Preshrinking Your Fabric

Almost all of our fabrics are washable. Although washable, a few also change appearance with washing. Our shrinkage chart gives the percentages the fabric will shrink the first time it hits cool or hot temperatures; but also tries to explain any changes in appearance. We like the changes. You may not. You can wash a sample or ask us for a “returnable” of a large piece of a fabric that has been washed.

About half of our fabrics still have some residual shrinkage in them.

This means that, if you are going to make something with them that you intend to wash in the future, you’ll want to pre-shrink the fabrics so that, after fabrication, you can still use the item - you can still get the cushion cover on the cushion, whatever.

There is no other reason to wash the fabrics before use. There is absolutely nothing to wash out.

Please do keep in mind what pre-shrinking means. It means that the fabric will shrink 4% or under when washed, which is the amount it will stretch if pulled. Think of newly washed jeans. It can be a job to replace that just washed cushion cover.

If you choose a fabric that is not pre-shrunk, but you need it to be pre-shrunk, you can:

  1. do it yourself;
  2. have us do it for you ($5 yd with a $90 minimum); or
  3. send it to Bobcat Carpet and Fabric Care in Los Angeles ($5 yd with $100 minimum, and an extra shipping charge from Seattle to LA).
Both #2 and #3 take two to three weeks. In busy times, the wait can be longer.


You can do it yourself.

You do NOT have to actually wash the fabric to shrink it. You really only have to soak it in hot water for about 15 minutes after it is thoroughly soaked. Hot water means about 105 – 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the setting of most home and commercial washing machines. Do not use boiling water, especially with dyed fabrics. The boiling point of water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. That is too hot. It won’t hurt the fibers, but that will unduly fade color – plus it takes way too much energy.

Then hang it up to dry or tumble it in a dryer.

Don’t try to wash more than 6 yards of any of our upholstery fabrics weighing more than 13 ounces in your home machines. (Weight per square yard is on the price list and on the website.)

Or ask us. Remember the weight is per square yard (the proper way to report the weight of fabric so that fabrics of different widths can be compared and you know how much fiber is really in the fabric). Most of our fabrics are 54” or 55” wide excluding selvedge (selvedge varies but is usually about .125”, an eight of an inch) So a RUNNING yard of our fabric is not 36” by 36”, but 36” by 55”. So you have to take the weight of a square yard and add another 50% of that number to get the weight of one yard of the fabric you buy from us. If confusing, give us a call!)

Most of our fabrics soak up three to four times their weight in water.  Home machines are usually rated for 30 pounds the bigger top loaders for 40 pounds.


Even 6 yards might be pushing it. Take to a commercial laundry or just soak in the bathtub.

If you do wash and tumble dry, please serge any raw edges hoSome of the fabrics will unravel a lot if the edges are left raw.

If we wash your fabric for you, we charge $5 a yard with an $80 minimum. The time we require is usually 2 weeks. In busy times, it can be more.