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Thread: to wash or not to wash? That is the question.

  1. #1
    Super Member katiebear1's Avatar
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    I am new to quilting,having just started this past summer. I am just now finishing my 6th project ( a King size quilt) I have also made 2 lap quilts and 2 table runners and a large wall hanging. I have only pre washed my fabric for a flannel lap quilt. (and what a mess with all the unravelling) I have since washed the table runners and they came out fine. Two of the ladies at my local quilt shop said they never pre wash.Most of my books say to pre wash but some say they don't pre wash. Any opinions on what is right?

  2. #2
    Junior Member rndelling's Avatar
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    I never prewash unless it's flannel or maybe a red. With the red I cut a small piece and put it in hot water to see if it'll fade. If it doesn't, I don't wash.
    I like the look of old quilts that kind of puckered because of the cotton batting they used so I just let the fabric do it's thing.
    There are alot of people who will tell you the exact opposite. I think it all comes down to personal preference.

  3. #3
    Super Member Dragonfly Nana's Avatar
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    Welcome. I am new on here also. The folks here are a wonderful group, incredible resource, and funny too.

    Oh this is a "chicken or the egg" question.
    I pre-wash all my fabrics to make sure any "sizing" is removed before I use it in a project. This also makes sure there will not be any bleeding of color, but you are right that some fabrics will fray.
    If you want to wash and avoid some of the fraying - baste the edges before you wash.

  4. #4
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    It is up to you. I don't wash unless it is flannel or for and exchange.

  5. #5
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I always wash first in a lingerie bag or pillowcase. I've had several projects ruined by fabrics that bled. For example just this weekend I was prewashing fabric and several of them bled. And these aren't cheapo fabrics. One was a maroon, older Mumm fabric (from LQS not Joannes) and it got all over the pillowcase. I also had some batik type fabric run this weekend. Had I put those in a quilt I would have been very upset. Yes, the raveling can be a pain, but it hurts worse to lose a project you've been working on for weeks or months. In my book it's better to be safe than sorry.

    When I need the fabric, I iron it and starch it. Feels just like brand new again but it won't run! I agree most fabrics from Quilt stores don't bleed. But it's that 1-5% that are killers:<

  6. #6
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I don't think there is a "rule" UNLESS you participate in a swap - then washing is mandatory. If you feel comfortable not washing, then don't. If you worry about the darker colors running, then you can do a color test. (Putting a small piece in a glass of hot water or rubbing a damp white cloth over it). If it runs and you wash it - the rest of the fabric that goes with it should also be washed to set an even starting point. In the end - it's personal choice.

  7. #7
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    I wash all fabrics I use unless it is a jelly roll. I either serge the cut edges or zig-zag then to prevent them from fraying. Sometimes I find a fabric that shrinks or the color runs. I would rather have that happen before I use it ina quilt.

  8. #8
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    there are no quilt police!

    i only wash flannel and some solid colors & batiks.. that is all..no extra work here at this house!

  9. #9
    Senior Member ladygen's Avatar
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    I don't wash unless it's red or for a swap. However, I (typically) only use LQS fabric, which tends to shrink less, if at all.

  10. #10
    Super Member pittsburgpam's Avatar
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    I almost always wash unless it is a pre-cut like a jelly roll, charms, or layer cake. I wash fat quarters too and I'm working on a quilt right now where I need to cut two 8 1/2" squares across and some of the washed FQs are barely over 17" after being washed with shrinkage and fraying. I would rather it shrink before I cut out the pieces though.

    If you are wondering how much a fabric will shrink, cut a 4" square, wash and dry it, then see what size it is afterwards.

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