The Care and Keeping of Your Embroidered Items
Why spend tons of time embroidering a beautiful project, only to have it ruined when you go to wash it? Nothing is more disappointing than finding out your monogrammed initials have bled all over your white bath towels or your favorite t-shirt now has a bunched up design. For the sake of your embroideries, take the time to care for them properly with these tips!
Start with the right materials
The care and keeping of your embroidery begins before your embroidery even exists – that’s right, it all comes down to what materials you use! When picking out embroidery supplies, start with a substantial and quality fabric that will hold up to the rigors of embroidery and washing. In addition, choose high quality embroidery thread that will be less likely to bleed when it is wet.
The next step is choosing a stabilizer. It is better to use cut-away rather than tear-away in some instances because cut-away stabilizers tend to be hardier and made to withstand more stress. A tear-away stabilizer will dissolve over time from washing, which can pucker the embroidery designs. Check out this guide for choosing the correct stabilizer for your fabric!
Note: You may want to consider pre-shrinking your fabric, especially if you plan on washing the item regularly in the washer. Use warm water and be sure to wash it with like-colors. After drying on medium-high heat, your fabric should be as shrunk as it ever will be!
Washing and Drying
After you have completed your embroidery project (yay!) it is time to consider how to keep it beautiful, even after it has been washed.
You have two options for washing: hand wash or machine wash. Handwashing is the safest option, albeit time-consuming. If you prefer to machine wash, turn the item inside out if possible. Avoid washing with any other clothes that have zippers or metal clasps that could snag the embroidery.
You may be tempted to toss your embroidered items right into the dryer afterward, but it’s best to stick with air-drying on a flat surface, or tumble-dry on low.
If you are concerned about the thread color bleeding onto the fabric, simply wash and rinse the item in the sink with cold water. Continue rinsing to get out the excess color until the water runs clear.
Note: Never wring out your embroidered items or allow it to sit in water. This could cause the colors to bleed and stain the surrounding fabric. Not a pretty sight!
Ironing and Embroidery Storage
After drying, you can iron if necessary by turning the item inside out and placing a dry washcloth over the embroidered area. Iron on low without steam, otherwise the stabilizer may shrink and pucker the design.
When it is clean, dry, and ironed to perfection, it’s time to store your item away from sunlight (which can bleach the embroidery thread) or anything that could snag the design!