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Thread: Two reasons I wash/shrink all washable components - - -

  1. #1
    Power Poster
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    May 2008

    Two reasons I wash/shrink all washable components - - -

    These comments are for items that will probably require washing at some time (I haven't done wall-hangings, but I just took a couple of cloth items down yesterday - they are very dusty and I think they need to be bathed)

    Two reasons why I wash/shrink all washable components of an item before cutting them:

    1) I'm frugal (I hate the word 'cheap') - I see no reason to have to spend additional money on Retayne, Sythrapol, color catchers/grabbers, or any other color fixatives or color removers. If there is a serious issue with a fabric, I want to know about it before it's part of a project. If I wanted to play with those chemicals, I would learn how to dye fabric myself.

    2) I'm lazy (I will have to think of a better word for 'lazy') -

    a) I don't want to spend any time on trying to remove color/dye from surrounding fabrics
    b) I don't want to try to block something back into shape because of uneven shrinkage or the fabric reverted to it's natural state
    c) I want the item to not require 'special handling' when it's laundered
    c) I don't want to have to 'think/worry' about how a particular item will look after it has been washed (assuming the item has not been bleached, burned, or torn)

    I have had a couple of 'not so great' experiences - so that's why I'm so seriously into 'preventive maintenance' - it's just easier for me to spend an additional few minutes prepping than to spend hours trying to undo a mess that could have been avoided.

    I know there are many on this board that say they have never had a problem, or don't see any shrinkage - I have -

  2. #2
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    western NY formerly MN, FL, NC, SC
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    this is my philosophy as well
    Nancy in western NY
    before you speak THINK
    T is it True? H is it Helpful? I is it Inspiring? N is it Necessary? K is it Kind?

  3. #3
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Back when I was learning to sew, Mom tought me to always be suspious of Red , and Purple fabrics for bleading. Since my sewing constisted of garment making preshrinking was manitory. Remember all that gauzy type fabric of the late 60's early 70's looked great on the bolt but shrunk and wrinkled like no other. Learned my lesson the hard way after making a shirt out of that fabric as I did not want the pain of getting all the wrinkles out prior to construction from prewashing. Well after all me work .. only was able to wear it once ... it shrunk about 20 %.
    Then came the world of Poly and the need to preshrink was now a thing of the past. .. as was ironing! 100 percent cotton was scorned by fabric stores and it was dirt cheap to buy as no one wanted the fabric that had to be ironed and was going to shrink.
    Then the rotary cutter was invented and revived the art of quilting , and cotton fabrics became more prevelant and gained popularity. The lessons I learned way back had to be relived if to avoid some of the issues I had associated with garment making. Even though the industry has come far in methods of manufactring and printing... they still have not "solved" the fundimental issues associated with 100 percent cotton fabrics. They do shrink ( it just depends on how much) and no manufacture guarentees against bleeding/running. So understanding the potential issues , I prewash all most all of my fabrics .
    As for the use of Syntropol or Retayne... when working with batiks specifcally , one wash is often not sufficent to remove the unset dye. This is where my "cheapness" shows.... I would rather spend the small amount of $$ to resolve the issue ONCE and for all than to find out later that the unset dye was not sufficently dealt with the first ime around. Some batiks specifically the watercolor will bleed almost forever till the fabric is faded beyond the appeal it once had. To preserve the original appeal of color depth .. yes I will pretreat rather than toss it ,or wash and wash and wash.
    I have learned that each quilter develops a guideline they use for fabrics and what their comfort level is. This can be altered typically by an experience.
    Sorry I got so carried away in my response.

  4. #4
    Junior Member coffeebreak's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Boy do I agree with you there...except... I don't call it "frugal"...I call it intelligent! I mean come on...why take the risk of wasting a ton of time fixing problems that just a toss in the washer will prevent!

    However....I will use the color catchers on reds. I pre washed some red I used to make an American Flag tumbler quilt...but once finished, and I washed the quilt to finish it off...and the red ran! Even after I pre washed it! So it basically ruined the quilt cause the red ran to the white. I bleached and a few other things ,but the red never left. So now.. I will use the color catchers on red fabrics...and even went a second step and use it for all darker colors...even when I wash them with only darks what can run...will. But I have not had that problem on any other color.
    Last edited by coffeebreak; 10-19-2012 at 06:15 AM. Reason: add something

  5. #5
    Super Member alwayslearning's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Central Florida
    Experience is a great teacher. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
    "Only those who know enough is enough can ever have enough." Lao Tzu

  6. #6
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
    West Texas
    One wash is often not enough, especially when dealing with a dye that is not set. I use Retayne whenever necessary and consider it the best procedure for me.

  7. #7
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Pacific NW
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    I've found that "soaking" works waaaay better than "washing" when it comes to bleeding fabrics. When I wash, even with commercial dye setters, I can still get bleeding. However, soaking the fabric for several hours seems to do the trick.

  8. #8
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    I'm not cheap but I am lazy. LOL I test for bleeding but don't prewash quilting fabric. I wash the finished quilt in hot water and Tide on heavy cycle. It will be the only hard wash it will get. My family knows to wash all quilts in warm water on delicate cycle and Woolite and that is what I tell the receiver of any of my quilts how to wash it.
    Got fabric?

  9. #9
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
    Live Oak, Texas
    I agree with you 100%. I don't like to work with or keep fabrics in my sew room until all the harsh chemicals are washed out.

  10. #10
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Small town in Northeast Oregon close to Washington and Idaho
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    Boy, am I on the other side of the coin from all of you. I noticed no one who doesn't pre-wash respond to this thread, so I thought I would be the one who did. I have never pre-washed before and have made a lot of quilts. I just started using batiks, so I can't tell you the outcome of it yet. I have Retayne and Syntropol and I don't know which I would use when I go to wash it, but I will investigate further and find out.

    But I have never had any bleeding of any sort and I have used every color with white. I always wash on delicate and in cold water and dry on air dry. I don't know if that makes a difference, but like I said, I have had no problems YET!

    I use precuts quite a bit and do not want to wash them ever. I don't want to wash any of my fabric. I like the feel of the fabric off the bolt. But, if something bleeds on me one time, I will be singing a different song. One like you all are singing, I'm sure.

    And I wouldn't call you lazy at all. I call myself "lazy". I don't want to hassle with washing and drying and IRONING the fabric after washing it. Now, that's lazy. Ironing is my least favorite part of sewing. Cutting is my favorite. I'm a strange one in that department. Most people don't like to cut. I have complete quilts cut out and set aside. At least 5 of them.

    Now remember, I might be singing a different song if something bleeds! I might join your camp. And I admire all of you that go to all the trouble of washing your fabric before using it. I applaud you all!!
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
    Strong people don't put others down...they build them up."
    "Remember that your instincts are more important than rules"

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