Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to Pre-Shrink Cotton Fabric

One of the most frustrating things that can happen to a home-sewing enthusiast is to make something and have it turn out perfectly only to have it shrink in the laundry after the first use. Pre-shrinking normally involves the combination of moisture and heat, but it's important to consider the fabric's basic care directions before pre-shrinking.

Pre-Shrinking Cotton Fabric

Untreated cotton fabric shrinks - a lot. This includes most denims and also cotton/synthetic blends.
  1. The first option for pre-shrinking cotton fabric is running it through the laundry in a warm water cycle and then a dryer set on the normal heat setting.
  2. The second option is using a steam iron, filled with distilled water and the temperature set to high.
  3. The third option for shrinking cotton is a steamer. Hang the fabric and slowly pass the steamer over the material so the hot steam seeps into the fabric's fibers.
Final Tip: If you choose to use the laundry method (number 1 above) finish the fabric's raw edges by serging them or sewing over them with one of your sewing machine's finishing stitches to prevent fraying.

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