Community · Sewing

Wash Testing the Fashion Fabric

This February I’m sewing along with Male Pattern Boldness and a bunch of other talented seamsters. We’re all making men’s shirts. Mine is for my husband, and here’s a reflection on my efforts to sew well.

The linen and silk direct from

When I proposed to use a silk as my accent fabric in the men’s shirt Sew-Along, the fearless Sew-Along leader MPB himself asked if I would be able to wash the silk and my main shirt fabric together.

I had to reply that I wasn’t sure.  It hadn’t even occurred to me.

I emailed Susanne, my fabric guru, to ask for her thoughts, and she said that as long as I abused both fabrics in the washer and dryer before sewing with them, then they should be able to work together.

I also asked Google what it thought.  The repeated response I got was, basically, that every silk should be tested because different silks need different care.

Since I am a scientist by day, I proposed an experiment to test the compatibility of the silk I wanted to use as an abstract accent and the fabric for the main body.  My plan was to first wash both fabrics separately, the same way my husband will wash the shirt once it’s his to wear; then sew them together; and, finally, wash the joined fabrics, again the same way my husband will wash the resulting shirt, to see how they did joined.

Here’s the result after step one:

The linen and silk out of the wash with a touch of ironing.

The silk looked nearly the same, but the linen was pretty beat up.  I hit it with the iron for a few seconds before taking the photo above so that it wasn’t a balled up mess.  I foresee a lot ironing in the future with this shirt!

I sewed the two pieces of fabric together on the three outer edges, flipped the seams around so they were on the inside of a pocket created by both the small piece of silk and the larger piece of linen, then stitched them closed on the fourth side.  Nothing fancy, but all edges firmly attached to each other.

The linen and silk sewn together and ready for another trip to the laundromat.

I then threw the joined pieces back into the wash again.  And, I’m happy to say that they came out of the wash no worse for wear.


I’d say the test was a success.  Both fabrics are compatible, and both fabrics can handle both the washer and the dryer – even at a laundromat!

Now to finish the muslin so that I can finally work with these wonderful fabrics.

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