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Thread: Pre-washing fabric questions

  1. #1
    Junior Member GMarie's Avatar
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    Good morning,

    I pre-washed some fabric for the first time last night (for a swap that requires it) and have some quesitons for everyone:

    - What can I do to stop the sides from fraying? I've read about clipping corners, zig-zag, washing on gentle... is there anything else? I lost a good 1/2 inch of fabric from fraying... I can't imagine what it would do to a fat quarter. :(

    - If I use starch when I press the fabrics after drying, will they regain their crispness (one of the reasons I never have prewashed is that I really like the crispness of the fabric when piecing).

    - Would just soaking the fabric count as washing for a swap?

    Thank you in advance for your wisdom! :)

  2. #2
    Super Member zyxquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMarie
    Good morning,

    I pre-washed some fabric for the first time last night (for a swap that requires it) and have some quesitons for everyone:

    - What can I do to stop the sides from fraying? I've read about clipping corners, zig-zag, washing on gentle... is there anything else? I lost a good 1/2 inch of fabric from fraying... I can't imagine what it would do to a fat quarter. :(

    - If I use starch when I press the fabrics after drying, will they regain their crispness (one of the reasons I never have prewashed is that I really like the crispness of the fabric when piecing).

    - Would just soaking the fabric count as washing for a swap?

    Thank you in advance for your wisdom! :)
    I have had some luck with clipping the corners off...but it didn't always work for me. :( I have some friends that serge the edges before they wash - I think the zigzag would be the same - and they don't ravel.
    I wouldn't wash a FQ in the washer, but I think if you washed it in the sink or a big bowl, that would work (and count! lol)
    To get that pre-wash crispness back, you could use either spray starch or spray sizing. Sizing is what's on it when it's new.

    Good luck! :D

  3. #3
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    I've never been in a swap but when I buy BOM kits they give you much to spare so I just soak them in very warm water for a few minutes then lay them on a towel to dry and then starch and iron because I like that crispness too, I think it cuts better.

  4. #4
    Super Member Minda's Avatar
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    I trim all of the cut edges using a rotary cutter with a pinking blade before I wash. If I'm washing more than 1 1/2 yards, I also sew the two ends together with a zig-zag stitch and then cut it off before I iron. I use the express cycle on my washer, and if I'm only washing a few fat qtrs, I wash them in the sink. I dry them in the dryer with a couple of clean OLD towels, which helps dry the fabric very quickly (less tumbling).

  5. #5
    Super Member Katrine's Avatar
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    I wash by hand in the sink. I fold FQs into 3 folds then in half, all raw edges enclosed. Larger pieces fold in the raw edges and fold loosely. Only warm water, then cold rinses. Charms and eighths I put inside a folded clean cloth to wash. I drip dry, or charms and eighths I roll in a towel. It takes longer but I wash as I buy so I keep up with it.

  6. #6
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Soaking is not going to help with shrinking cause by agitation or heat. Next time you're at a Dollar Tree or any dollar store, pick ip a lingerie washing bag. They are wort their weight in gold. For larger pieces, I've zigzagged edges, too, using loose, wide stitches that are easy to take out.

  7. #7
    Junior Member GMarie's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your responses (I knew you wouldn't let me down)! ;-)

    What is the difference between sizing and starch? Where would I find sizing? Why would you want to wash (to get it off) and then put it back on (just curious) - or is the main reason for washing to avoid shrinking?

  8. #8
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    You treat your fabric the same as you would a quilt......hot water fades, harsh detergents are a no........Hand wash and hang or damp dry , then iron. If you use a machine use fragile cycle. I only wash if I have to or the colors are such that I want to test them. Do it your way.......no quilt police allowed here :D

  9. #9
    Junior Member GMarie's Avatar
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    Yay!! I don't like quilt police... :oops:

  10. #10
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    I have always prewashed my fabric for a couple of reasons. Allergies being the biggest. Fabric is made with many chemicals so I try to get that out of my fabric first, Second I want to know if the fabric is going to bleed or not, and I use the Color Catchers you buy in the grocery store in the with the fabric. If the pieces are small, like fat qtrs or charm squares they go in a net lingere bag so I don't loose them in the washer. but to each his own. Some people never wash their fabric. Marge

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