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Washing and Care for Handmade Clothes

(I really wish this was my washing machine. Found via Pinterest, although I can’t find the original source.)

Today, I had a mental debate with myself as I sorted laundry to go into the wash. I tried to decide if I should wash my handmade denim blazer with my other denim clothes like shorts and jeans. It’s the same type of fabric so it could be washed together. But then again the blazer is handmade…?

Like most folks, I usually sort my laundry by color (light and dark) and fabric type to dictate the kind of wash cycle I use. A soft knit cardigan – gentle cycle, jeans – normal cycle.

But it got me thinking about how I wash my handmade clothes. I tend to doubt the quality of my own construction and always wash my handmade clothes on gentle or at most permanent press regardless if the fabric can take a higher setting or not. I guess I have some fear that all my stitches will rip out if the washing machine drum spins too high (I seriously have had nightmares about that happening).

My overly cautious attitude won and I decided not to wash the blazer with my jeans on the higher speed.

So here’s a question – how do you wash your handmade items? Do you separate them from your store bought clothes? Do you take extra special care of them? Dry clean? What about drying? I don’t own a dryer so I line dry everything. Ever had a handmade piece get ruined in the wash like my color bleeding dress?

Now that my regular wardrobe is probably 40% handmade I am paying more attention to how I wash my handmade clothes and even being more diligent about reading the labels on my store bought pieces, as well.

Comments (4) for post “Washing and Care for Handmade Clothes”

  • Hello Dixie,

    In many cases, I throw my home sewn creations into the washer and select the normal cycle. I cringe and almost pass out every time I do this (or let my family do it), but I know that I put in a lot of effort to make my garments sturdy. That usually calms me down a tad bit.

    However, those garments that have been made with a special type of fabric (such as the wool dress I made my step mom), I write out specific washing directions and give the “Manual” to the garment recipient. Or if it is for myself, I keep the manual in my clothes closet.

    For those clothing pieces that need extra TLC, I will go to great lengths to wash with care. You should see what I do when washing my hand knitted sweater! ๐Ÿ™‚ What I typically do is either send it through the delicate cycle and line dry, or wash the piece by hand in a plastic tub which is placed in our deep kitchen sink. And I always choose Woolite as my detergent.

    So did anything get ruined in the wash before? Hmm. . . Not of yet. But I know it will be just around the corner. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Great question, by the way!


  • No lie, for the longest time I just threw my handmade items in with my RTW clothes. Then…there was an accident. This lovely pique dress that I just adored snagged on a zipper from another, heartier RTW dress. The interfacing ended up separating from the fabric and the bodice was warped from the trauma. It was tragic.

    I now have a strict Woolite + gentle cycle + hang dry policy. There have been no further catastrophes since. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Excellent post, Dixie! I’m always curious to hear how others handle this dilemma.

  • Rebekah – the “manual” is a good idea.

    Mary – oh no, that’s terrible! I’m glad you haven’t had any major issues since, though ๐Ÿ™‚

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