17 comments on “Do You Wash Your Fabric Before Sewing Doll Clothes?

  1. Tari Hann on Jul 14, 2013 12:41 am | Reply

    Rosie, I couldn’t agree with you more! I love how fresh and crisp brand new fabric looks when it’s sewn up. I agree about the creases. I’m not sure if you have these same products but I’ve found Downy Wrinkle Release to be a great aid in pressing out factory creases before sewing. Also Mary Ellen brand has a similar spray that kind of acts as a fabric finish if a person did have to wash their fabric first. It helps make it have a bit more body.

    But like you, I would much rather not wash doll clothes fabric. I always tell people it washes the life out of it, lol.

  2. MaryJo Coday on Jul 14, 2013 1:00 am | Reply


    While I do agree with you about not prewashing in general, I always, always prewash fabric I’m using to make curtains or any fabric for clothing that suggests dry cleaning (I don’t dry clean much!). I use a lot of suiting and it will shrink. But, dolls don’t get their clothes too dirty so I don’t bother.


  3. Ann mellor on Jul 14, 2013 1:02 am | Reply

    Wow, am I glad to read this. I don’t know why, but I’ve always washed my fabric that I buy, whether for doll clothes or other things. I always thought that the fabric would shrink otherwise and not fit. I wash on gentle cycle and then air dry. It doesn tend to fray a bit, bit I press the fabric right out of the dryer. That’s a lot of work for nothing. From now on it’s buy and sew. Thanks for the helpful hints, and for saving me lots of time on an extra step I don’t need to do.

  4. Thanks for this. So far I’ve used leftover fabric and none of it has been pre-washed. As you say, we seldom wash them anyway!

  5. Hey Rosie,
    A big thumbs up on this one.
    I 2 only wash if I’m making curtains and that is not often
    enough to even mention.

    Bev in Ohio

  6. Never, unless the piece is dirty to begin with. Fat quarters are the most excellent size for a doll outfit, top or skirt. My dolls never move so the only thing on their clothes would be dust. A good shake when I change them to match the seasons usually gets rid of it. Recently found out a hint that most of you probably already know though, most of my dolls come from eBay where I rescue them, suit them out and add them to my collection. A wire bristle hair brush takes all the tangles out of their hair almost instantly. Best idea I have used yet. Keep up the good work Rosie. I am into the sock leggings at the moment.

  7. Ann Tillotson on Jul 14, 2013 3:47 pm | Reply

    I have washed all my fabric since I made my granddaughter a dress and leggings and the first time her mother washed it it shrunk! I do not wash my fat quarters but wash all other fabric as I often use leftovers from sewing clothes for grand kids to make doll clothes. But I recommend always washing knits if you use them for kids clothes AND doll clothes!

  8. Sylvia Quandt on Jul 28, 2013 10:59 pm | Reply

    I say yes and no . Some fabrics in dark colors may discolor the doll. I always wash fabrics I get at thrift stores or garage sales which is a no brainer. I use the gentle setting.

  9. I always wash fabric. Taught at stretch knit sewing classes knits will shrink, cotton shrinks. Fabric stores recommend washing fabrics, and care instructions on a Fat Flat purchased just recently states “pre-wash before making”. Littlies do get their doll’s clothes grubby.

  10. I Alway pre wash. I do what ever the lable says not to do. Long wash, hot water, and the dreaded dryer lol. As a kid I loved doing my “laundry”. Stuff would shrink and or run so I always got in the habit of pre washing.

  11. Teresa Wilson on Apr 23, 2020 7:47 pm | Reply

    I seldom wash my fabrics when sewing for dolls. But until a couple days ago. When removing an outfit from one of my dolls to try on a new one, to my horror the dye from the black lining of the dress and the red binding used as a casing on the sleeve leached into the vinyl. Now my question is should I be washing all lining or any dark material or even binding ? Wash with salt? If so how much? I had left this dress on the doll from either December or February until a couple days ago.

    • Yes Teresa I must admit dark coloured clothes that are left on a doll can cause staining on your doll dependant on the fabric, what the doll is made of and what conditions the doll and clothes are kept in i.e. is there moisture in the air? If in doubt, prewash dark colours but be aware that some dark colours will continue to lose dye for some time. I just did a quick Google search and found this information – Fill a bucket or tub with 1 gallon of water. Add 1 cup of table salt. Submerge the clothing in the saltwater solution before the first wash. Let the clothing soak for a few hours. Take the clothing out of the solution and launder as usual. Add ¼ cup salt to the wash cycle for added protection. Hope this helps. 🙂

  12. I have sewn clothing all my life and I always wash cotton and dark cloth before cutting out my pieces. I am almost 72 years old and have been sewing since I was about 10 years old. I was taught that no matter if the material was flour sacks or off a bolt from a store to not waste my time and sew it up before washing. I always check the edges to see if they are trying to fray and if they are I will to a quick long stay stitch along the cut sides before washing. A quick press after the material comes out of the dryer and it is ready to go. This is highly recommended if you are making face masks for the covid pandemic also.

  13. Colleen Roberts on Feb 28, 2021 11:45 pm | Reply

    I’ve found that the ‘dressing’ in the new fabric helps to make sewing easier, especially for the smaller, ‘fiddlier’ seams etc for doll’s clothes. Its great to have somewhere to discuss these things!

  14. I’m just starting to make rag dolls and their clothes so I can give them to little girls in shelters. My plan was to pre-wash the muslin and cotton dresses in hot water and dry them in a hot dryer. I thought I’d then spray the fabric with spray starch to crisp it up. From reading the comments above, it sounds as though I may not need to do any of that. I’d love to hear from anyone here (positive or negative) on my plan. Thank you in advance!

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