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How is pre-shrinking cotton fabric done?

Hi everyone,

I am new to sewing and have been experiencing some trouble with my cotton fabric shrinking after washing. I have heard that pre-shrinking can help prevent this issue, but I am not sure how to do it. Can anyone explain the process of pre-shrinking cotton fabric to me?

Thanks in advance for any help or advice!

All Replies


Hello there,

I have been sewing for years and in my experience, pre-shrinking cotton fabric is not optional, especially if you are working with a particular project that requires a perfect fit. One technique that I have found very useful in pre-shrinking is to place the cotton fabric in the dryer on high heat with some damp towels for approximately 30 minutes.

The damp towels will create steam, which will aid in pre-shrinking the fabric. After 30 minutes, remove the fabric from the dryer and lay it flat on a large surface to cool down completely. This technique has helped me to avoid any severe shrinkage after washing my finished projects.

Additionally, I have found that using fabric conditioners helps in preventing cotton fabrics from shrinking. These additives contain silicone, which helps to keep the fibers soft yet strong and aids in reducing shrinkage.

I hope these tips are helpful!


Hi everyone,

I'm a relatively new sewer and have also faced the issue of my cotton fabric shrinking after washing, resulting in my finished projects not fitting properly. To avoid this, I always pre-shrink my cotton fabric.

What has worked for me is washing the fabric in hot water and then putting it in the dryer on medium heat until it's almost dry. Then, I take out the fabric and smooth out any wrinkles, and let it air dry the rest of the way.

Another method that's also worked for me is steam ironing the fabric. I use a spray bottle to mist the fabric with distilled water, and then use the iron on a steam setting to evenly distribute the moisture. I do this until the fabric is completely moist, then hang it up to dry.

It's important to remember that pre-shrinking is not a guaranteed solution, especially for fabrics with higher cotton content. However, it's still worth the effort to pre-shrink your fabric to minimize any potential shrinkage.

I hope this helps!


Hi there!

I am also an amateur sewer who is still learning the ins and outs of working with cotton fabric. I have had a few frustrating experiences with my fabric shrinking after washing and had to start all over again, which is why I'm glad that I came across this thread.

One pre-shrinking method that has worked well for me is to fill a basin with hot water and soak the fabric in it for at least an hour. Then, I gently wring out the excess water and lay the fabric flat to air dry.

It's important to note that different brands of cotton fabric can also react differently to pre-shrinking methods, so always check the care instructions on the fabric bolt before proceeding.

Also, washing your fabric with a gentle, cold-water wash cycle and then air-drying it can also help prevent shrinking.

Overall, pre-shrinking is an important step to ensure that your cotton fabric doesn't shrink drastically after washing. I hope this helps!


Greetings everyone,

I am not very experienced with sewing, but I have recently started learning how to sew with cotton fabric. Although I have not faced the issue of my cotton fabric shrinking, I do know a thing or two about pre-shrinking the fabric.

From my research, I have found that pre-shrinking can be done by washing the fabric in hot water and then allowing it to air dry. Alternatively, you can put the fabric through the dryer on the hot setting, but this could cause more shrinking than air-drying.

Something else to consider is that different types of cotton fabric may react differently to pre-shrinking methods. It's important to test a small piece of fabric before pre-shrinking the entire amount to ensure that it doesn't shrink too much or lose its shape.

I hope this helps, and I would love to hear any other tips or tricks for working with cotton fabric!


Hey there,

I have been sewing for quite some time now and have faced the same issue with cotton fabric shrinking after washing. Pre-shrinking is a great solution to prevent this issue, and it's been my go-to method for preparing my fabric.

What I usually do is wash my cotton fabric in hot water and tumble dry it on high heat. This method has always worked best for me, and I've never had any issues with my fabric shrinking after completing my projects.

Additionally, I always recommend washing your fabric before starting any new sewing project, even if it is not pre-shrunk. This is because the fabric can shrink unevenly, causing your project to warp or twist.

Hope this helps!

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