Does Voile Fabric Shrink? (Explained)

When working with fabric, it is vital to know just how the piece of cloth you selected will behave, especially if it will shrink.

When it comes to shrinking, can voile fabric shink easily?

So, before you jump in to make the first cut, here is how you should be treating voile while working with this sometimes temperamental fabric so that you can have success:

Here’s Why Voile Fabric Shrinks:

You can expect a moderate amount of shrinking when working with voile fabric. Because voile is a delicate fabric, it can shrink when exposed to high heat, especially heat paired with moisture. You can wash your voile fabric in the mashing machine, but you can only do so in a low-temperature setting.

What is Voile Fabric Made of?

Voile fabric is made from cotton and is woven together to be a lightweight, and often-times, sheer fabric to work with.

While it is made from cotton, it is not 100% cotton-woven fabric. Along with cotton, voile is blended with linen or synthetic materials like polyester. Voile is also often compared to muslin, tulle, and even lace.

This has nothing to do with the overall design and feel of the fabric but more with the functionality of voile.

While voile fabric can sometimes be difficult to work with, people still prefer it for their more delicate projects. While the fabric is on the sheer side, it still has a fairly high thread count.

Because of the high thread count, you can use voile in many different ways due to its overall stability. It is durable yet gentle and flexible, making it a great choice for garments and household textiles.

Does Voile Fabric Shrink When Washed/Dried?

Voile fabric can be washed in a washing machine like most other fabrics and will hold its shape without shrinking, but there are certain rules you have to follow.

Because voile is a delicate fabric, it can shrink when exposed to high heat, especially heat paired with moisture. This means that you can wash your voile fabric in the mashing machine, but you can only do so in a low-temperature setting.

The highest water temperature you should use is lukewarm to keep the fabric from shrinking. Anything higher will cause your fabric to shrink and lose its shape.

Voile fabric can shink and even pillow when dried in a dryer if you are not careful enough. If you plan to dry voile fabric, do so only with the lowest heat setting and tumble for a limited time.

This fabric can react differently depending on how it is treated, so to be safe, only dry it in the dryer in intervals to ensure the fabric stays intact. The best bet is only to hang dry if you worry about shrinking your precious voile garments!

However, you should note that shrinking isn’t the only thing to worry about when using a washer and a dryer for voile fabrics. The other downside of washing your fabric this way is that you can expect colors to bleed easily.

This has a lot to do with the cotton and synthetic fabrics that voile is made from.

How Should You Care for Voile Fabric?

Since voile fabric is often compared to other sensitive fabrics like chiffon, it must be cared for delicately to maintain its structure.

However, it isn’t impossible since voile fabric is also known to be fairly low-maintenance. The first thing to note is what type of voile fabric you have, especially when it comes to the way it was dyed. White and lighter-colored voile fabrics, like pastel, need much less care and attention than brighter and bolder colors.

Color Bleeding:

The first thing to remember is that voile fabric can bleed when it comes to color.

The number one way to care for voila fabric is to only use low heat while washing and drying. Not only will this cause colors to fade, but it will also shrink the fabric and could make it unusable.

You only need to be careful the first time washing and drying the garment. After that, you should have a better idea about how that particular piece will react to heat.

However, drying isn’t the only way to expose this fabric to heat. Since it is a delicate fabric, it can crease easily, so you will have to iron it.


While ironing, be sure only to use the lowest heat setting and only pass over the fabric for a limited amount of time. I like to use to barrier method while ironing voile fabric.

You can do this by placing a towel between the fabric and the iron.

This will reduce the amount of heat used, but it will protect the fabric from burning caused by too many iron passes.

Hand Stretching:

While caring for voile fabric, the last thing to note is that you may need to “hand stretch” the fabric to restore it to its preferred shape and structure. This is especially true if you plan to skip the dryer and want to dry the fabric.

After removing the garment from the washing machine, let it hang dry for a short time. While the fabric is still damp, gently pull the stretch of the fabric both length and width-wise.

This will ensure that the garment will dry to the correct shape without extra shrinkage.

Can Rain shrink Voile Fabric?

Nothing is worse than getting trapped in the rain while wearing such a delicate type of fabric like voile.

However, you should be comforted in knowing that the fabric will not shrink simply from the rain. While voile fabric can shrink when wet, the temperature of the water has to be above lukewarm. Rain is not typically hot water falling from the sky.

So, while it is frustrating to get your garment wet, you won’t have to worry about shrinking.

However, when getting stuck in the rain, other concerns come into play regarding voile fabric. The number one characteristic of voile fabric is that it is mostly cotton. While many different fabrics are meant for dress design work to wick away moisture, cotton does the exact opposite.

Cotton works to absorb moisture and can hold it in the weaves. This can make the garment feel heavy and uncomfortable when wet.

Along with the fabric feeling heavy, it can make you feel overheated when wet. Even though voile fabric is lightweight and breathable, those fibers tighten up once it gets wet, making it hard for air to pass through the weaving.

The last disadvantage of water being absorbed into voile fabric is that it will start to wrinkle almost immediately. Creasing is common for cotton-type fabrics once they are introduced to moisture.

Knowing what to expect from a piece of fabric when wet is a great way to know how to care for it better in the future.

Are Voile Curtains Good for Open Windows?

Because voile fabric is lightweight, it’s a great option for curtains.

This is especially true if you live in warmer areas where you leave the windows open. Having a cool, steady breeze will elevate your quality of life and help keep your heating and cooling costs low when you live in this environment.

Voile curtains are also a great option for those looking to get some extra needed privacy for their home while allowing for air to flow. While this fabric is considered sheer, the cotton’s weight works to block some light.

However, voile curtains are certainly not perfect for every home. This is especially true if you live in an area that feels the full force of every season.

One important thing to note is how much moisture comes in and out of your windows when they are open. As mentioned before, voile fabric will behave differently when exposed to water.

So, if you have voile curtains, make sure to close the windows if there is rain. This is also true for those days when the moisture in the air is elevated!

The last thing to keep in mind when it comes to voile curtains with an open window is that while they offer some privacy, they won’t completely block out the sun. Curtains are not only meant to give privacy but are also there to protect your flooring and furniture from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Since voile fabric is mostly sheer, it will not protect your home.

Most people prefer to use voile curtains combined with a heavier curtain to ensure that all the bases are covered. This is the best of both worlds. You can get the easy, breezy feel from a sheer curtain and the protection from a heavier curtain like polyester.

Final Thoughts

Voile fabric, while delicate, is such an amazing versatile fabric.

Even though you can mainly find it in women’s clothing like nightgowns, lingerie, and even lightweight blouses, there are many different uses.

I like to compare it mostly to lace. They are both delicate and sheer by nature and add a certain stylish element.

While voile remains a favorite among women and designers, it’s also a great addition to any home textile. Whether you are looking to lighten up your curtains or on the hunt for a great table runner, voile has got your home covered.

However, you have to take some of the bad with the good. Knowing how to care for your voile fabrics properly will make all the difference in how long it lasts and prevent damage.

Since it is a cotton-type fabric, care is especially important for preventing shrinkage. However, as long as you stay true to the heat rules and how to treat it when wet, the rest should be a piece of cake.

Reference Links:


The Disadvantages of Cotton Voile