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Fabric Care, Etc.



Laundry
The Smuggler's Daughter is not responsible for any inappropriate choices customers may make when cleaning fabric or garments that  have been sewn from our inventory.  We advise sewistas to be gentle and to use caution when laundering fabric and home-sewn garments. We cannot accept returns on fabric that has been washed.

Silk and wool fabrics almost always need to be dry cleaned.  Most cottons and polyesters can be machine washed.  Rayons and linens are a mixed bag some are machine washable and some need to be dry cleaned, so testing is advised. 

If there is any question in your mind, please test wash a small piece of scrap fabric to see for yourself how machine washing will affect it.  Don't risk ruining a good piece of fabric by machine washing something that should be hand washed or dry cleaned.

We almost never use hot water when machine or  hand washing any type of fabric.  Cold water and lower temperatures generally cause the least wear on fabrics.  Finally, we recommend using only lower settings when machine drying appropriate fabrics.  We usually air dry knits, stretch wovens or anything that seems delicate.

Pre-Shrinking
If you are sewing with wool or a wool blend, be sure to steam it before you place the pattern and cut the fabric. You can send it to a dry cleaner for steaming, but you can also do it at home. If you do it yourself, either use a steamer or if you use an iron, use the highest steam setting and  use a press cloth instead of placing the iron directly onto the fabric. Be sure to use a lot of steam in every spot of the fabric and leave the fabric in place for a couple of minutes so that it can absorb the full steam. Wool crepe, for example, will shrink a lot, possibly rendering a home-sewn garment unwearable if you do not pre-shrink it properly before sewing.

If you are sewing with 100% cotton or other machine-washable fabric, be sure to pre-shrink it by machine washing and drying before you place your pattern and cut fabric.

Stabilizing
If you are sewing with silk, chiffon or other slippery fabric, we suggest that you stabilize the fabric with tissue paper which can be pulled away after the garment is sewn.  To do this, lay down a sheet of tissue paper, then lay down your fabric on top it. Put another layer of tissue paper on top of your fabric and place your pattern pieces on top of all three. We have found that pieces are cut to form when the fabric is sandwiched between tissue paper like this, and that the tissue paper pulls away easily if you use a small stitch when sewing. You may want to place a towel under your sewing machine and to the left of your needle to further stabilize your project.

The Smuggler's Daughter does not recommend using spray fabric stabilizer on fine fabrics.  This is  a method that is suggested by some other experienced sewistas but we believe that this may damage expensive silk. 

Pressing
We suggest that sewistas invest in a good quality iron with a high-functioning steam setting.  This is essential for pressing out seams during sewing projects.  We also suggest that you use press cloth and avoid placing the iron directly onto any fabric that looks ornate or feels delicate. Please educate yourself on the difference between ironing and pressing, and utilize good pressing techniques on your sewing projects.