A question about making clothes at home.

(21 Posts)
treeinthedistance Sun 24-Feb-19 18:21:32


I have recently started learning to sew and really want to try making homemade skirts and dresses etc.

I have purchased some mediumweight cotton to work with but have heard that I need to prewash it to avoid shrinkage after the garment is made. However I am not sure how to go about drying large sheets of fabric due to extremely limited drying space at home - we have one clotheshorse which is in constant use drying clothes and towels, and no space to put one anywhere else, we can't have a tumble dryer. I will be dealing with 2-metre pieces of fabric so they are quite large. What is the best way to prepare fabrics before cutting/sewing and how do others go about drying them indoors with very limited space??

I feel so silly asking this question but we already have a constant struggle trying to dry all our bed sheets, clothes, towels etc especially this time of year and this hobby is all rather new to me. I'd like to just cut out the fabric and sew straight away but scared of ruining my garments if they shrink!

OP’s posts: |
GregoryPeckingDuck Sun 24-Feb-19 18:24:33

I’ve nevr had anything shrink on me tbh. Do you have stairs? I used to hang sheep s over the banister when we were without a dryer.

elephantoverthehill Sun 24-Feb-19 18:29:43

You could always cut, wash and dry a test piece say 10 x10cms and see if it shrinks.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 24-Feb-19 18:31:21

I haven't usually bothered unless the fabric is very cheap, or with linen.
Make sure your washing machine is set to its fastest spin to get as much water out as possible.
In your position I would probably stretch it out over the backs of some chairs until it is just damp, and then iron it dry - you will have to press it before cutting out in any case.

glamorousgrandmother Sun 24-Feb-19 18:31:38

I hang mine over the bannister. How do you usually dry sheets?

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 24-Feb-19 18:32:03

Of course! Do what Elephant said.

PCohle Sun 24-Feb-19 18:33:31

I do think washing and drying the fabric as you plan to wash and dry the finished garment is very important. It's so frustrating to spend hours sewing something only to have it become unwearable after the first wash. It's not a step I would risk skipping if at all avoidable.

Is 2m hugely bigger than a double duvet cover? I'd just chuck it over a big clothes horse and open the window a crack to avoid damp.

Shodan Sun 24-Feb-19 18:33:32

I would prewash cotton tbh, it's soul destroying to find your carefully measured, cut and sewn garment is even half an inch too small.

Wash it in a pillowcase and fold it. Do you have a trouser hanger, the kind with clips on? You can clip it on that in a doorway or near a window.

How do you dry your bedding usually? Do that if you can.

glamorousgrandmother Sun 24-Feb-19 18:33:33

Sorry, just realised you mentioned it's difficult. You could fold it over and put it over a rack. I always wash my fabric first but some people say it isn't essential these days.

Shodan Sun 24-Feb-19 18:35:31

Lordy I'm a slow typist!

elephant gave a good suggestion- cut and wash a sample to see if it shrinks.

treeinthedistance Sun 24-Feb-19 18:39:01

Oh the test piece is a great idea, thank you!

We don't have any stairs so no banister unfortunately. We do have trouble drying sheets, usually just have to cram as much as possible on to the airer and then drape the extra socks etc. that wouldn't fit on over all the radiators. I've just been worrying about adding even more to the load by trying to wash and dry great big bits of fabric, particularly as I'm hoping to make quite a few different garments if I can get going with it.

OP’s posts: |
Lwmommy Sun 24-Feb-19 18:41:23

Wash it in tge mirning, extra spin cycle and get it out on the line. Its been sunny enough recently here to dry things at least most of the way if their out all day

Fartingisfun Sun 24-Feb-19 18:47:39

We hang sheets over the doors. Just double check that the top of the door isn't dusty...

treeinthedistance Sun 24-Feb-19 18:50:08

Thank you lwmommy, however no garden unfortunately.

Maybe I will just have to put a second clotheshorse wherever it will go and we'll have to squeeze past it for a day or so while the stuff drys... I wish I had more room to make this easier, but sewing is proving to be a lot of fun, so I want to find a way to make this work smile

OP’s posts: |
treeinthedistance Sun 24-Feb-19 18:51:27

I had never thought of putting stuff over the doors! That's an idea. Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
witchy89 Sun 24-Feb-19 18:57:25

I hang all sheets and towels over the doors, or backs of chairs!

treeinthedistance Sun 24-Feb-19 19:07:09

Oh backs of chairs is a good one too. Thank you for all the great ideas!

OP’s posts: |
CrazyCrunk Sun 24-Feb-19 19:44:54

Give the top of the door a wipe first, sometimes they are grey with dust #slattern

PCohle Sun 24-Feb-19 19:51:33

A sturdy curtain pole also works well.

drspouse Sun 24-Feb-19 19:53:39

It won't take that long to dry surely?
I would definitely prewash.

HellsBellsAndBatteredBananas Sun 24-Feb-19 20:01:41

You can get folding airers that hang over doors to add extra space, they also hand over radiators.




Also the best way to dry clothes quickly on an airer is to add a dehumidifier. When I didn't have a tumble drier I had hanging rails in my bathroom over the bath/radiator and behind the door and pegged stuff out to dry and then just turned on the heater/dehumidifier and shut the door and within 2 hours it was totally dry despite not being overly warm in there.

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