Important Fabric Concepts for Sewing Students (revised)
Washing your fabric
ALL fabric should be washed before sewing with the exception of fleece and “dry clean only” fabric. But no need to use laundry soap! All of our beginner projects are made with woven cotton (Flannel is a type of woven cotton.). Wash your cotton fabric in cold water WITH NO DETERGENT and dry in the dryer. DO NOT USE perfumed fabric softeners or dryer sheets!
- Reasons for washing new fabric
- Removes coatings/fabric finishes
- Fabric can shrink up to 3% when washed the first time.
- Some new fabrics “bleed” when washed the first time because of dyes used.
- No perfume products! When the fabric is ironed they become an irritant to nose and lungs. If you have respiratory allergies, it makes it hard to breathe. We have seen kids having a hard time breathing. It’s scary to see a child struggle to breathe if they are near the ironing board when the fragrance is intensified by ironing.
- Fabric softeners leave a residue on the fabric which gets on the iron, sewing machine and your needle. There is no need for these chemicals to be added to your fabric. They were developed to deal with body odor. This is NEW fabric 🙂
Diagonals and solids
- SOLID COLORS: People flip fabric and sew the wrong pieces together. You have to mark right side and wrong side and sometimes it still gets sewn wrong.
- DIAGONAL STRIPE: Almost impossible to match the stripes. This never looks good on a beginner project and is frustrating.
- ONE-WAY DESIGNS Buy an extra half yard to a yard of fabric so you can lay it out with everything is facing the right way! Example: picture of cup-cakes
Info on the end of the fabric bolt
When you shop for fabric, look at the end of the bolt. There is so much information!
Fabric Name, Fiber Content, Fabric Width, Fabric Care (i.e. washing) instructions, Designer, Price (per yard)
Fiber Content is important. 100% cotton is the easiest fabric to start learning to sew with. Fabric width is also important. The wider the fabric, the more fabric you get per yard. Fabric Care (washing) instructions: If it says dry clean only, it is not a great choice for a beginner project of lounge pants!
That’s all I can think of for now. I hope this clarifies concepts we have tried to explain in the past. If you have any questions or comments feel free to call, text or email me. I love to hear from you!
Rebecca Linson Szetela
Create!® Sewing Studio, 274 Great Road, Acton, MA 01720