The Sewing Place

Fabric habits


Fabric habits
« on: January 19, 2021, 15:09:32 PM »
I never pre wash fabric, never starch and never press seams open .
Lately I have been reading that people usually do all those things.
I know why they do, but wondered what was the norm on here
Triumph of hope over experience :D


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2021, 15:15:47 PM »
I never pre-wash but maybe I should have.   :scream:

I don’t press seams open.

I’ve recently begun to use Best Press to aid accuracy.


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2021, 15:25:04 PM »
I prewash if I think there is a chance of shrinkage or colour run, which means I rarely do so for patchwork.

I press everything.  Seams open or to one side for garments, and seams to the side and generally flattening and straightening everything for patchwork.  I don't think it's a good idea to press seams open for patchwork because the seam will be weaker.

Apart from anything else, it always looks so much better well pressed.
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2021, 16:47:58 PM »
Yes,I do press the seams, but not open....usually to the dark side
Triumph of hope over experience :D


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2021, 16:53:08 PM »
Yes,I do press the seams, but not open....usually to the dark side
Well I think that's right isn't it? Pressing seams open invites the wadding to slowly start working it's way through  . . . :)
Singers - 28K, 99K, 15K, 66K, 201K, 201K, 221K, 221K, 221k (white), 222K, Elna - Grasshopper, Bernina 730 Record, Grain chain-stitch machine, Guhl & Harbeck incomplete machine  named "Lyra"


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2021, 16:57:09 PM »
"Set the seam and. press to the dark" a mantra from some site, can't remember which, thats what II do for P&Q.
I always press seams open for garments.
 Sometimes I think the iron is my best friend as I can press away so many small faults. ;)
At leisure on the leisure penninsula


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2021, 17:01:29 PM »
I prewash if it's for clothing as I don't want nasty surprises after it's made, but not usually for P&Q fabrics.

Pressing direction of seams depends on the seam.  Darkside piecing seams usually go to the side although I usually press seams in the binding open to spread the bulk.  Straightish seams in garments made from wovens are usually edge finished and pressed open, curved seams such as the armscy are more likely to be hand finished by turning the edges in and over sewing, they would be pressed towards the sleeve and felled seams are of course pressed to the side as part of the process.  French seams and any overlocked seams of course can't be pressed open.  It's horses for courses.
Brenda.  My machines are: Corona, a 1953 Singer 201K-3, Caroline, a 1940 Singer 201K-3, Thirza, 1949 Singer 221K, Azilia, 1957 Singer 201K-MK2 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2021, 17:35:25 PM »
I always wash fabric intended for garment making; never for P&Q.

As far as pressing is concerned, as @BrendaP says - it's horses for courses. I agree with all her statements for dressmaking. For P&Q I usually press my seams open - which I know is controversial BUT I do use a very tiny (1.5) stitch for piecing so the chance of the wadding finding its way through, or the seam being weak, is almost zero.  ;) I find I get a much better finish by pressing the seams open, and if it's good enough for Leah Day, it's good enough for me. :) (I have been known to press seams to one side if making very, very simple projects, as it's simply quicker.)

I don't use very much starch although I do have a couple of spray bottles of Best Press on my shelves. I only use it if the P&Q fabric is being particularly stubborn. I've never used it for dressmaking.
Minding my P's & Q's in Portreath


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2021, 19:08:51 PM »
Sorry @BrendaP and @Kenora if there's any confusion.
I only mean for p and q, as that's all I do.
That's why I asked the question on The Dark Side Board.
I could never be accurate enough to make clothes and wouldn't know how to begin so I only know 1/4" seams  :|
Triumph of hope over experience :D


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2021, 19:09:12 PM »
In P&Q, pressing the seams to one side is the general rule. It stopped wadding from coming through. However these days, decent wadding doesn't usually cause any problems. Seams are pressed open if it will reduce bulk where lots of pieces meet. If you have pressed a seam open, you can't stitch in the ditch along it because there is no fabric to sew through.

For dressmaking, open the seams unless there is a reason not to.

I would normally prewash the fabric for patchwork (but not precuts). It gets any finish out of the fabric and allows you to find the straight grain more easily.


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2021, 19:10:05 PM »
Straight grain??? @Deafoldbat   :faints:
Triumph of hope over experience :D


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2021, 19:14:50 PM »
I don't prewash for quilting, have never starched and mostly press seams to one side but occasionally open if its too bulky.
Life's too short for ironing.


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2021, 19:19:34 PM »
I have washed the fabrics for the quilt I’m currently working on because it’s red/purple/pink batiks on a white background but I don’t normally.

I normally square the fabric up when I’ve pressed it and before I start cutting.

I have the iron and ironing board out while I’m working so that I can press the fabric before cutting, seams as I go and blocks before I square them up. I also finger press as I work.

I mostly press seams to the dark side but will sometimes press open if experience tells me that will work best at that point.  I started sewing with my Nan when I was about 5 so have leaned what works for me.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 19:21:20 PM by twopence »


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2021, 19:20:04 PM »
I don't prewash much, unless it's something I think may shrink or run, or both (denim).  I do press a lot though, and I use spray starch on fine or slippery fabrics.

Seams aren't really a problem as I do next to no p&q, but when I have done it, I press to the dark side.

Sorry Lowena, didn't realise this was a p&q thread, it just came up as unread threads.


Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.


Re: Fabric habits
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2021, 19:33:05 PM »
Yes, straight grain. Otherwise, it will stretch and fray. (we still haven't got the finger wagging emoji  :rolleyes:)

As the folded fabric is rolled onto the bolt the layers move and often the piece that appears at first glance to be cut straight across, turns out not to be when you wash it. If you take a washed half metre of fabric and line up the opposite selvedges as cut, you will almost always find the fold won't lie flat. If you're cutting wof strips, you have to slide the selvedges along until that centre fold is flat, otherwise your strip will be v-shaped.

@b15erk It isn't a totally P&Q thread, we've just taken it over a bit ;)