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Thread: Washing quilt top before quilting?

  1. #1
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    I just finished with a top that I don't want to wash after quilting (wall hanging, don't want a real scrunchy look), but I need to wash it to get out some markings, glue, etc. If I put a zig zag stitch along the raw edge of the border, should that be enough to keep fraying to a minimum in a gentle wash and dry? I'm doing scalloped edges on the border after quilting so some of the edge will be cut away anyways. What about the backside of the top? Will it be okay exposed in a light wash?

    I'm sure this has been done before, and doesn't seem like it should be any big deal, but I wanted to check with you ladies (and gentlemen!) before I proceeded. :)

  2. #2
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    I don't see any reason why you couldn't wash it gently. Put it in a mesh bag or pillow case, that will keep agitation to a minimum. Or wash by hand and roll in a towel to get the excess water out and lay flat to dry.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Your quilt top will probably be fine if you wash it, but rather than risk it you can always gently wash it after you quilt it, then block the quilt so it doesn't scrunch up.

    This is a link to directions:

    http://www.quiltuniversity.com/blocking.htm

    Blocking will also help it hang flat.

  4. #4
    Super Member Quilter7x's Avatar
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    I would be afraid to wash in a machine it if it has a lot of pieces in it. I can only imagine the fraying that would happen on the back. Can you gently swish it in the tub? Or can you use a washcloth to take out the glue and extra markings?

  5. #5
    Super Member quiltingnonie's Avatar
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    I did that one time - gentle wash cycle - and had fraying on the back you wouldn't believe.

  6. #6
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I would be afraid of the fraying on the back too... you may even lose some of your seams to this.

  7. #7
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    I have washed several tops without damaging them. I folded the top small enough to fit in my kitchen sink (keep it folded with the raw edges inside the whole time). I ran tepid water deep enough to cover, added liquid dish detergent and baking soda. Then I put the top in and let it soak, no agitation except to gently push the top down in the water occasionally. I soaked it like this for several hours, drained the water and added fresh water, gentle push on the top , and changed the water this way until no more soap. Drain the rinse water and let it drip (still folded), then unfold it and hang over a shower rod to dry. This procedure didn't harm the top and had a minimum of fraying on the back.

  8. #8
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    Hmmmm, so it sounds like I do have to worry about the back seams fraying really bad. I'm not sure what to do then. There's a fabric in it that I think will bleed even though I prewashed everything. I dampened a block to remove some freezer paper (put it under a hot iron right after to dry it quickly) and just in that little bit of time a black fabric bled on to a white fabric. I have some Synthrapol to put in with it, but I know it needs to be put in the dryer right away to avoid sitting around damp. So that takes blocking the quilt out of the scenario. There is some water soluble fusible in some of the applique though so I have to get it completely wet.

    I guess I'm going to just have to wash it after it's quilted, dry it in the dryer and just hope it comes out as flat as possible. Will prewashing my batting help keep the scrunch down? I've never prewashed batting so I don't know how to do that either. :P

  9. #9
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    you should be able to soak the marks out. don't agitate. just spin out and rinse and soak and spin out.

  10. #10
    Super Member quilterguy27's Avatar
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    I'd wash it gently by hand in the sink. Let as much water drip out as possible then lay it flat on some towels to soak up the rest of the water. When it's like 90 to 95% dry I'd iron it. This should work for you. Now, if you wash it after quilting I would tumble in the dryer on fluff or air dry until it's mostly dry. Then I would block it to make it square and try to keep it flat and minimize the "scrunch" effect. Good luck.

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