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Thread: Prewashing Fabrics -Why Shouldn't I use my Tide Pods?

  1. #1
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    Prewashing Fabrics -Why Shouldn't I use my Tide Pods?

    I began quilting rag quilts and was taught to not prewash the flannel fabric; I've made several, and they turn out wonderfully. I then "graduated" to "real" quilting, so to speak (no insult to rag quilting, I still make them and have friends who absolutely love them!). Because of the severe arthritis in my hands, I use a lot of combinations of pre-cuts: jelly rolls; jolly rolls (5"X10"), charm packs, and layer cakes. I do NOT prewash any of these.

    I have just purchased fabric to make a birthday quilt for my grandson who will be 30 years old on May 12 (my other two grandchildren are ages 3 and 6!). I am making him a Star Wars quilt, queen size. Because recently had SO MUCH trouble quilting a fairly large quilt, which was donated to charity via my quilting group, because of arthritis in my hands, I started looking at quilt-as-you-go techniques as a possible solution. I came across a wonderful You Tube video by Darlene Michaud called "How to Quilt as Your Go with Sashing and Self-Binding. It is wonderful! I even made a sample of her technique, and this is the one I will be using for my grandson's Star Wars Quilt.

    I think I should prewash the fabric. The backing -that also serves as the sashing and the binding- is Kona Cotton (steel gray); there are four different star war pieces of fabric to be put together as a panel of four, each separated by sashing per this technique There are some bright colors and some subdued colors in these fabrics; none of it was cheap, so I don't want to ruin it, potentially, through bleeding, or what ever. Okay, enough of this! I guess I scared to make this quilt. It would be easier to not prewash the fabric, but I just think I really should. SO, NO PROBLEM! Then I read that I should not use my regular fabric (Tide Pods). WHY NOT? I'm supposed to buy something like Orvas Quilt Soap. Huh?

    So, since I really need to get started on this quilt, could anyone out there advise me about (1) prewashing/non-prewashing and (2) can I just use my average laundry detergent or do I have to buy something special like "Quilt Soap."

    Thanks for helping a slowly maturing quilting novice!

  2. #2
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    I soak my fabric in HOT water (separated by colors on this round - in case there is a bleeder- dark green on dark green does not bother me too much) - in a sink, a bucket, a bowl - depending on the size of the piece of the fabric.

    After the fabric passes the hot water phase (water is clear or almost clear) - then I wash it on a brief gentle cycle in lots of water with only a small amount of regular gentle detergent - and then dry it.

    I think keeping the agitation to a minimum and leaving "room" in the dryer and washer help minimize abrasion of the fabric and helps prevent that "worn" look.

  3. #3
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    So, for the Star Wars blocks, are you suggesting I soak EACH of the four fabric blocks in hot water to check for bleeders and then if there is little bleeding, go ahead and was them in my basic home detergent?

  4. #4
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    I prewash my fabrics in the same way I would wash the finished quilt. I just put them in the washer with my regular laundry detergent. I usually separate by color family. Also put a "color catcher" in with the fabric.
    Pat

    Pfaff 7510, Viking Mega Quilter, Viking Quilt Designer II

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwoman View Post
    So, for the Star Wars blocks, are you suggesting I soak EACH of the four fabric blocks in hot water to check for bleeders and then if there is little bleeding, go ahead and was them in my basic home detergent?

    It's what I do. I've had enough bleeders and serious shrinkers to make it worth my effort.

    There are many who think the whole washing thing is totally unnecessary.

    So - it does come down to individual choice.

    I have measured before and after hundreds of pieces of fabrics to see if it was actuallyu worth the effort. For me, it is. I have also had at least one bleeder from every color family.

    Once the item has been assembled, I want it to be as care-free as possible.

    I still do fear bleach, burns, and tears.
    Last edited by bearisgray; 04-21-2017 at 07:18 AM.

  6. #6
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    if you are using a lot of pre cuts then I would not wash personally I do not wash my fabrics

  7. #7
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    I just handwash my fabrics with warm water in my sink, then either line dry or put them in the dryer (low heat) until they are just barely damp, then iron.

    I always debate with myself whether or not to pre-wash, but just last week I had a dark blue bleeder, so I'm glad I did!!

  8. #8
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    I have been very lucky never to have had a bleeder. When I started quilting (1992) I knew nothing, so did not pre-wash. I am still in that group, but do wash in cold water with the color catchers before I give them away.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    Life is 10 percent what happens to you, and 90 percent what you do about it. - Steve Harvey

  9. #9
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    Yes, in terms of the four different star wars fabrics, prewashing them -and I think separately- is a good idea. Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Yes, I think given the richness of color in the four Star Wars fabrics, I definitely need to prewash -I just don't want to take any chances. Per the advice of another poster, I am just going to use my regular fabric detergent, too. This is high quality fabric, and I just don't think I should have to buy special detergent for a quilt that is going to get a lot of use. Thanks for your advice!

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