Fabric Care Blog with Sharlene

We love seeing all your fabulous makes with our fabrics, and want to make sure you have the best experience with them. We have a Caring For Your Fabric page on our website with lots of details on how to wash your fabrics. It covers how to wash all types of fabric. This blog will provide a few more tips and tricks for caring for your fabric from the moment it arrives to the moment it is on your body!

Please note that you should always test any new to you pre-washing or pre-treating methods on a scrap of fabric first. And if you have not worked with a fabric before do test all pre-treating methods on a scrap too. 


We shared a Reel recently on how to Pre-Shrink your wool fabrics. Most wool fabrics, especially Suiting and Coating fabrics cannot be prewashed in the usual ways as they are prone to shrinking and felting in the wash. I have heard stories of adult size wool coats going into the washing machine and coming out small child size. To prevent any shrinking while you are pressing your seams you can preshrink your fabric. 

To do this you will need an area to support your fabric while you are working with it. A chair or table next to your ironing board will help with this. Place your fabric on the ironing board and ensure the grain line is straight. Hold the iron over an area of your fabric and apply a lot of steam, if your fabric has a design on it you may even see it shrinking as you go. Make sure you move your iron in the direction of the grainline. Once you have steamed the area the most important thing to do is wait for it to cool and dry! If you try to move it while it is still warm you might stretch it out of shape. Once it is dry move onto the next area and repeat supporting the weight of the fabric as you go. I would advise you to have something to watch or listen to, it is a slow process but one that is definitely worth it. 

Alternatively you can take your fabric to a Dry Cleaners and ask them to pre-shrink it for you. 


We covered some tips for pre-washing denim in our Fabric Care Guide. One more tip we would like to add to this (and one that can apply to all fabrics) is to make sure your fabric has no folds when you place it in the wash and to remove it as soon as the wash has finished. This will prevent any lines forming if the dye has run, which is typical with denim. If you choose to tumble dry your fabric you can add Tumble Dryer Balls (or tennis balls) with your fabric. This will also soften your denim and reduce drying time. 

Another method to stop the dye from running on darker denims is to pre-soak your fabric. This will help ‘set’ the dye and hopefully prevent it from running and leaving lines on your fabric. You can soak your denim in cold water and a cup of white wine vinegar to help set the dye. If you soak your denim in hot water this will shrink the denim.

A lot of denims are pre-treated now from the manufacturer, but repeating the process yourself will not do any harm.


When pressing your fabric there are a few things you can do to ensure you don't damage your fabric. 

Press Cloths

My favourite pressing tool is a Silk Organza press cloth. This sounds a little fancy, but in fact was easy to come across. I bought my first press cloth in a set, but since then I have purchased a metre of Silk Organza and cut it into smaller pieces and overlocked the edges, so have enough to last me a long time! 

So why Silk Organza? Silk has a very high melting point so can withstand the hottest of irons. It is also sheer, so you can see what you are pressing underneath. 

When applying fusible interfacing I use a piece of Cotton Muslin. Again, I purchased a large piece of this and cut it into smaller pieces. I place the fabric wrong side up on my ironing board with the interfacing glue side down on top. I then place the cotton muslin on top and press. The cotton muslin protects your iron from any glue that comes through the interfacing, and if you place the interfacing the wrong way (we have all been there!) then your iron is protected. 

Other pressing tools that I find essential are my Tailors Ham, Sleeve Roll and Wooden Clapper. But that’s something for another blog!

If you are pressing a fabric with a ‘nap’ (like corduroy, wool or velvet) you can use a scrap piece of the fabric to protect the pile while you are ironing. Place the fabrics right sides together and a press cloth on top before you press it to stop the pile from getting crushed. This also applies to heavier wool fabrics. 

Wash as you mean to go on

An important thing to remember is to prewash your fabric the same way you intend to wash your finished garment. If you throw everything in on the same 40 degrees wash then it’s a good idea to prewash your fabric that way too. And make sure if someone else is doing the washing they know what to do too! 

We hope you have found this helpful. If you have any other tips please to share them with us. Email them to sharlene@theragshop.co.uk 

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