|Rolling, rolling, rolling, get those rollers rolling....|
Now that I've dangled that in your face, I do need help with a fabric. Since my kitchen walls are in avocado green and a french-vanilla-y ivory, I wanted the curtains to provide colorful contrast and another cue to the era. Yes, I'm about to get out my sewing machine.
I picked up several yards of vintage fabric from Etsy that I love:
Bright and rich patterns that mimicked crewel work were popular in decor fabrics from the 1960s and 70s, and this fabric is no exception. It's large scale too. The largest flower motifs range in size from 4 inches to six inches across, and they're grouped in even larger clusters. I love that this fabric is unapologetically colorful-- orange, yellow, mustard, bittersweet, green, avocado, brown, tan, ivory, periwinkle blue-- there's a lot going on up in here.
This is an upholstery or heavy drapery panel fabric in a wool and nylon blend weave. The selvage edge printing says it's made by Cohama Fabric and the pattern is called "Bradford." It also says it's "Scotchguard treated."
Therein lies my dilemma. Do I pre-wash this fabric, or not?
Arguments in favor:
1. Conventional sewing wisdom says you always wash fabric before making something, so the fabric doesn't pull, pucker, or shrink along seams later.
2. I tend to favor washable curtains in any room where life is going to get dirty, like kitchens, bathrooms, and kid's bedrooms.
3. Washing would help get rid of a slight stale odor.
1. If I wash the fabric, it removes the Scotchguard protection, which considering it's planned location in the kitchen, is a plus.
2. It's wool AND vintage, both of which makes this unpredictable as far as washing will go. Could I stand it if I wrecked it? I'm not sure. I'd be out about $50 and have to start over again searching for fabric.
3. It's huge. Wool is heavy when wet, and this is 4 yards of 72-inch wide fabric. "Handwash in cold water," the preferred method for washing vintage wool, would be almost impossible.
My instincts say NO, don't wash this fabric. The curtains would be in the eat-in area of the kitchen, away from the "business end" of the appliances. There are home dry-clean kits, Febreze, vacuuming, and other ways to freshen these curtains without running the risk of of ruining vintage wool fabric. The weave is such that I'm afraid fibers would pill and fuzz with washing.
But that instinct is warring a bit with my genetic German hausfrau, who insists that every surface in a home be washable, scrubbable, and if possible bleachable.
Which way would you go?