I'm a sewing enthusiast in Beacon, New York, with a love of all things retro. This site is all about tutorials, tips, inspiration, and lots of spirited discussion about sewing as it relates to fashion history, pop culture, body image, and gender. My first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is now out from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books! Also look for my line "Patterns by Gertie" from Butterick.
Hey all! Just a quick little post today. I'm going to be showing you how to cut out your underlining and fabric this weekend, but before I get to that, one crucial step: pre-treating your fabric. For cottons, this essentially means laundering your fabric as you intend to care for it as a finished garment.
I'm a big fan of hand-washing my handmade clothing, and for this I use a product called Soak. It's a gentle detergent that doesn't require any rinsing. So you just fill up a tub (I use a small plastic storage bin) with cool water, add a dollop of Soak, and immerse your fabric. Swish it around gently, and leave it sitting for about 10 minutes. Dump out all the water. Roll your fabric up in a bath towel and squeeze out the excess water. Hang your fabric to dry. Once it's dry, you can press it with a steam iron. (Always test your fabric to see how it reacts to pressing; you may need a press cloth if it's sensitive to high heats. Cottons are generally easy to press, though.)
You can also handwash using a detergent (baby shampoo also works well for delicates), but you'll have to rinse it well to get any soap residue out.
If you plan to machine wash your garment, put your fabric through the same cycle you will use on your dress. Serge, zigzag, or pink the cut edges of your fabric before washing to avoid fraying and tangling.
That's pretty much it! A couple more posts to read on pre-treating if you're interested: one I wrote earlier this year, and a great one from Colette Patterns' blog.
How's everyone doing? Feeling ready to cut out? Or still working on muslins?