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Thread: Need some fabric prep advise...

  1. #1
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    Need some fabric prep advise...

    Hello Ladies..

    I've been having two different issues that have really been causing some disappointment in the final result of some of my quilts. I am assuming that they are related to fabric preparation and wanted to get some ideas of what you think..

    First issue is around the finished appearance of my quilt projects. Even if I wash my quilt fabrics before a project I like to do a final wash of a quilt once it is complete. Do you all do that? When I do, the quilt tends to come out of the drier all bunched up.. hard to describe, but just not smooth. Sometimes I can run an iron over it but most times it is just the way it is.. I'm wondering if it is the thread I use.. cotton vs poly or would I maybe have better luck with monofilament?

    Second issue I am having is some fabrics bleed color into my lighter fabrics even if I pre-wash them. For example, I just put a quilt together this week with a sold red back. I washed the red fabric before I used it but didn't realize that washing it only once wouldn't do the trick. My project was together and long-arm quilted and then I washed it and was heartbroken. Luckily I didn't dry it and re-washed it with color safe bleach and those color catchers and was able to rescue it... but I'll tell ya.. it took about 6 washes to get the color catchers to stop coming out pink and before I dared dry it.

    What am I missing here? What process do you all use to pre-treat your darker fabrics? and why all the bunching do ya think?

    Thanks!
    Kim

  2. #2
    Senior Member lindy-2's Avatar
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    bunching is probly from your batting if your using a batting that has wool or cotton it will shrink a bit i personaly like the crinkled look but if you dont i would use only straigh polyester batting. and the bleeding i havent had much problem with. newer better LQS fabrics tend not to bleed but you can get a product called retayne to stop fabric bleeding. hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    if you prefer not to have the 'bunched' look with your quilt, then dry it until just damp and 'block' it/lay it out flat to dry. it gives a better look. sorry to hear of your bleeding incident, but it looks like you knew the right thing to do for that... whew!
    Nancy in western NY

  4. #4
    Super Member Rumbols's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about all your troubles, but glad that you saved the quilt. What could be happening is the batting is shrinking causing the fabric to pucker. I personally like this look for my quilts as it give them the old fashion look. If you want the batting to not shrink, read the batting directions and wash/dry the batting before putting the quilt together.

    For my quilts, I pre-wash the fabric and if it bleeds, re-wash until color catchers are clear. Once I get the quilt together and quilted, I wash the quilt twice in cold water withour soap to remove all markings. Then I have the final wash in warm water with soap and fabric softener. After all three washes, then I put the quilt in the drier.

    I have bad eye sight and tend to mark the quilt top with a darker marker than most quilters. Hense, I was the marks out first using cold water. Been doing this for fifteen years with no problems.

    Hope this helps. And good luck with any future quilts.

  5. #5
    Super Member gramajo's Avatar
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    Try using Retayne when you prewash your fabrics. It should help with the bleeding.

  6. #6
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    What type of batting are you using? If you don't want the "crinkled" look, you need to use polyester batting or pre-shrink cotton batting (research this before you actually do it to make sure you choose the right type of cotton batting and use the correct technique). Thread type is unlikely to be an issue but, to be sure, you can switch to a polyester thread. Polyester does not shrink.

    The first wash of any quilt should be done with Synthrapol and *lots* of water. Synthrapol suspends unset dye particles in water so they rinse away instead of settling into other fabrics. If you have a domestic front loader, it does *not* use enough water to allow the Synthrapol to work. In that case you want to go to a laundromat for a first wash. Synthrapol can also be used to remove unset bleeds. It is similar to color catchers, but stronger.

  7. #7
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    Thank you lindy-2.. I honestly didn't even think of that.. I do use cotton batting and when I went back to the package and read it it does say to avoid shrinkage pre-wash.. I have always liked the look of 1/4" batting. I really only use poly batting when I want a fluffy, high loft finished result. Today I went and purchased lower loft poly batting and will use that for my next two projects.. I'm willing to bet that makes a huge difference!! Thank you for that suggestion!

    K

  8. #8
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    Thank you very much.. I had not known of these types of products, Retayne and Synthrapol... I plan on buying both and doing some testing with dark color cottons.

    I'm very thankful for all you ladies who have so much more experience than I do!!
    Thanks!!
    Kim

  9. #9
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    I agree with all the others that it's the batting shrinkage that is causing your 'bunching' in the dryer. Either pre-wash it as well or switch to a poly batt. And I've had the same issue with having a pre-washed fabric continue to bleed. Mine was a green fabric and was equally disasterous. Went through the same process you did. I don't normally use color catchers or any other products (except normal laundry detergent) when I pre-wash. If I find something that bleeds, then I'll do another wash with the color catchers until it stops but generally don't have the issue. Red is a notorious bleeder, though.

  10. #10
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    The board has had many discusions about bleeding fabrics. It might be helpful for you to check them out. I check all colored fabrics for bleeding and use Retayne to set the dye when necessary (which is frequently).

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