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Wool Crepe shrinkage

ElSews | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Hi All,

I would like to make a suit out of wool crepe.  I have never used this fabric before and I recently read in Sandra Betzina’s Sew Savey that it will shring a whole size, if you don’t dry clean it first.  That’s not a problem.  However, how much extra fabric should I buy, to allow for shrinkage (when I take it to the dry cleaner’s for shrinking before I sew it)?  Does anyone have experience with this?

Thanks so much,



  1. mimi | | #1

    I made a two piece dress about 10 years ago out of wool crepe and have sent it to the cleaners many times, with no detrimental effect.  It is one of my favorite outfits.  It wears very well and is comfortable.

    If you want to make it an extra size larger, 1/2 a yard ought to be enough.


  2. becksnyc | | #2

    I've never had a problem with good quality wool crepe shrinking.  But, when in doubt...

    Instead of having the piece dry cleaned, steam it or have the cleaners steam it.  Dry cleaning, while necessary periodically, is harsh on natural fibres.  I postpone it as long as possible by spotting, airing and brushing my suits.  I dry clean them only as absolutely necessary, that is, seasonally, unless I wear the item frequently.

    You can test a piece first by cutting a swatch, say 4"x4".  Steam the heck out of it and let it dry.  Measure the shrinkage and calculate the shrinkage per yard by multiplying by 9.  If it shrinks alot, ask yourself if this is a quality wool.  If not, and you still love it, you know how much extra yardage you need.


  3. HeartFire | | #3

    if you steam it yourself at home, make sure that it is laying flat and not falling off the ironing board - you don't want it to stretch. Steam a section , wait for it to dry, then move on to another section. You can do this easily on your cutting table by putting a few thick towels down to help absorb the steam.

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