Sunday, May 28, 2006

Pretreating Fabric - A Necessary Evil

The first stop in my Memorial Day Sewing Journal is "Pretreating Alley."

I don't know about anyone else but this ranks right up there with cutting out as things that I don't like about sewing but are necessary evils. You can skip this step but you are really rolling the dice about whether or not you will wear the finished garment more than once. So after you have put all of this work into a garment ~ pretreating should not be an option you avoid! But, boy is it tempting!

Yesterday, I washed, dried and ironed linen for hours. It seemed like I ironed and ironed and ironed. Most linens are so pretty and crisp when you either bring them home or they come out of the box, but one good wash and dry removes the sizing that makes the fabric shiny, pretty and crisp. What you are left with is your "real piece of fabric" and then does it still appeal to you after the sizing is removed? This can be the first casualty of pretreatment and it can cause you to review your sewing plan.

See, it's not like I don't pretreat fabric during the fall/winter season. But since most of my garments are drycleaned during this season, pretreatment doesn't necessary take hours and hours of my precious sewing time! And yes, I could have done this days before the personal sewing vacation, but I was a little preoccupied and coming off another hot sewing assignment. So this fell to one of my actual sewing days!

I like my clothing in the spring/summer season to be wash and wear. I don't know why but I like the simplicity of throwing it in the washer and dryer, ironing and wearing it. So I am especially vigilant about the methods I use to pretreat summer garments. I just don't want my beautifully finished garment to shrink during the second or third washing. What a waste of my time! So pretreating is a necessary step before beginning any summer garment. But I hate it! Even during the process I am already imaging the next steps. The fun part ~ where the magic happens!

Prewashing does not equal fun!
Prewashing does not equal magic!
Prewashing is just a necessary evil!

So I am finally through "Prewashing Alley" and headed down to "Cutting Junction" with maybe a pitstop at "Fitting Way." I am using only one new pattern on this sewing journey and even though all of the pattern work has been completed, you just never know. So I may need to make more than a pitstop at Fitting Way. I will just have to see as I travel along!

Well this is just the first installment on my MD sewing journey. Of course, there will be more to follow! Oh and here are some photos I snapped while I was riding along Prewashing Alley!

Pile of prewashed fabrics from top to bottom:

  • black/creme circle print from Fabric Mart
  • black/creme floral knit from Ebads Fabrics
  • tan rayon/linen blend from FFC
  • beige/blue/brown floral rayon/linen blend from FFC
  • medium chocolate brown linen from FFC
  • chocolate brown twill weave linen from FFC.

One more view of the fabrics that I will be cutting first!

I will check in again soon!


  1. You do have some nice fabrics there waiting for the scissors. Hope to see the finished products soon....I too should be in my sewing room and off the internet.

  2. Go for it Carolyn - looking forward to seeing those great fabrics transformed into your one of a kinds.

    Vicki M

  3. OOOOOh, great fabric - I love the polka dot one. I almost bought that in my last order. I can't wait to see what you do with everything!


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