You know how to choose fabric now and you've just gotten back from the fabric store. In your bag is the most wonderful fabric of all time! You have the perfect project picked out and you have managed to set aside a few hours to sew.
Stop! Before you cut into that wonderful fabric you have just a little bit of prep work to do. In order for your project to turn out, right, you need to take the time to pretreat your fabric.
This prep work begins before you even leave the fabric store. Did you know that on the end of the fabric bolt you will find everything you need to know about caring for that fabric? Snap a picture of the end of the bolt with your phone. Now you have the type of fabric it is and complete laundering instructions.
First, make sure that the fabric can be washed. I can't tell you how many times I've heard customers at Joann's say that they didn't know fabric stores carried dry-clean only fabric. This is why you always need to look at the end of the bolt of fabric.
Almost all fabrics need to be laundered in the same manner that you plan to launder the completed project. You can, however, skip pre-washing for 100% polyester fabrics such as polar fleece and minky, or vinyl, faux leather or anything you will never wash.
Dry the fabric as indicated on the fabric care instructions or the way you intend to launder the finished project.
Lastly, if the fabric can be ironed you'll need to iron it. Ironing it now will ensure you have a smooth surface to lay your pattern out on. A few wrinkles that are just ¼" here and there can greatly change the size of the finished project if they are not removed before cutting out your pieces. That's it! Your fabric is now ready to be
Remember, washing or drying fabric in a way it was not intended to be washed can cause excessive shrinkage or damage the fabric.
That's all there is to getting your fabric ready to sew!
If you're short on time to sew and thinking about skipping this step, don't! You can get a lot done on your project while the fabric washes. You can gather all of your other supplies, set up your sewing area if you don't have a dedicated area for sewing, read the pattern or tutorial instructions and begin cutting out your pattern.