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Thread: What should I do with a quilt top whose fabrics have NOT been prewashed?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    I have quilt top completely pieced and done with borders, etc. and nothing was prewashed. Should I prewash the top and back before quilting or quilt first and then wash?

  2. #2
    BarbC's Avatar
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    Don't wash before quilting. It will warp the quilt. I would finish it and then wash it with a Shout Color Catcher. Barb C.

  3. #3

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    Thank you Barb.

  4. #4
    Super Member SaraSewing's Avatar
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    There is a controversary concerning washing fabrics before quilting with them. One opinion says to not wash them, so the sizing is left in. It's easier to work with. The other opinion, of course, says wash and iron everything. I've tried both, and I'm one of the weird ones in the minority who likes UNWASHED fabrics. I've never had a problem with shrinkage, color fading/bleeding, or anything that distracts from the finished quilt. So don't worry about it! Definitely don't wash anything before quilting, or you may end up with a raveled, thready mess. I"m sure that I'll get lots of messages saying I'm in the wrong about not washing, but I stand by my favorite. Just enjoy your project! S.

  5. #5
    BarbC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saravincent
    I'm one of the weird ones in the minority who likes UNWASHED fabrics. .
    I have 2 friends who have been quilting for a long time and neither one prewashes except reds and purples.. and even then I think they test it to see if it will run and only wash if needed. So you are not alone in your thinking.

    I prewash. Just a matter of preference.

    Barb C

  6. #6
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    I only prewash reds or certain fabric if I think they will shrink a lot. I did prewash the swap ones as most want them that way. I to prefer not to :wink:

  7. #7
    Super Member Yvonne's Avatar
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    I hate to pre-wash because then you have to pre-iron!

    There is the school of thought, that I subscribe to, that says to not pre-wash, make the quilt and then wash it and you will have that wrinkled antique look. I like that antique quilt look so that's my story and I'm sticking to it! :lol:

  8. #8
    Super Member sewmuch's Avatar
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    I, too, only wash reds, purples and black. So far no problems, used to prewash everything, but find it is easier to work with unwashed. :mrgreen:

  9. #9
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    I wash- learned the hard way by putting cutesy red hearts in the border edge of a double Irish chain I had worked on for months. I still hate pink unless it is planned. Back then, color catchers were not available, and I tried everything. Even after it was old and worn, I swear it looked pink near the slate blue and white I used.

    I soak darks and brights overnight, and THEN I wash. I have yet to meet an orange or red fabric that did not color the water, even the high priced ones. If it's too unstable, I don't want to use it.

  10. #10

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    I'm actually not as concerned about bleeding as I am about the chemicals in the fabric. I know they say it's safe, but I'm not buying it. It irritates my eyes to be in a fabric store for very long unless it's one of those well-ventilated big warehouse places, and because most of our quilt fabric is imported, it's sprayed with pesticides when it enters the US. I don't have super-sensitive skin, but I really would prefer to wash out all the excess dye, finishing agents (especially the ones that make the fabric seem heavy and soft and "silky" - those seem to be the worst) and pesticides if I am going to handle the fabric much. They use a LOT of chemicals when they make and ship fabric!

    Also, the fabrics shrink more than they bleed. When I was working with a new quilt shop owner, Benartex was sending out little "no need to prewash this flannel - it won't bleed!" cards to give customers. We washed some of it, and it went from 43" to less than 39". The Moda calicos that we tested shrunk to 40" of usable fabric (there was another inch or so of printed selvedge.)

    I put too much time and energy into my quilts to risk it. I prewash EVERYTHING.

    Oh, and I guess I do worry about bleeding, too. :-)

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