Does Cotton fabric shrink when it is washed? – Always Knitting and Sewing

Does Cotton fabric shrink when it is washed?

Does cotton fabric shrink when it is washed?

 

We often get asked at the shop if Cotton fabric will shrink  when it is washed?

The  answer is that it will usually  shrink a little bit ( about 2-3%) and this is due to the way that cotton is manufactured…

 

When cotton fabric is made the individual threads of cotton are stretched & woven onto looms, this pulls the threads of cotton into straight lines.  Chemicals and stabilisers are sometimes added during the weaving process to ensure that the fabric maintains its shape.

 

When the cotton fabric is washed the warm water & detergents  relax the fabric and the threads return to their original unstretched form.  This is seen by us as the fabric shrinking a little. This can be a problem for some crafters/ patch workers and there is an ongoing debate in the crafting communities about the need to prewash cotton fabric before using it.

Click here to find out more about pre-washing cotton fabric when making a patchwork quilt