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Thread: Mixing fabrics

  1. #1
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    Mixing fabrics

    Hello! Pam from Homer, Alaska and this is my first post, but I have been lurking and learning for quite a while. I started quilting about 15 years ago, made three quilts and LOVED it. But, I got caught up in a very demanding job that took up all my time and energy for quite a while, but I just set the quilting aside, never gave up on it. I now am semi retired and ready to quilt again! I have hauled my fabric stash around with me for 15 years, and of course added to it. I have some fabrics that are obviously prewashed and some that are obviously not prewashed. I have some that I am not quite sure.

    What is going to happen if I mix prewashed and unnwashed fabrics in a quilt? Have any of you done that? Was it a disaster? Was it no big deal? Please let me know. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Member charsuewilson's Avatar
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    I have mixed washed and non-washed fabrics in the same quilt. I haven't had any problems. But I'm sure there are some people who have had problems. If you're buying pre-cuts, or fat quarters, you can't really wash them. The most that I would expect is for some wrinkling at the quilt stitching lines. But that would just add to the charm of the quilt.

    There would be more of a problem with cheap flannel. I would probably wash that before quilting.

  3. #3
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    Hi from Germany! I don't trust fabric that's not washed, especially batik fabrics, they tend to run. So I prewash ALL the fabric I drag home - just imagine you put an unwashed red fabric in a red and white quilt and the red runs! I would call that a catastrophe! And there are also fabrics that shrink! I taught beginning patchwork for 19 years and I made all my students prewash their fabric. I know a lot of quilters don't prewash - but I feel it is better to be safe than sorry!
    Have fun! Greetings from - finally sunny - Tyrol!
    Oh and should you have fabrics in your stash that are a mix of cotton and polyester - it is no myth that the batting, if you use poly batting, works through those fabrics!
    UFM

  4. #4
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    It really depends on the fabric.

    After the hard work and hours put into making a quilt, I would much rather be safe than sorry.
    Washing fabric is my first step in making a quilt. I love handling the material and seeing it floating on the breeze line while drying.
    it is part of my whole experience of quilting.

    Welcome to the QB from E Pa.
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  5. #5
    Senior Member sew4nin's Avatar
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    I used to wash everything before I sewed it. A good friend of mine told me that she never washes first and doesn't have any problem. I no longer wash my fabric before I use it. I still have lots of fabric in my stash that was washed. At first I was afraid to use washed and unwashed in the same quilt. I finally got the nerve to try mixing them. I have been mixing the washed with the unwashed stuff for a few years now and haven't had a problem. I always use a color catcher.

  6. #6
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    Generally I wash everything first. But with pre-cuts I don't bother. I also do a BOM at my LQS where they give you tiny bits at times...don't pre-wash those either. And with those, I end up also buying yardage for sashing/backing/whatever. In those cases I don't pre-wash and so far have been very lucky. I've also pre-washed and still had issues...ya just never know! I think it's the batting that really determines how much shrinkage you're going to get with your quilt as long as you are using consistently good-quality fabric. If you're mixing good and lesser quality fabrics I think that's where you'd run into more of an issue with varying shrinkage rates.

  7. #7
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    I don't wash my fabrics. I've never had a problem. I do remind everyone who receives a quilt to use color catchers and usually give them a box since it seems like not many people know what they are.

  8. #8
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    i do it probably with every quilt i make- i've never had it cause a problem- If i'm using a fabric (like a deep saturated color) or red i do check to make sure it's not going to run- if a fabric feels funky or smells funky i wash it- if that's not a problem i don't bother- if it's flannel (and not an all flannel quilt) i do pre-wash flannels since they do shrink more than regular cottons- but i've made great quilts that have calico's, batiks, flannels, solids and even felted wools, corduroy or velveteen all in the same quilt- when it's all done, quilted & bound i wash them---they have all lived through it- and made people very happy, won a few ribbons/prizes & brought me in some pretty good $$.
    i pretty much only worry about colors running, or funky smells/feels. I think people can sometimes really get themselves 'caught up' in all the worries...what is the worst that could possibly happen? since backing and batting play just as much of a roll in shrinkage as the top fabrics... i have never had a quilt shrink in a (wonky) way- where one block did & the next didn't...i wash all of my finished quilts & i dry them generally in a normal cycle of the machines...even the wool ones. (the wools are pre-washed mainly because i felt them all so i can cut them up & use them how ever i want- so they are totally wash/dryable when done i often use flannels for background squares with wool appliques- that flannel is prewashed (most of the time)
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  9. #9
    DJ
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    Super Member DJ's Avatar
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    Greetings and welcome! I don't know the answer, but wanted to let you know that my DD and DSIL moved to Anchorage about a year ago. DSIL was raised in Homer and they love to spend weekends there when they can. DSIL's DBro now lives in Homer, and his parents have purchased property that they plan to build a home on. We will probably visit there one of these years. How long have you lived there.

    Happy quilting!
    DJ_____________________

  10. #10
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    Thanks to everyone for taking the time to give your input! I am happy to hear that it probably won't cause a problem, almost all of my quilting fabrics are quilt shop quality, so I will probably will take the chance and mix them. I'll make sure to prewash batiks, flannels and probably many reds.

    DJ, I have been in Alaska for almost 10 years and Homer for three years. Do come visit when you get the chance, I consider myself sooo lucky to live here. It is so beautiful sometimes it almost hurts your eyes to look at it!

    And...yes, there is a LQS here

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