You just got your brand new canvas and it is so smooth and nicely packaged. The last thing you want to do is throw it in the washing machine! In my slip cover video I used preshrunk 10 oz canvas, so I was happy to skip the washing and dive right in to cutting and sewing. When working with the standard 10 oz canvas in natural I expect it to shrink 12-15% after it’s washed and dried. The dyed canvas shrinks a little less, usually about 8%. It is crucial always factor that in when calculating yardage.
So, here you have somewhere in the ballpark of 10 yards or so, give or take depending on your project that needs to go in the washing machine. I usually coil the yardage around evenly in the washer and run TWO wash cycles with warm water, so that the washing fully penetrates the cotton fibers. If you are using our Army Duck, first of all congratulations it makes amazing slipcovers, secondly it will take two cycles just to get the fabric wet! I prefer to dry my canvas on a high heat. I think some people disagree and prefer air dry, but allowing the canvas to dry on high heat should shrink the fabric as much as it will ever shrink. That is a good feeling to have before investing hours of time into a sewing project.
Removing the canvas from the dryer you will notice a tighter weave and softer texture than before. If you choose another drying method your fabric will be more wrinkled and you will require the use of a high pressure steamer iron. It is always great to have a nice iron handy during sewing projects anyway! If you have figured out a great way to handle pre-washing we would love to hear about it.