3 steps to prepare your fabric before cutting and sewing
You have bought yourself a beautiful fabric and are all eager to start sewing right away. But before you start cutting, there’s a few things you need to do to get the best result— especially when you’re sewing a garment. By doing so you will prevent the garment from shrinking and lose it’s shape.
Step 1 – Wash and dry the fabric
You have to wash and dry your fabric the same way you will wash and dry the finished garment, and according to the care instruction for the fabric. This will preshrink the fabric, and remove any excess coloring. This way you will avoid any shrinking in the finished garment.
Step 2 – Press the fabric
Iron out any wrinkles before cutting. This will make it easier to work with as it will lay flat on the surface as you cut it. Make sure you use the right temperature for your fabric so you don’t damage it.
Step 3 — Check if the fabric is on grain, and straighten it if it’s not
The fabric may have been pulled off grain during production, and need to be straighten before you cut it. If you skip this step, you risk the finished garment to be off grain, meaning it will twist and hang unevenly on the body.
How to check if the fabric is straight on grain
Straight grain means that the lengthwise yarns (warp) of the fabric runs perpendicular to the crosswise yarns (weft). To find out if its is straight, you must first establish a straight line across, from selvage to selvage*. If your fabric allows it, simply pull out a thread near the cut edge from selvage to selvage. If not, pull a thread until the fabric puckers along the thread. Keep bunching the fabric and pulling every few inches until the pucker reaches the opposite selvage. Both methods will give you a straight line across the fabric.Using this thread line as your guide, cut all the way across the fabric.
Then fold the fabric lengthwise so the selvages align. If the grain is straight, the corners will line up, and you are ready to go. If not, one corner will be shorter than the other, and you need to straighten it.
How to straighten the grain
Hold the short corner in one hand (or have someone hold it for you if you have a large fabric piece), and the opposite corner with the other hand. Gently stretch the fabric diagonally.
Fold the fabric again to check if the corners match up. If not, repeat the prosess until it does.
*The selvage is the edge produced on woven fabric during manufacture that prevents it from unraveling. This means it’s not the cut edge from when you buy fabric of a roll.