Some silk fabrics actually look better when washed, as dry cleaning can sometimes cause a garment to look dull. Silk fabrics typically soften when washed. If you want your silk to stay crisp, consider dry cleaning. Dry cleaning for silk fabric projects using intense colors should be considered even if all the fabrics used are know to be washable. Dry cleaned silk fabrics can and will shrink. As with washing, purchase additional yardage and pre-treat prior to cutting out. With some projects all the components may be washable including the fabric, interfacing, buttons and embellishments. However, if you have any concerns about the silk colors bleeding, the completed garment should be dry cleaned.
Launder silk fabric in a mild detergent or soap and avoid the use of harsh bleach and chemicals. Avoid excessive twisting, and wrinkling unless you are attempting to build in texture. Test your washing process on a swatch to determine if you prefer hand washing to machine washing. Rinse your silk fabric twice. In the first rinse add a small amount (¼ cup per gallon) of white vinegar to remove soap residue. The second rinse will remove the vinegar leaving your silk delightfully fresh. When laundering the completed garment, you may consider machine drying your silk fabric. If you do, remove it from the dryer while still slightly damp. Arrange on a hanger, smoothing as much as possible. This will reduce the amount of pressing needed. You may wish to press the garment while slightly damp.