Like you, one of the most frequent questions asked by our customers is "How much will the fabric shrink?". The answer will vary from fabric to fabric. In fact, honestly, there is no single answer. Here's why:
a. Is the fabric tight woven or loose woven?
b. How heavy is the fabric?
c. Hand wash or a home washing machine or a commercial laundry?
d. Hang dried in daylight or did you use the home dryer?
e. Single wash or multiple washes?
A good majority of our customers purchase our fabrics for a home use. To find an answer that will be acceptable to most of our customers, we decided to do a little test ourselves. This fabric shrinkage test simulates real life conditions. We took an unbleached, a fairly tight woven, light weight cotton sheeting fabric (about 4.5 oz/sq.yd) and cut the fabric into a couple of different sizes (sample#4 was sewn a little larger than the other four samples).
Then, we folded the edges about 1/4th of an inch and sew all around. After that, we washed them on a home washing machine using warm water using the regular wash cycle. After that the fabric was dried on the home dryer for about 60 minutes. The results were tabulated and compared.
Conclusion#1 : When the product is light weight, fairly tight woven and small in size, the average shrinkage is 9.45% in one direction and 10.23% in another direction.
Conclusion#2 : The same product, when the size is a little larger, the average shrinkage is 8.33% in one direction and 10.00% in another direction.
Please keep in mind that with multiple washings, the shrinkage can vary. Likewise, with heavier fabrics, the shrinkage could possibly be a little less.
But as a thumb rule, for light weight fabrics, it would be fair to expect an approximate 10% shrinkage. Please factor this when measuring your apron, tote bag or any other product which you intend to produce with our fabric.