How do you wash your handmade items?

Hello dear readers, 

Yesterday when I was dealing my hand wash laundry and wondered how other sewists deal with theirs.


I like washing all my handmade items by hand with exception my jersey dress and top as I wear them so often I would spend more time washing than wearing it lol.

I know most of my items could go in the washing machine but I prefer to be in the safe side. I also think save energy and water. Not very practical I admit but it’s an extra care I’m willing to take.

I did a small research on how to wash delicates in the washing machine and Good Housekeeping magazine recommends using a mesh bag and Catherine use a pillowcase. The magazine also recommends that ‘silk, satin, or chiffon are set on delicate, hand wash, or gentlest cycle, cold water, and a mild detergent like Woolite. Selecting the shortest spin cycle and dry items flat, away from sunlight.’


How you wash your handmade items?
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  • I use a mesh bag and cold water in the machine and then hang dry. Unless I’m feeling lazy or rushed then it might go in the dryer

  • Ever since we got the new washer and drying I’ve been beside myself with giddy. There’s a “hand wash” setting! THAT WORKS! There’s also a delicate and the dryer has a “steam fresh” setting too. So some of my dry-clean only I can spot clean and then throw in the dryer’s steam fresh and hang it up. VIOLA! Fresh clothes that look clean.

    I still actually hand wash all my stockings and delicate underthings, and my hand-sewn silk blouses. And I’m planning on making some wool clothes that will definitely be a professional dry-clean only.

  • My washer has a handwash setting so I no longer have to wash my pantyhose by hand! yay me!! All my handmade / delicate items get put on handwash cycle with Woolite and I hang dry them.

  • I am a mesh-bag fan, owning about 10 at least (in various sizes)! And a cold water-wash fan as well…

  • I cold water wash everything. My silks/chiffons are hand washed but everything else is in with my regular loads. I don’t use a tumble dryer so things are air dried in the shade πŸ™‚

  • I also use the handwash setting on my machine, I hate to handwash by hand! If is a jumper I save them up and dryclean them on a special deal 3 for whatever price

  • Anonymous

    It’s either handwash with Euclin or a mesh bag in the washer. It depends on the item. A few things, like PJs, go into the dryer too. Delicates get air dried on a hanger or on one of those mesh sweater dryers. I’m a (small) apartment-dweller, so not much choice.
    ~Jen (nyc)

  • Most of my handmades have been cotton so far so they all go in the machine… except for the ones that i LOVE then I handwash them πŸ™‚

  • I use a mesh bag in a cold wash too.
    If I’m being really careful, I really handwash them in the tub with a mild soap and then spin dry them.

  • I wash everything in the machine in warm water and big mixed loads, if it doesn’t survive the wash I don’t want it, lol. I suppose this is why I like to finish the insides so securely with all my handmade clothes because I’m pretty rough on them when they’re made up. I do dry them all on the line, it’s pretty rare that ill use the dryer for my clothes

  • I always wash my fabrics in the washing machine before I sew, so it gives me an idea if the fabrics will be ok in the washer, so confess that unless it was something special like silk or 100% wool etc it goes in the machine.

  • I wash my silk by hand, but cottons and the more robust fabric goes into the machine, with a gentle, home-made detergent. I am planning on making some mesh bags (they are so expensive in NZ) to put all of my home-made garments in, one per bag, to protect my lovely buttons etc. when they are in the machine.

  • I wash almost everything in the machine. Sometimes I need to wait a bit longer to fill the machine as I wouldn’t want to spin it just for one dress. Modern fabrics are pretty durable and modern machines have such great programs for different types of laundry. Sometimes machine wash can even be gentler than hand wash, especially if you tend to twist and rub. I only wash my vintage wools by hand by just letting them soak in the gall soap or Marseille soap water as I don’t know how they would react with modern detergents. I never use a dryer though as it wears out the textiles a lot faster.

  • I wash almost everything in the machine, but on the cold wash gentle setting. I then either put dresses on a hanger and hang on the door to dry (a trick I learned from my mum, it reduces creasing) or flat dry things.

  • I’m naughty. Everything goes into the machine. I do change the cycle depending on the garments being washed, I usually use cold water and for wool, a wool wash detergent.

