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Thread: Pre-wash or not, that is the question...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Butterfli19's Avatar
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    Which do you do, and why? I generally don't pre-wash because I'm too excited to sew. What I don't like is after it is washed it has that crinkled look.

    I'm going to pre-wash, dry, and iron my recent purchase to see the difference. Those of you who do pre-wash, do you starch when you iron?

    So ladies, which is your preference?

  2. #2
    BlueChicken's Avatar
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    I don't at all.

    The only time I have is when a piece was badly creased and ironing wouldn't get rid of it. Since then, I've learned the "mist with water and chuck in the dryer" method, which is much quicker!

    I should add though, the fabrics we get here are expensive but are excellent quality. If I was buying cheaper fabrics with strong colours I'd probably think about it a little more.

  3. #3
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    i only pre-wash fabric that will be used in a quilt that is meant to be used and washed repeatedly.

    if its a wall hanging or art quilt i won't pre-wash but i do steam press the fabric when i iron it.

    if the fabric has gold paint on it (mainly asian/japanese quilt fabric) i won't wash it because i've had it turn green and in some cases wash completely away.

    i only use spray starch for more structured projects like handbags and clothing.

  4. #4
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    I only wash first if I think the fabric might bleed (reds, blues, brights, etc.) and the end product will be used a lot.

    I, too, hate to iron fabric after it's been in the dryer. I like to use Mary Ellen's Best Press, which is a light starch. That stuff will take out all the wrinkles and fold lines, etc. I'm already on my second bottle of this stuff... :-) :-)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Missi's Avatar
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    You will find many many threads on this question if you do a search with just as many opinions. I myself am a prewasher - learned the hard way with shrinkage. The fabric comes home from the store and goes in the laundry pile. If you take it right out of the dryer you can avoid all the wrinkles. I prewash not only due to fear of colors running, but mainly due to shrinkage. Different brands will shrink differently and when sewn together you can have a mess.


    For the Round Robins we have to prewash, and I was discussing this with my LQS owner when I was buying my fabric for round 4. She won a beautiful quilt in a raffle from a shop hop (you know it was quilt shop material) and long story short had to wash it. It has lots of little pieces and all different colors. She threw in five color catchers. When she removed the quilt from the wash many of the colors had ran. Pulled it from the dryer and the smaller pieces had shrank and with the quilting on them were unrecognizable. The was ruined! Had the fabric been prewashed she would still have the quilt.

  6. #6
    BlueChicken's Avatar
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    I've never had anything shrink, and have never heard anyone but you guys mention it. It can't just be the country of origin, we get our fabrics from the same place I would think.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Butterfli19's Avatar
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    I just did some googling and one said that your fabric thread counts may differ, therefore, if you don't pre-wash shrinkage of the various fabrics will also differ. Also, if you use muslin for a backing which doesn't match the fabrics thread count, the muslin may shrink more. And, you can pre-wash the fabric but don't forget about the cotton batting because that will shrink, giving it the antique look.

    I'm going to wash some fabric and batting and iron with starch. I'll make something simple then wash that, and see the difference. I just have to know. Funny thing, I never thought about pre-washing the batting...

  8. #8
    Junior Member Ethel A's Avatar
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    Doesn't it depend on the batting you will use, also? Even if I've prewashed my fabrics (for fear of bleeding) there will be some 'shrinking' due to the cotton batting I've used. It's sometimes inevitable, don't you think?

    I've been told NOT to pre-wash batting. I can't remember why..... just that it was not a good idea to do so. I think it might have something to do with the batting falling apart if you let it go through a top-loading machine (the agitator will pull it apart).

  9. #9

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    Butterfli...I do not prewash!! I know I should duck for if my mother could hear me I'd surely be ducking from what she's tossing at me!LOL I love the crisp feel of the new...I love the old quilts,etc. Now, if it is a 'red'...I will prewash or if I inherit something from another place...I will. That is it. I don't care of the fear of chemicals for my house is surely loaded as it is. I have washed quilts after and they come out great. So, here's the hoopla....it is by choice. No right or wrong...just preference. I've never had any shrink later in the wash with me crying over it at the end of the story:)Skeat

  10. #10
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    I always pre wash. :wink: I recently read that rinsing is enough--so that's what I do. I fill the washer to the right level--then agitate it by hand--then spin--and toss in the dryer. I don't iron until I use them--just fold them nicely and press with my hand.

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