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Basic Information Regarding Washing and Caring for Fabric

**Please note that these directions are meant only as a guideline.  There are lots of different fabrics and they can react differently to washing.  When in doubt it is best to test your desired washing on a small piece before working with the whole piece

 Linen

Usually Linen is being used in situations where you will want to be able to launder the item after it is made.  With that it in mind it is best to pre-wash linen using a hot water cycle.  Be sure to finish your cut ends prior or you will have a washer full of string.  You can then completely dry the linen in the dryer for added shrinkage.  The final step is to wet the linen back down and press it dry to remove any wrinkles.  If you would like to minimize wrinkles you can partially dry the fabric and press it the rest of the way dry.  Expect to lose 2-4 inches in shrinkage for most linens.  After your clothing is made it is best to cold water hand wash and hang to dry to avoid any further shrinkage.

  • Acceptations to washing linen would be linen used in the making of stays or corsets and linen used in the lining of a coat or other wool garments that will not be washed.

 Worsted Wool

Worsted wool typically has a hard finish which makes it resistance to heavy fulling by agitation and heat.  If you will not be washing your wool in the future, it is safe to work with the wool without laundering.  If you feel you will be washing the wool at some point or dry cleaning it is best to do a bit of shrinking. This can be accomplished by filling your washer or bathtub full of hot water and immersing the fabric.  Allow the fabric to sit until the water has completely cooled. You can then spin the extra water out or wring the fabric by hand.  Lay the fabric flat to dry in order to avoid any stretching.  Most worsteds will shrink very little, perhaps a couple of inches at most. Some worsted wools are woven so tightly that they can stand up to gentle washing in the machine without changing the “hand” of the fabric in any way.  Cut a small piece of your fabric and try it first if you are unsure.  After your clothing is made it is best to cold water hand wash and lay flat to dry. 

 Woolens, such as Broadcloth

If you will not be washing your wool in the future, it is safe to work with the wool without laundering.  If you feel you will be washing the wool at some point or dry cleaning it is best to do a bit of shrinking. This can be accomplished by filling your washer or bathtub full of hot water and immersing the fabric.  Be sure to immerse it all at the same time as hot water will cause the wool fibers to tighten immediately and you will have uneven shrinkage. (the ripple affect) Allow the fabric to sit until the water has completely cooled. Do not agitate or rub the wool unless you purposely want to thicken (full) it.   You can then spin the extra water out or wring the fabric by hand.  Lay the fabric flat to dry in order to avoid any stretching.  Expect to lose as much as 6 inches per yard depending on how tightly woven the wool is. After your clothing is made it is best to lightly soak in cold water or dry clean to avoid further shrinkage.

 Silk

We recommend that you never wash silk.  If you must clean silk we recommend spot cleaning or dry cleaning.

Cotton

Cotton is always a fabric that can be laundered.  We recommend that you hot water wash for maximum shrinkage and dry hot.  You can then spray or steam iron to remove any wrinkles.  After your item is made it is best to cold water wash and cool dry or hang to dry.


 
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