Don’t do this step and you risk RUINING your end product.
You may have never thought about this step but its’ absolutely crucial to a good finished product if you are dyeing or printing fabric. I have in the past tried to get away without doing this and sadly when it comes time to wash my product for the first time the pigment washes out in spots or fades unevenly. This is because all new fabric has been treated with sizing and finishes before it gets to you. You need to wash your fabric in order to get this sizing off otherwise it can and most likely will resist the pigment bond or cause your dyes to unevenly penetrate the fabric. There are two ways to get rid of the sizing in fabric, the official ‘right way’ and then the way that most of us do it. You can do it either way but the ‘right way’ usually requires a large studio where you have a access to large pot to wash the fabric in. I don’t, so I prepare my fabric in my washing machine.
You can buy ready to print fabric and some printers do but it costs more and generally only comes in white or natural colours. But if you don’t have a place to wash out your fabric or the time (and time is money!) then it’s another option.
Fabric.com offers a dye ready fabric called KONA Ready Dye White at a decent price. So check that out as an option too.
The Right Way to Prepare your Fabric:
Boil material for 30-45 minutes in a solution containing 3 teaspoons Lissapol (soap) per 8 litres of water. Raise the temperature to 76 degrees celsius. (40 degrees maximum for silk and wool).
Remove the fabric from the bath and rinse carefully and dry. It’s a good idea to iron it out while it is still a bit damp.
My Way of Preparing My Fabric:
Wash in your washing machine in hot water with a detergent that is free from dyes, perfumes, and softeners. Repeat with one more washing then dry in your dryer. Removing fabric when it’s still a bit damp and press it.
BIG TIP: Sew the edges of your fabric before you wash it. You can use a a simple straight stitch. This will avoid massive fraying and tangling of your fabric. It can be quite a task to sew the edge of multiple meters of fabric but trust me it’s far better than trying to untangle 20m. of fabric.
Good luck and happy printing!