How to Prepare Fabric for Sewing
Archaeologists believe sewing can be traced back to prehistoric humans who used needles fashioned from bones or ivory to sew their animal skin clothing. Sewing became much easier with the invention of the first sewing machines in the 19th century. Today's sewing machines are far more sophisticated than those early treadle machines, but the same simple fabric preparation must still be taken care of before the needle and thread ever touches the fabric.
Make a note of laundering instructions when you purchase fabric.Most fabric stores will give you labels with these directions automatically, but if they are not available, make your own.
Rinse deep, dark colors like black or indigo blue in a basin of cool water until the dye no longer tinges the water.Then wash according to manufacturer's directions.
Wash each color separately.Dry in the dryer, and remove the fabric while still slightly damp. Iron the fabric until it is completely dry, using the recommended heat setting for each fabric. Delicate fabrics that cannot go in the dryer should be line dried or laid flat until almost dry and ready to be ironed.
Apply fusible interfacing before sewing thin cotton fabrics that might otherwise twist and bunch.The interfacing will help stabilize the fabric when when sewing.
Turn the steam iron to its highest setting.Lay the fabric, right side down, on an ironing board. Place the interfacing, glue side down, on top of the fabric. Slightly dampen a cloth kitchen towel and place on top of the interfacing.
Activate the steam feature, and hold in place for 10 seconds.
Check to see if the fabrics have fused, and continue on until all your fabric is stabilized.
Preshrink dry-clean only fabric by ironing across the grain of the fabric in horizontal and vertical passes with a steam iron.Ironing against the grain can distort the fabric.
Lay the damp fabric on a flat surface and allow to air dry.
Preshrink trims, ribbons or zippers if necessary.
Trim the selvage edges from fabric by laying it out on a cutting board and using scissors or a rotary cutter to remove cleanly.
Run a seam line around the edges of fabric that tends to fray after the pattern pieces have been cut and before you sew the pieces together.You can also use a serger for this.
Straighten fabric grain before sewing.
- If the fabric has a straight horizontal pattern, simply trim both cut ends of the fabric piece along a horizontal line.
- If the fabric is woven, begin at 1 selvage edge and pull a few horizontal threads across the width of the fabric. Trim the fabric along this thread line. If you have not yet removed the selvage edges, make a vertical cut just beyond the selvage edge. Repeat on the other end.
- To check that the grain is straight, fold the fabric lengthwise so the selvage edges meet and the top and bottom are straight. If there is any distortion in the fabric, it may need to be pressed with a steam iron, working from the selvage edges to the fold.
QuestionShould the fabric be on the right side or the wrong side when placing pattern on?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe wrong side as you will have to turn it the right way to make it seem neater.Thanks!
Video: How to Prepare your Fabric Before Sewing a Project
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