How to Make Your Fabric Flat

It's important to start with flat fabric when you stitch. Make every effort to have it thus -before- you start to stitch. Waiting isn't going to make the flattening task easier! In fact, it will make it more difficult because you will want to be careful around your finished stitches. So, start with unwrinkled fabric rather than plan to take care of the problem during the final wash and iron phase of finishing.

Here are some ideas for starting off with flat fabric:


To stave off having to deal with this, buy fabric without folds, wrinkles, and creases.

You may have to gather your gumption and ask for a fresh cut from the bolt. The shop can sell the piece with folds in it to a less-discerning customer!

Avoid a piece that has the center fold from the bolt. This fold is put in when the fabric is folded lengthwise as it is being put on the bolt. This fold is almost impossible to remove.

If you have a big project, you won't be able to avoid it, but for other projects, ask your shop to cut you a new piece without the fold in it.


This is Granny's old wash-day trick brought to bear on a more interesting piece of ironing!

Wet the piece along the folds only. Slip it into a plastic bag so it can lie flat. (Try a dry cleaning bag for large pieces.) The reason for the plastic is so nothing gets on the fabric while it's in the freezer. Lay the piece as flat as possible - - as on a cookie sheet - - and freeze until solid.

Remove from freezer and immediately iron thawed-and-dry.

Watch carefully that you don't leave iron-marks from the edge of the iron in the fabric. It should be perfectly smooth.

Let rest overnight on the ironing before. Don't be anxious to move it!


I cannot vouch for this method, so you might want to try it on a scrap first. (The let me know if it worked so I can add that info here.)

Spritz along folds in fabric.

Microwave on high for 30 seconds.

Iron. Let cool before use.

Mounting Taut

Keeping your fabric taut as you work helps a lot, too. Put it in a scroll frame, stretcher framer, QSnap(TM), or hoop.

In Progress Storage

Be careful where you put your piece during stitch sessions. Keep it flat! On stretcher bars or a scroll frame, you need not remove your fabric after stitching. With hoops you must. With QSnaps(TM) it's a matter of preference.

copyright 1999, Martha Beth Lewis
Contact me about reprint permission.

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