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Thread: I'm confused- Wash the fabric or not?

  1. #1
    imjustme's Avatar
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    I have read alot of post but they say different things about washing the fabric. Some say they wash before they start a project. Some say they wash and iron then put away. Some say they don't wash until the quilt has been made. Some say they only wash red fabric. What do you do and why?
    thanks

  2. #2
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    i only wash the fabric when i'm going to use it.

    the fabric is treated to prevent mold and fading so i prefer to leave the fabric "as is" until i've decided to put it in a quilt.

    once i decide to wash it - i snip the corners off the selvage ends and i place the fabric in a pillow case and tie it shut. then i throw it in the machine to be washed.

    then i take the fabric out of the pillow case and put it in the dryer to dry.

    when thats done i hang the fabric on a clothes line and spray it all over with heavy spray starch. i have a clothes line in my sewing room that span the entire length of the room.

    i let it soak in for a few moments and then i iron the fabric.

    now its ready to be cut and used for quilting.


  3. #3
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    Yeah, you've read so much you're confused, right? :?

    It seems to boil down to a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer to not wash so that once washed as a finished quilt, it will develop that "heritage" look.
    Others will not wash because it will be a wall hanging and not subject to use.

    I prefer to pre-wash. My method has never been as thorough as KLue's, and from this point forward I will be following her advice. Maybe not [/i]all[i] that starch, though. I kind of like a softer feel.

  4. #4
    Super Member Blue Bell's Avatar
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    Klue,
    I didn't know that fabric is treated to prevent mold and fading. I wish I had known, I would have waited to wash just before using it.
    Clueless Blue Bell (LOL)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Bell
    Klue,
    I didn't know that fabric is treated to prevent mold and fading. I wish I had known, I would have waited to wash just before using it.
    Clueless Blue Bell (LOL)
    yes but sadly the formula was changed about a decade or so ago so the fade resistance is not what it used to be - so please keep all fabric away from all sunlight until you decide to use it.

    a friend of mine lost 2 tubs of fabric because they were clear and the sunlight hit them everyday in her sewing room.

  6. #6
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    Welcome to the board, from Texas. I think this is a matter of preference and indoctrination.

    I don't wash fabric before I use it. Probably because that is the way I was taught. The quilter who taught me, and then became a dear friend is a professional who has made commission quilts and has owned her own business doesn't and told me it wasn't necessary. With a few caveats. Most dyes today are much more stable than they used to be, and the fabric can safely be washed in cold water without any problems. The exceptions are the dark/deep browns and reds. Test them first. The second is that I am a "traditional" quilter, and really like the slightly puckered heirloom look. I have never had a problem with any of the quilts I've made, pretty much all of which have been washed on a semi-regular basis. If I were as talented as KLue, and made the kind of gorgeous art quilts she does, I would follow her directions.

    Also, I've found that the sizing in the fabric helps stabilize it which is helpful when you are working with bias edges.

    And finally, I buy more yardage than fat quarters, and have been known to buy a whole bolt of a fabric if I really fall in love with it. My usual minimum is two yards! LOL. And I am really waaay too lazy to wash and iron that much yardage. I'd spend all my free time washing and ironing. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

  7. #7
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I agree with Gaigai in that it is a matter of personal preference. I prewash and iron everything but I do it almost as soon as I get it. I have a dresser in my sewing room that contains my stash so no worries about fading.
    I do it simply because I prefer the feel of prewashed fabric when working with it. The puckered heirloom look can be acheived with cotton batting or a cotton/poly blend like heirloom. It will shrink slightly after the quilt is completed and washed giving that puckered heirloom look.

    FF

  8. #8
    farscapegal
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    I wash all of my fabric as soon as I get it home. A habit from years of making clothes I guess. If you make you something to wear and don't wash the fabric first and it shrinks, you are not a happy camper. So for me it is just habit.

    Sybil

  9. #9
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
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    Some I wash, some I don't.
    I do, however, wash all quilts before I give them away.

  10. #10
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    I wash mine before it goes into the stash or gets used. I had an early (1980s) unfortunate episode with a burgundy running on me after it had been washed, It just takes one bad experience to make you learn. Even with today's fabrics, you find horror stories posted here at least once a month. or two.

    Lately, I've been working in orange and noticed the wash water had some dye in it. You can't always tell until it's too late. If you wash a quilt that was not made of pre-washed fabric, you risk puckering if the fabrics shrink at different rates.

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