Buying Fabric … Gotchas

I learned to sew in high school home-economics class.  Yes … in the dark ages, although I have to say that we were becoming enlightened – I had to also take a shop class (wood working) in order to graduate.

At any rate …..

I learned to sew using patterns.  And a cardinal rule was that you always, always, washed and dried your fabric before you laid out the pattern pieces and cut out the cloth.  I have to suspect that these patterns were designed with the assumption that cloth would shrink in the process.  Which was all fine and dandy when I was sewing with the guidance of expert designers.

Now that I’m creating things on my own and designing my own patterns, I have to remember to account for shrinkage.  The image shows the yard of cotton canvas I purchased, washed, and dried in preparation for making a couple of canvas quivers.  The piece under it is the equivalent amount of fabric before washing and drying!!!  The material shrink about 10%, which was quite a surprise to me during this first sewing project done without a pattern.

Thankfully, this first project is small, and materials are inexpensive.  So from now on, I’ll add a good measure of fudge factor when buying fabric, and not assume that I’ll be able to get the full width out of any piece either!

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