Shrinking fabric is an essential step to take if you want to use the fabric for sewing. Shrinking the fabric first prevents it from shrinking after sewing and distorting the item you have made. The process is very quick and easy.
Prepare the fabric
Before you shrink the fabric, you need to seal the raw edges to prevent it from fraying. Use a serger along the edges, or sew them with the zigzag setting on a standard sewing machine.
Launder the fabric
Wash the fabric in the same way you plan to wash the finished item. You can wash it by hand if the item is delicate or put it in the washing machine if you will machine wash the finished product. If the fabric has a strong color, consider washing it individually. The colors from the fabric may bleed and discolor other items that are washed with it. You can also use a laundry detergent that is formulated for colors. After washing the fabric, dry it completely in the same way you plan to dry the finished item.
Prepare for sewing
When the fabric is dry, prepare it for sewing. Press the fabric using an iron on the proper setting to remove any wrinkles. If you are cutting and sewing from a pattern, follow the pattern directions if the fabric needs to be folded before cutting.