  4. Teaf5 | | #5

    The "wash a sample" are excellent suggestions, as is serging or zigzagging the ends of the length; otherwise, you can lose an inch or more in ravelling; laundering can completely change a decorator fabric, sometimes in a negative way.A few other things to consider are: the fiber content, the inside "feel," and other coatings. Decorator fabrics aren't designed specifically to touch your skin; the wrong side might be very itchy or have fibers that are irritating, and they may be coated with something that makes your skin break out. Even a tote that rides on your bare shoulder might be very uncomfortable--so check the fabric out carefully before sewing a garment from it! (Can you tell that I've experienced all these disasters?)

    1. Cherrypops | | #6

      Thanks so much for letting us know the 'disaster's which can happen. sorry you had to experience them first but that is why you can share and teach us. i cannot wear pure wool. found out the hard way, when my skin broke out in rash. who knows what chemicals are put in fabrics now anythings possible on any fabric on anybody.

  5. tmorris1 | | #7

    Almost;As with any other fabric, pre-treat it the same way that you wish to wash the fabric as a garment, be it wash and dry, or dry clean. Don't be afraid to use these fabrics, but keep in mind that they can hold many of the challenges that any other fabric may hold. I use a lot of home decor fabrics for jackets (they wear better,) purses, and costumes, but would probably shy away from it for shirts, pants, skirts, or any other garment that would rest directly on the skin for hours.T.

    1. PattyG | | #8

      Hi....I was delighted to see that article in Threads magazine as I usually head straight to the Home Dec fabrics when I hit the fabric stores.  I make a lot of jackets, short and long sleeve, and vests (for year round wear).  I especially like them because they have a certain 'stiffness' to the fabric that does not require lining, and minimal interfacing, other than in normal areas.  There is a greater selection of home dec fabrics to choose from vs. the fashion fabrics available at either Joanns or Hancocks. 

      I'm a firm believer in staystiching and washing appropriate fabric before cutting and sewing, but I find I don't need to do either (or dry cleaning) to this fabric.  The garmets come back beautiful from the dry cleaners.  They steam so well too...I'm hooked!






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