  • I always pre-wash my fabrics, then after making up they all hit the washing machine. Silks & wools are treated a little differently, I hand wash the silks the first couple of times, then they go into the washer on a handwash 20 degree C cycle. Wools will depend on how the fabric reacted to the water test. So some go into the washer on a wool cycle, others need the attention of the dry cleaner. I never tumble dry “proper” clothes. πŸ˜€

  • I use my gentle cycle on the washing machine for most of my items..But, the better quality fabric ones, I handwash and hang out to dry..

  • i wash on cold, delicate, and lay flat or hang to dry– but i never ever put silk in the wash. one day i’d love to have one of those crazy fancy machines with a steam setting and all that, maybe i’d try a silk wash then…

  • I do all my laundry the same way (delicates, wool, cotton, handmade or shop bought): gentle, cold, handwash setting, short spin, then drip dry (or flat dry for woollens). so far, has worked for me! I only tumble dry pyjamas and bed linen. I do dryclean some things (eg coats). but pretty much everything else goes in the machine. I don’t own silk though… perhaps I’d treat that differently (but it almost seems like too much extra work!).

  • Nicky

    Chuck everything in the machine at 30 degrees with long spin. Don’t tumble dry anything and if it doesn’t survive I’ll never wear it because I hate hand washing (and it takes up sewing time) and 80% of my wardrobe is handmade so it’s impractical for me. So far everything has survived!

  • I love my “handwash” cycle on my machine, but recently washed my wool/cashmere coat by soaking it in hand hot water in the bath and drying it flat. I do hate dry cleaning!

  • I’m so impressed by your tips that I’m going to try washing mine differently. Thanks darlings ��

  • My washing machine washes only on cold water, so that’s resolved. Depending on the fabric I’d use normal or delicate settings. I never use driers because I think they damage garments more than anything else.

  • I wash pretty much everything in the machine. I use A LOT of mesh bags πŸ™‚

  • One day Martha Stewart had a “laundress” on her show and she spent a lot of time with her on hand washing fine silks and sweaters. I’ve been doing it her way ever since. There’s a tute on my blog on how to. Hope it helps.

  • I handwash everything except for knits and a couple of cotton tees that are French seamed so they couldn’t possibly fray. It’s kind of a pain in the butt, but it’s better than having something get damaged in the washing machine.

  • Everything gets a machine pre-wash and dry before I cut the fabric, so I know how it will do as a garment. I haven’t sewn silk in ages, but will share that I have routinely machine washed silk blouses in a mesh bag, tumbled almost dry out of the bag out of the bag – it softens the fabric so much. But not with anything else in the dryer to damage the silk!
    I wash garments with buttons inside out to protect the buttons. A lot of my cotton knit tops and dresses, and linen blends, get hung to dry, to extend their lives :-)Lingerie is washed in the machine in mesh bags, but also hung to dry. I’m fortunate to have a long rack from which to hang garments to dry in my laundry area.

  • I was them just as I would if it were a RTW item – so most items go in the washing machine, on a ‘synthetics’ cycle on cold (or sometimes 30 degrees). cotton stuff then sometimes goes in the dryer (eg pyjamas), but i dry most of my clothes (self made or otherwise) on clothes racks anyway. The only exception is my silk portrait blouse, that will be/is hand washed – and that’s why it’s been sat in my dirty laundry basket for aaaages now

  • since i have a lot of handmade clothes i tend to wash a lot at once which is nice so i don’t have to divide all my clothes into lots of different cycles. i just wash (mostly inside out) in cold water, cottons and linens on a medium setting on a short cycle or for silks or rayons or other really delicate things i’ll do the delicate or handwash setting on cold. i never hand wash anything, mostly because i’ve learned not to make things that need to be hand washed because i know i’d never hand wash them.

    i have one coat that i get dry cleaned once a season (it’s not worn enough to get dirty).

    everything is hung dry because i don’t have a working dryer. even if i did, all but cottons would go in the dryer and even then only for a little while then i’d take them out and hang dry the rest of the way.

    also, once i read that liquid fabric softeners slowly degrade the fabric fibers i got a little paranoid and stopped using it, or only used a tiny bit. i’m not sure how true that is, though.

    i’ve never had any problems except with one shirt that bleeds color every single time i wash it. πŸ™