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Thread: What do do - can't prewash precut layer cake of flannel

  1. #1
    Senior Member cowpie2's Avatar
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    What do do - can't prewash precut layer cake of flannel

    I found a beautiful layer cake of flannel on sale and I so want to buy it as it would be a perfect snuggly for my granddaughter. But since it is a layer cake, pre-washing isn't in my opinion a good option. How do I deal with this in the finished quilt? I'd likely back with flannel and maybe put one layer of flannel as the middle.

    Would you suggest not pre-washing anything and then hoping for the best when it is done?

    The fabric is so beautiful I will likely just put a narrow sashing between the squares and not do a lot of cutting, etc.

  2. #2
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    do you have a lingerie bag you can put it in to prewash (gently)? and then air dry?

  3. #3
    Senior Member IAmCatOwned's Avatar
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    I don't prewash quilt-shop flannel. It doesn't shrink enough to make the final work wonky, especially since the rest is flannel. However it can bleed a lot so use a lot of water when you wash it the first time.
    Current piecing: Zig Zag quilt & LOTL (HSTs done, assembling units)
    Hand piecing project: Apple core (TOP IS DONE!!!! Yay!)

  4. #4
    Senior Member sandybeach's Avatar
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    When I use pre-cuts, I sew the top together then wash it. You will have to iron it again, and you will have a lot of strings on the back, but it works for me. I don't like the puckery(?) look of quilts.

  5. #5
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Just make the quilt. Don't prewash any of it. Rag quilts aren't prewashed, they turn out fine. Let go! Just sew!

  6. #6
    Super Member quiltinggirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    Just make the quilt. Don't prewash any of it. Rag quilts aren't prewashed, they turn out fine. Let go! Just sew!
    I agree with Scissor Queen! I don't prewash any of my flannel quilts until I have the quilt completely quilted. I made an Exploding Star quilt from Kansas Troubles line called Flannel Days. I used 2 layer cakes and some yardage for the quilt and used 7 1/2 yards of flannel for the backing. I washed it after it was quilted using color catchers (just in case!) and through it in the dryer and there was minimal shrinkage.
    God, Wonderful Family, Great Health, Awesome Friends, Quilting & Chocolates - - What more could a girl be blessed with!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member MdmSew'n'Sew's Avatar
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    I don't wash any flannels before making a quilt - I use flannel on the back and a cotton batt, so when it is washed, it pretty much all 'adjusts' the same amount. I love the soft, comfy look once the finished quilts are washed - IMHO they are the nicest, friendliest quilts I make, and since they are, almost without exception, made for children, they're going to get washed ... a lot, so they'll just get more wonderful as time goes on. Enjoy the process, don't sweat the small stuff - and your dgd will have a new snuggly that will feel like her best friend right from the beginning.
    He who cuts his own wood is warmed twice, but she who makes her own quilt is warmed forever - SLR 11/7/2011

  8. #8
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    you don't need to if you are using ALL flannel and plan to wash it well after you are finished. If you are mixing it with cottons, then you can wash them. Soak in a sink of HOT water...then SPIN to damp in a salad spinner and press to finish...of course they will all shrink differently and you will have to make them all the same size again, but it works! You might also want to spray with starch and BLOCK them to make sure you are getting the FULL use of the fabric.

  9. #9
    Senior Member patimint's Avatar
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    I read (somewhere) that to "pre-wash" cut fabrics (layer cakes, charm packs, especially flannel) just spray good with water and iron. If it is going to shrink, it will when the fabric is wet and is ironed with a hot iron. I haven't tried it, but sounded like good advise to me
    Patimint

  10. #10
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    It's fine to not pre-wash flannel ***IF*** you do a lot of quilting. Quilting means that the quilt will shrink only as much as the batting allows. If the quilting lines are far apart, the fabric in-between quilting lines can shrink at a different rate than the batting.

    I would go ahead and use all of the flannel unwashed and just plan on doing a medium stipple or similar-weight quilting design. My batting choice for this would be Hobbs 80/20, which has about a 3% shrinkage rate; however, other battings could work well too.

    The reason I know this will work is because I attended a class with Harriet Hargrave, queen of eliminating pre-washing. So many quilters wouldn't believe that pre-washing was unnecessary, she made a flannel quilt to prove it. She *did* do a reasonable amount of quilting on it. Anyway, she measured it before and after washing and got something like 1/2" of shrinkage. She also had the quilt with her, so class members like me could closely examine the quilt. It looked fine.

    The thing is, fabric shrinks differently when washed all by itself compared to when it is quilted to a batting. When closely quilted, fabric cannot shrink more than the batting; the batting controls how much the fabric can shrink.

    One thing I would do with flannel, though, is spray starch all those pieces. Starching makes flannel a lot easier to sew without distortion.

    Also, you still may want to test the fabrics for colorfastness. HH does this by placing a small piece in a glass of water for a few hours to see if any dye bleeds into the water. After that, she rubs the damp fabric against a piece of white to see if any dye "crocks". I would probably dampen a piece of white fabric and rub gently only on "suspicious" fabrics to see if there is some transfer of dye.

    For the first washing, in order to guard against any bleeds, I would use either a home top-loader washing machine or a large laundromat front-loader with Synthrapol. You want lots of hot water and Synthrapol so any stray dye particles stay suspended in the water until rinsed away. Dry immediately, so one damp fabric does not lie next to another damp fabric for any length of time.

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