Sewing Machines

When you begin a new sewing project, do you start by pre-washing the fabric to pre-shrink it? Should you do this? Pre-washing can be an important step for some projects to prevent shrinkage that could ruin the fit of a garment. Before starting to stitch on Janome sewing machines like the Janome 2212 or any type of sewing machine, consider the importance of pre-washing the fabric and how to determine whether or not it should be done.

Why Pre-Wash Fabric?

The main reason for pre-washing fabric is to avoid investing both time and money creating a garment that when washed the first time shrinks unevenly or no longer fits the wearer. To avoid this, many sewists pre-wash and press their fabric so it behaves properly once they cut out the pattern and begin to sew on their sewing machines.

This is why those with a lot of sewing experience as well as most professional garment makers advocate pre-washing; however, there are certain instances where this may not be necessary.

Know Your Fabric

To decide whether or not to prewash your fabric before cutting it to sew on Janome sewing machines, you should understand a few details about fabric construction and quality as it relates to shrinkage. Fabric is made of either natural or synthetic fibers.

Natural fibers have a greater tendency to shrink. Based on the amount of natural fiber the fabric contains as well as the type of weave used to construct the fabric, cottons and linens usually require pre-washing. With more synthetic fabrics or those with higher synthetic content, this may not be necessary. For the best results, follow fabric care instructions on the bolt or use a burn test to estimate whether the fabric is made of natural or synthetic fibers.

Interfacings, Trims, and Other Fabric Elements

This same basic facts apply to lining fabrics, interfacing, batting, and fabric trims. If shrinkage is a possibility, pre-wash and press all parts of your projects. Then when they are assembled and ultimately washed again, there is no uneven bunching or pulling. The rule of thumb for pre-washing is that if you plan to pre-wash some of your fabric, pre-wash all of it to ensure that everything fits together properly.

Use the Right Methods and Products

As simple as pre-washing fabric before you begin sewing on a Janome 2212 or another machine may sound, there are a number of ways to do this. If you are working with wool, rayon, silk, acetate, or some finer linens, it is best to have the fabric dry cleaned. Cotton, most other linens, polyester, nylon, acrylic, and microfiber can all be safely pre-washed at home.

Follow the washing instructions on the fabric bolt before you put everything into the washing machine. Some fabrics may require hand washing or steaming, while others may need to be washed and dried multiple times before the fabric stops shrinking.

There are many laundry products available to aid the pre-wash process. They range from gentle pH balanced detergents that remove sizing and chemicals without damaging the fabric to starch and sizing that can be sprayed on after pressing to make fabric easier to handle.

While there are a few synthetic fabrics that may not require pre-washing, the consensus among professionals suggests that pre-washing and pre-shrinking fabric is best. If you are making garments on Janome sewing machines like the Janome 2212, pay close attention to fiber content and fabric care instructions, allowing this to help you decide if you need to pre-wash.

By taking the time to pre-shrink fabric before cutting and assembling it on sewing machines, you reduce the risk that the beautiful garments you create will be ruined after their first washing!

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Sewing Machines