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Novice question about fabrics

(5 Posts)
AmyAmoeba Wed 05-Oct-16 22:41:03

Ok disclaimer first: I'm newer than new to sewing so please don't assume I know anything at all about sewing. I never took home ec, my mother didn't own a needle and thread, and I don't have the time at the moment to take a real life class so I'm jumping in at the deep end and just having a go.

I made this which has turned out really nicely but I have a few questions and hope some more experienced heads can advise.

I used cotton batting, which I pre-washed first (as with the other fabrics) and it shrunk down to almost half its original size. Will it keep shrinking with (hand) washing or is it likely to keep its size now?

The batting is used as an insulation later but between the original cost and the rate of shrinkage it adds a lot to the cost of the finished product. Is there a better alternative to this?

If you were making this what type of fabric would you have picked? I used 100% cotton mainly because all the nice patterned fabrics in the store were cotton. The other obvious option was a 45%polyester/55%cotton gingham which was half the price. I'm at a loss to know what difference it might have made if any.

I had also considered buying a bundle of fat quarters for the project, which are also labelled as 100% cotton but feel thicker and crisper than the cotton sold on bolts. is there a way of telling what quality of fabric you are getting- label information or particular things you look out for?

theclockticksslowly Sat 08-Oct-16 15:13:23

I'm fairly new to seeing so can't offer much advice but I would recommend joking a few fabric groups on facebook if you're on there. A good one for asking all sorts of questions is called Fabric Addicts.

OurBlanche Sat 08-Oct-16 15:22:29

Hi, nice project.

When you decide on pre-washing you usually think about how the thing will be used. If it will never be washed, then pre-washing is pointless.

I would probably use cotton for that project, to avoid the shrinking/burning of man made fibres.

I often use old towels, blankets for stuffing pot holders. Cheaper than the expensive batting, even if you don't choose the heat proof stuff!

Fat quarters are expensive, but are a great way of getting small amounts of different material - I buy material from charity shops/car boot sales, curtain material, bed linen, skirts, shirts etc. You know they won't shrink (well, curtains may) and you can do a flame test on them to see how they react to heat!

Do join online groups, they have a huge amount of expertise.

Have fun smile

AmyAmoeba Wed 30-Nov-16 00:13:17

Sorry, I missed these replies! Thank you both!
Never thought of using towels - that's a brilliant idea.
There's so much to learn!

JoffreyBaratheon Thu 01-Dec-16 09:50:10

I'd also avoid manmade fibres in anything that's going to come into contact with anything hot.

I pre-wash everything before I sew it, in precisely the same way I intend to wash it after I made it. So for some things it might only be a 30 degree wash on the handwash cycle of my machine. Others, it might be 50 degrees - ie: subject it to whatever it will have to put up with in the future. Theoretically then, it should do all the shrinking it's going to do (and lose the sizing which is on some new fabrics from the milling process).

This isn't quite foolproof (and I'm a big fool) but generally makes sense.

I'd have chosen a heavy duty cotton - maybe something like a cotton drill, or an old fashioned, stripey pillow ticking for this. Maybe not available in such pretty prints but eminently practical.

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