Friday begins a three-day weekend and I've decided that during this weekend, I will make my version of the Christine Jonson Princess Dress. I've opened the pattern envelope and read the instructions thoroughly (more on that later!) I've touched my fabric longingly more than once...and now I'm ready to begin.
So a few days ago, I sent this message to Christine regarding pretreating the fabric:
"Hi Christine ~ I had a quick question. Do I prewash the fabric or not? I know there was a lot of discussion on whether to or not in the old Sewing World days but I didn't know if the answer had changed or not."
And here is her response:
"It is your decision as to whether or not you pre-wash the fabric. My advise is to always cut 3- 3"squares of fabric and do this test: leave one alone, press one with a hot iron and steam and "try" to shrink it, then wash and dry the other one either in the dryer or air dry flat (however you will want to care for finished garment). Then compare them to the one you did nothing to and see what happened.
Check and compare both the lengthwise and crosswise grains to each other, usually there will be more shrinkage in the lengthwise grain. This will help you determine how to deal with the fabric and pattern sizing.
If the swatch shrinks alot you will know to add to the length/width etc. to your pattern if you do not pre-wash the fabric.
If nothing changes then it is a safe bet that the finished garment will not change either and you will not need to pre-wash.
Sometimes a fabric will just "feel or look better" after washing it or maybe the edges will roll and it will be more difficult to handle. Testing the fabric ahead of time is really the only way to know how to proceed.
The shrink/press information from the "old days" only applied to the cotton/LYCRA fabric that I offered exclusively with the original patterns. I added a bit of extra length and width to the original 6 patterns to allow for pressing shrinkage of that fabric, but now because there are so many fabulous knits with a wide variety of fiber content available I do not do that.
I recommend doing the swatch test along with using the finished garment measurement chart and the Perfect Sizing Worksheet to guide in choosing size.
Check out this link and read the To Wash or Not To Wash article http://cjpatterns.com/LittleBlackDress-TableofContents.htm
I hope this helps. And, fabric content means nothing when it comes to pre washing or not. Just because one rayon/LYCRA jersey washed up beautifully with no shrinkage or ill effect does not mean the next one will not shrink 2" all the way around! Each fabric must be considered as an individual.
So, I recommend doing this test with both of the fabrics you will be using and see what happens!"
As I told Christine in a subsequent email, that she states it best and there is no need to improve upon what she's written. So I will be performing my swatch test tomorrow evening and I will post the results then. I'm on my way to having a great dress, dontcha think!
On another note, thank you to everyone who left a message, sent me an email or wrote something on their blog (Debbie) about the lack of posts here for the last two weeks. In a nutshell, I just needed a blogging break. I've been blogging for the last 5 1/2 years pretty steadily and when I find I need to delete a post from my blog, I would say it's time to step back and take a deep breathe.
There are some pretty serious things happening in the world right now and especially here at home in America...so blogging nonsense is just background noise. I hope you will continue to pray with me for the folks in Alabama, Joplin, MO, and Texas...but most especially for the people in Japan. I know they've fallen off the newscycle here in America but I'm sure living through the rebuilding of their country is still a challenge every day!
I've been sewing while I was gone...so not only do I have the Christine Jonson dress' adventure to share with you but a few other goodies as well.
...as always, more later!