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Thread: Pre-Washing question

  1. #1
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    I am a firm believer in prewashing/drying/pressing/organizing fabric, with few exceptions. I am, however, in need of some advice.

    I have, I don't know, about 8 40-gal trash bags full of donated aphostery fabric for the club. Now these pieces are all same and different, which makes no sense, but you look at a book of samples when you go to a place and there are same patterns in different colors, and then same colors in different patterns. We were donated 20-30 books. I removed the non-usable fabrics and put them aside for other projects. I have A LOT of fabric now. I'm pretty sure, since they are aphostery after all and they say dry clean only all over the label, that they are going to shrink a lot.

    So, my question is, is there a way I can prevent major shrinkage, or excess fraying? I saw on a post on a different topic about serging it. I'm not sure I know what that is.

    I have used this type of fabric before in foundation pieced quilts for a different club. I love this type of fabric, but at the club, I came in on a different stage of completion. I've never done this from the beginning.

    Have a great holiday weekend. Thanks in advance....

    Melissa

  2. #2
    Super Member zyxquilts's Avatar
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    Hi Melissa - serging the edges uses a special kind of sewing machine (a Serger!) that can sew over the edge & cut the fabric off at the same time, using multiple needles. I think you could just sew a stay-stitch all around the piece, close to the edge & that would help with the fraying problem. I'm not sure about the washing part though - since they were free, I guess you could throw them in the machine on gentle with cold water. That's what I would do, and, if they're going into a regular quilt, I would probably also throw 'em in the dryer on low heat. If they're cotton, why wouldn't they be washable? Then again, maybe I'm not the one to answer that, since I only separate my laundry into lights (all undies are "lights" no matter what color they are, LOL), darks, sheets & towels! But those are my best guesses.... :D

    sue

  3. #3
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    Thanks Sue.

    I've heard of sergers before. I know a couple people that have them, but I've never seen them or how they work. All the pieces that I have kept aside are definately cotton as I do not have the courage to put anything in a quilt that isn't cotton. Also, they are already, at unshrunken size, the size of a piece of computer paper or smaller. I just hope with cherries on top that they don't shrink too much!

    I email the member of the other club that dealt with those types of fabrics before. She just said to wash, dry and press as usual and expect A LOT of fraying. Just trying to deter that.

    ~M~

  4. #4
    Boo
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    Senior Member Boo's Avatar
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    I am curious just what is your plan for this fabric? Just because a label says dry clean only, doesn't mean because it will shrink. In some cases the fabric will distort by washing. If your plan is to make purses or pillows or something that will not be washed, there is no need to wash before hand.

  5. #5
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Do you have one of those mesh laundry bags that are sold for washing delicates? I find fraying is greatly diminished when i put smallish pieces in one to wash. I know some dollar stores carry them, and they make a big difference - frayed threads can't grab onto other pieces and continue to unravel.

  6. #6
    SandraJennings's Avatar
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    Melissa ....if I read you correctly the fabric pieces are already serged on at least three sides....as Boo mentioned the usage for these fabrics also is a consideration....however....if the fabrics say dry clean only....then sew them as though they were just that and then you can use a commercial dry cleaner product they have available for the average consumer and thereby save a few pennies. I believe you can get it at Wal-mart or any of the other chain stores. i have a few pieces myself and they will make a gorgeous duvet cover. The nice thing is with so many pieces you will be able to create a patchwork or applique piece unlike anything else available. good luck! If you decide to wash....cold water...gentle cycle...washing is to remove sizing and any dye leakage from the material....not usually a concern with upholstery material.

  7. #7
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    These pieces will be cut up and used "sew-n-flip" on long strips of slightly heavy white fabric and then sewn together to make a large quilt. They'll end up looking kinda stained glass like when finished. Other's will be cut down and made into 4-patches and then into quilts from there. They will all need to be washed regularly as I'm sure they will be used by the families they will be donated too. When we made them in Omaha, they were put to good use. I selected all 100% cotton pieces just like those were. But those shrank quite a bit and I was just trying to prevent that. Must put laundry mesh bag on grocery list...good idea that one.

  8. #8
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    Oh...I wasn't done.

    As far as being serged on 3 sides, I'm not exactly sure, they are more cut off than anything else. They are just in these large books people can look through when decided what they want to reapolster their couches or pick curtains as some of these are pretty see throughy. But the labels are applied with really heavy duty furniture glue and they go all the way across the fabric on the wrong side of the bottom. On the top, front and back is more glue and the holes from the heavy duty furniture staples that I had to remove. I tore muscles I didn't know I had separating all those pieces!!

  9. #9
    SandraJennings's Avatar
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    Then I suggest soaking them for a little while to help remove the backing....or use it to draw your templates on...after enough washings it will lighten up....like the old newspaper quilts.....how chic!!! :D :lol:

  10. #10
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    When we had a church group that was making quilts for the babies born to unwed mothers, we did soak the fabric to get the labels off. sometimes, an impossibl;e task, and then we cut the label off. Our fabric samples had the edges pinked so fraying wasn't an issue. You could simply stitch down all sides with a long machine stitch close to the edge. That would prevent the fraying quite a bit. If you are going to wash them, I would use cold water for sure to help reduce the shrinkage.Good Luck :!:

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