Saturday, June 02, 2012

Pretreating Fabric

I've pretreated a pile of summer fabrics ~ linens, cottons, rayons and yards and yards of cotton/poly batiste to be used for lining fabric.  Several trips to the washing machine and through the dryer...then time spent standing at the ironing board pressing each piece.


I tend to pretreat summer fabrics by washing and drying them...whereas winter fabrics are either steamed using my steam generator iron or by a trip through the dryer with a wet towel.  No matter the method, all of my fabrics and most of my linings are pretreated.


As I was standing at the ironing board, pressing the last piece (a cotton pique), I realized that with each piece, I pressed a hard crease into the center of the piece that I will only have to press out again.  So I was wondering, if I'm the only one that does that?  And if you don't do that, how do you handle the center of the fabric?  Do you soft press it?  Do you ignore it?  Any suggestions on how to handle this would be appreciated.


So I have a few pieces sewn...pictures to come...


...as always, more later!

26 comments:

  1. I wash fabric as soon as it comes in the door (so I don't forget what's washed and what isn't -- it's ALL washed.) But I don't iron until I'm ready to cut -- my fabric shelves are messy and stuff is going to only get wrinkled while it waits for its moment.

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  2. Same as Andrea - I never pre-press. Pre-wash, yes. But it's just going to have to be pressed again once I've selected it to be cut so why bother until then? My helper (Alex) helps me fold it really well and away it goes into the closet.

    But to answer your specific question about the center crease — sometimes I press it and other times I don't. I have the cutting layout in mind when I'm pressing the fabric (see, another reason to wait!) and make the decision then.

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  3. I usually just press fabric flat then fold it without pressing the center fold. I surge items before I wash them so if something in stash has raw edges, it will need the whole treatment.

    Your fabrics are pretty. Looking forward to seeing the finished items.

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  4. I'm with Andrea & Debbie - I pre-wash but don't press until I'm ready to cut it. The only exception is if something comes out of the dryer REALLY wrinkly, but I never press a crease in it.

    I've also started serging fabrics that I know will ravel a lot.

    And I agree - those fabrics look lovely!

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  5. I always press fabric flat - never folded. This is how my mom taught me. I press, slide down, press, slide down, press. Then I turn the length around and do it up the other side.

    Interesting question.

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  6. Like you I throw the items in the washing machine straight away, but I don't iron until I am ready to cut.

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  7. I only prewash fabrics that I know may shrink like some knits, cotton, linen, etc. ITY knits...no prewash. I never pre-iron unless it's really wrinkled. Can't wait to see what you do with those pretty fabrics!

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  8. I serge and pre-wash soon after the fabric comes into the house. I iron like Shams does. I don't iron everything – only the pieces that are particularly wrinkly.

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  9. I wash all my fabric as soon as it comes in the house. And I iron it before I put it away. I have one of those "Big Board" contraptions that fit on top of my ironing board; it's about 60" wide and allows me to iron most fabrics totally flat without folding them.

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  10. I also pretreat the minute the fabric is in the house. I iron my pieces flat out. That center crease drives me nuts and is sometimes permanent. By ironing it out I will know if it is an issue and will work around it.

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  11. Gosh, it never crossed my mind to iron fabric after pretreating it, but then again lots of things never crossed my mind before I started reading sewing blogs. and only recently have I begun ironing the fabric before cutting it out. I iron it flat then.

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  12. I'm on the bandwagon with the rest of this bunch. I wash and dry in batches, though not usually as soon as I buy them. This is a 'problem' sometimes when I decide I want to use something that hasn't been washed. I'll serge the edges if it's really ravelly. When I had a top load WM I overcast all the edges - before I had a serger - since the agitator was pretty rough on yarage. I have a front loader now (and a serger) but it's easier on yardage so I only serge if it looks like it will really shred.

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  13. I also wash mine as soon as I bring it in the house. I have a front loader and it treats my fabric gently. I dry it in the dryer and then iron it flat. Eventually it gets a "crease" in it when I fold it but I don't iron a crease in it. Ironing it flat is a pain as I have to go down one half and then down the other but it does prevent the accidental hard crease.

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  14. I wash when I'm ready to use something. I'm working on not being a fabric hoarder anymore, so most of what comes home is project specific when purchased.

    It the fabric is washable, I machine wash and dry, and then iron flat. I never press the crease into the washed fabric.

    If the fabric is dry clean only, I send the fabric to be cleaned before sewing.

    I serge the edges of everything before cleaning.

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  15. I am one of those wash when you bring it in the house types and press when ready to cut. I tend to press a crease for the fold.

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  16. I used to be so organized and prewashed but not so much any more. Now it depends on the length of the fabric, if it's wool it goes to the shelf as is until time for construction and then the length needed is treated. As for ironing it depends on whether the fabric and garment. If it will be worn out of the dryer then I do minimal ironing at cutting time. So it all depends!

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  17. I don't wash my fabric, I soak it in hot water in a basin or sink as soon as it comes in the door. If it's a more delicate fabric I lower the temperature. I hand wash almost all my made-by-me clothes. I usually press it when dry as I like to see and feel the whole yardage. Also, I'm lucky in that my work table is 60" wide with a padded surface as I used to have a home dec business.

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  18. Wow - interesting question and lots of good answers. For those who iron flat, how do you fold your yardage to store it?

    I tend to serge the edges, then wash and dry when new. This was much easier when I sewed in the laundry room. I also press before I fold it and put it away. g

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  19. Like others I prewash shortly after buying and I don't always iron before storing. I always fold fabric lengthwise (not selvage to selvage as it is on the store bolts) several times then finally in thirds. I got into this habit after I spent time folding antique quilts which eliminates the center fold line.

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  20. I have a really wide pressing and working surface, so I usually press with the whole width of the fabric open. After pressing I refold with the right side of he fabric inside, so I'm ready to place my pattern piece and not have to turn them inside out when I'm ready to sew. Works for me. Even if you are using an ironing board this works.

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  21. I prewash, but don't press until I'm ready to use the fabric to take out the wrinkles and creases that result from storage.

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  22. I pre-wash just b/4 I use it... cause to be honest.... I would probably forget and do it again otherwise.
    I don't iron the center line in like you said, it will need to be re-ironed later anyway.
    Busy girl... looking forward to seeing what you will be making.
    :)

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  23. I used to always pretreat my fabric. I haven't in awhile though. I have a large supply of black linen that has been washed and dried. I do pretreat my rayon, if I plan to machine wash.

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  24. I prewash when I get it and like Debbie I press before I use it. My dh helps me neatly fold large pieces.
    If I am going to be making pants, I'll press it double and press the crease. Otherwise I press a single layer. I have a large pressing table so I have room to do it this way.

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  25. Lovely fabrics. And very smart to pretreat everything. If you reach for something else out of inspiration, you won't get mixed up with what's been pre-treated and what hasn't. I'm jealous!

    Also, you previously did a post on your favorite tracing paper and how to order it, but I can't find it. Could you provide a link to that post, please? Thanks

    Cindy:Creative Hormone Rush

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  26. Carolyn, I am still in the learning stages and think I will start prewashing- not sure about the ironing yet. I do have a question though. Do you prewash your knits also? All knits, or only certain ones?

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