How Do You Preshrink a Washable Fabric?


Quick Answer

Preshrinking fabric ensures it will not shrink after you use it to sew an item of clothing. Sometimes cotton and linen fabric the manufacturer has labeled "preshrunk" continues to shrink. Prevent this problem by washing and drying the fabric in the normal method before constructing the garment.

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Full Answer

  1. Cut fabric into a workable size

    If dealing with large amounts of fabric, cut it into manageable 5 to 6-yard pieces. Consult the pattern to ensure you make the cuts in a way that minimizes the wasting of fabric. Sew a zigzag stitch along the cut edges to prevent fraying in the wash.

  2. Wash the fabric

    Place each individual piece of fabric in the washing machine. Wash each piece separately, using cold water. Wash sewing notions and thread required for the project by placing them in a bag in the machine. Hand-wash any fusible interfacing required for the project.

  3. Dry the pieces

    Machine-dry all pieces except for fusible interfacing, which is damaged by the heat. Blot water from fusible interfacing and lay it flat to dry to prevent stretching.

  4. Rewash cotton

    Cotton fabrics often require more than one wash to prevent shrinking. Once the fabric is dry, repeat the process.

  5. Iron and fold the fabric

    Iron the fabric as necessary to remove wrinkles once the shrinking process is complete. Fold the fabric neatly for storage until you're ready to use it.

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