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Thread: Wow - fabric shrinkage.

  1. #1
    Senior Member cowpie2's Avatar
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    After reading so many posts about pre-washing vs. not pre-washing, I decided to do a little test. I just picked up fabric for a quilt and the thought of pre-washing and pressing 4 yard pieces makes me tired just thinking about it.

    So I prewashed and dried two sample pieces. Pre-measured and had one piece 19 x 46 and one 18.5 x 45. No color run from the navy to the white - score. but width wise both fabrics shrunk. The 19x46 now measures 19 x 43 (3 whole inches less) and the 18.5 by 45 - is 18.5x44 (kona cotton on this one). So both pieces shrunk on the width.

  2. #2
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    Thats why I prewash. Thanks for the info.

  3. #3
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Some fabrics barely shrink at all and others scrunch up like that Shrinky Dinks plastic when you put it in the oven.

    I don't pre-wash, but I do saturate the fabric with diluted Best Press before I press it - you can watch it puckering up and getting smaller, sometimes.

    You don't want that happening after you've assembled your quilt - especially when the fabrics differ in shrinkage. Yikes - what a mess that could make of your careful piecing. :(

  4. #4
    Senior Member cowpie2's Avatar
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    Differing shrinkage, especially since this is of questionable quality was why I did the test. I'd be less concerned with reputable brand from LQS. But I had a feeling on this. I like the puckery look of old quilts, but I sure don't want a quilt that is all wonky because I didn't pre-wash.

  5. #5
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I always pre-wash. I still get the puckery look, because the batting shrinks. I have never understood this argument about not pre-washing to get the puckery look. Almost all old quilts were made from fabric scraps that were prevously parts of clothing. Of course it had been pre-washed! My theory is that quilts that do not have the puckery look either have never been washed or were made with polyester batting, which doesn't shrink.

  6. #6
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Dunster, that is a good point. I had never really thought about old quilts coming from clothing scraps that had been prewashed 100 times. I have been not prewashing because I like the puckery look, but I suppose the batting shrinking would do the job, too. mmm..... It may be time for me to rethink this.

  7. #7
    Senior Member doll-lady's Avatar
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    good concerns on all of this.

  8. #8
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    I don't pre-wash primarily because I'm lazy.

    I've got to starch and press the fabric before I use it anyway, so I might as well get it wet enough to shrink it before I press it.

    But I also wash my quilts as soon as they're done, so if I've pre-washed the fabrics before cutting and piecing, too, then the fabric is even less "new" looking. I like my quilts to be puckery but I like the fabric to be as new looking as possible when I give the quilt to someone. :)

  9. #9
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster
    I always pre-wash. I still get the puckery look, because the batting shrinks. I have never understood this argument about not pre-washing to get the puckery look. Almost all old quilts were made from fabric scraps that were prevously parts of clothing. Of course it had been pre-washed! My theory is that quilts that do not have the puckery look either have never been washed or were made with polyester batting, which doesn't shrink.
    I am a die hard prewasher. I would never consider not pre washing. Anyway I have a quilt that I hand quilted with poly batting and it puckered ever so slightly as well. I can only assume the shrinkage from the thread.

  10. #10
    Senior Member merrylouw's Avatar
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    I like to prewash yardage, but not FQs or small pieces. I just like the feel of the fabric and the look. Also wash the quilt when it's finished.

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