How to Hand Wash Your Stitching

If you have a delicate project to clean, follow these steps for an effective but gentle wash.

1. You should always wash your work by hand like this, rather than using a washing machine, if you design uses any specialist or non-colourfast threads, or if it includes embellishments. Don't be tempted to use detergent when washing your design - some commercial cold water washes for delicate fabrics can cause thread dyes to run. Instead, use a little mild washing-up liquid in a bowl of lukewarm water. Swish the fabric around gently in the bowl - never rub it.
2. Rinse your stitching gently in several bowls of lukewarm water until the suds have all run out. You will have to run fresh bowls to ensure that all the soap has gone. Your threads shouldn't be affected at these low temperatures, but if any of them do run, don't worry! Simply soak the stitching straight away in lukewarm water. Change the water every two hours until the excess dye has gone completely.

3. Remove excess moisture by rolling your work in a towel - never wring it. If the fabric is at all distorted after washing, stretch it back into shape by ‘blocking' it - attach the corners of the damp fabric to a soft board with drawing pins, pulling the fabric into shape as you go. Ten pin the center point of each side, and pin the edges at regular intervals. Leave to dry. Iron your work face down with a thin cloth over the top of it.

Most small projects won't need washing, however, large designs take a long time to complete, will benefit from a quick clean.