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Thread: Washing fabric before sewing?

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    I wash and dry all the fabrics for quilts and iron before cutting pieces. They can be folded and hung on hangers to keep them ready.DON'T use dryer sheets in the dryer. These deposit a coating on the fabric which can prevent the iron-on to fuse to the fabric.
    My younger daughter was making her first quilt, and after cutting out the pieces read the instructions telling her to wash the fabric. SOOO, she dumped them all in the washer with some sheets. Then they went into the dryer. We could hear thumping..and when removed all the pieces were in one lump, and directly into the trash basket. Very expensive lesson.
    To wash small pieces, use a salad/lettuce washer with warm water, and if desired some mild soap...iron the pieces dry. This will work with precut pieces from a kit.

  2. #12
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    I always wash ahead but did get a kit from JoAnn's that was just to learn a block. The pieces were tiny, already cut to size & I was just doing the block to learn the process. I'm starting to wash my fabric when I buy it so I can avoid waiting for the laundry when inspiration hits.
    Also, as Cecelia mentions, be sure not to use dryer sheets. I did and had a coating on my iron & a yellow mark I thought was a stain on my ironing board (came out with bleach in the wash). ***I'm big on bleaching in case you haven't noticed LOL.**** :lol:

  3. #13
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    on the Texas Coast
    if the pieces are small I soak them in warm water for a few minutes then lay them on a towel to dry then iron, this usually shrinks them if they're going to without making a tangled mess of ravels and you can see if the color is going to bleed.

  4. #14
    Super Member wraez's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Adelanto, CA
    If the directions in the kits say not to wash, don't wash!

    But this question in general has many professionals who don't even agree whether to prewash fabric or not. I don't like to prewash fabrics, mostly cuz of the time and effort involved in ironing etc. Keep it simple is my motto. But I understand why some people do, allergies. One professional, I believe it is Sharon Craig, washes everything and then starches or puts sizing in, irons, folds.... way too much work for me.

    And many people like that there is a bit of shrinkage in a finished quilt, it gives it that 'quilted' look.

    I use the color catchers also for laundering the quilt when it is finished and it works great.

    hugs sue

  5. #15
    Junior Member GMarie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Southern Minnesota
    I will be trying the fabric catchers soon since I don't pre-wash any of my fabrics.


  6. #16
    Andi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    New Westminster, BC, Canada
    I have started to prewash all my fabrics when they come in the house, straight into the washer! Some fabrics shrink at different rates and I would rather take the time to do it before I even carry them up the strairs into the house. I m pretty new to this and I would hate to spend all that money and have it look wonky when I gave a quilt to someone. That is just my personal opinion.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Missi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Kansas - north west corner
    I prewash - that is what I was taught years ago when I learned to sew. I have had fabric run on each other in the wash, luckily they weren't in the quilt. I have also had problem with shrinking, big problems!!

    Current example - do I or don't I wash my jelly roll. It has browns, reds and creams I decided I was gonna wash and them in color batches in a lingerie bag. They shrunk and raveled!! My pre cut 2 1/2 strips are all 2 1/4 inches now. Didn't realize they shrunk until I was sewing the other strips to them that I cut from prewashed fabric. So now I have all these pieces sewn together that I have trip to 2 1/4 augh!!!!!!!!!!!! I could scream infact I have many time and some not nice words have come out of my mouth while working on the quilt. :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

    I wash and iron when I get it, the bag from the fabric store goes straight to the laundry room.

  8. #18
    Super Member beachlady's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    I too was taught to wash all fabric before using, so I do. That is a good hint about jelly rolls though; I bet you were hopping mad Missi. I used a lingerie bag the other day for some fat quarters and they raveled just as much as if I had thrown them in separately. I was disappointed. I am going to get some color catchers too - never tried them.
    I stopped at a quilt store on my travels last fall in Tennessee and asked the owner about all the wonderful quilts they had hanging in the store - she said they never washed anything because they did not have time!! A lady at Wal-Mart once told me that I should always wash their fabric because of the stuff that gets on the fabric while the floors are cleaned at night etc.
    Again, it is a personal preference.

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