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Thread: Advice before I roll the dice...

  1. #1
    Senior Member leighway's Avatar
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    Advice before I roll the dice...

    I've been quilting for over 25 years and until about 2 years ago always pre-washed my fabrics. Then I just stopped doing it...maybe too much trouble. And I saw a blog where Alex Anderson said she didn't pre-wash hers.

    So, I've gone and invested the equivalent of a second mortgage in many yards of Kaffee Fassett fabric to make up some of his quilts. Here's the question-

    Have any of you who have used Kaffee's fabrics ever had them bleed? The colors are so intense and saturated that I wonder but still finding that inside me I actually loathed all that pre-washing, drying and folding.

    And you are free to call me a dimwit for even asking, but I really want to know. And, not only about Kaffee's fabrics bleeding but who out there isn't pre-washing? Thanks for the input!

  2. #2
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Pre-washing fabrics is a tedious job, I agree but. . . you say that the colors are over saturated and are worried that they will bleed. If you have invested a great deal of money (second mortgage kind of money) in this fabric and you will be making what I am sure will be absolutely beautiful quilts, why would you take the risk of the fabrics bleeding and ruining your quilt? JMHO!
    No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
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  3. #3
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    My personal rule has been that if the quilt will be used as a quilt, then I prewash because the likelihood is that it will get dirty. If the quilt is intended as a wall hanging, then I don't prewash.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  4. #4
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    I nevre prewash and have never had a problem. From your post it is obvious that you are worried about this batch of fabric. Maybe that is a sign you would feel more secure to prewash. Perhaps you just test wash a small piece of the one you have the most concern about to see what happens??

  5. #5
    Super Member karenpatrick's Avatar
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    I only pre-wash cheap (or should I say less expensive) fabric. Quality fabric I never wash and have never had a problem.

  6. #6
    Senior Member echoemb's Avatar
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    I have never pre-washed, seemed like such a hassle/waste of perfectly good time. I have never had a quilt bleed. I even made a quilt for my mom with red in it and it didn't bleed. Maybe just lucky.

  7. #7
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    It's easy enough to test a small area of the colors you are most concerned about. Simply wet a cotton swab, saturate a small area of the fabric and blot it between two white paper towels (doesn't hurt to rub it a bit). If the color transfers, prewash.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sally J's Avatar
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    I totally agree with Pat625. However, I never prewash and I did a small table topper recently with his fabric and it didn't bleed. It may depend on the colors in each individual print.

  9. #9
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I did have an issue with a couple of Kaffe fabric bleeding. I would prewash.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by karenpatrick View Post
    I only pre-wash cheap (or should I say less expensive) fabric. Quality fabric I never wash and have never had a problem.
    I buy from manufacturers that I know and haven't had a problem without washing. I have physical problems and all that ironing would take me forever. It's not worth the pain.

  11. #11
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    This topic comes up over and over and over... Now ask yourself, if fabric bleeding were not a significant problem, why would the topic keep coming up? I recently bought Harriet Hargrave's book, "From Fiber to Fabric". She doesn't pre-wash everything, but she has an exhaustive set of tests that she uses to determine whether a fabric should be pre-washed. What she does, with a good understanding of the manufacturing process, is technically correct, and it takes into account differences in water, detergent, etc. For me, it's easier to pre-wash all of it than to run through the tests. I don't mind washing, pressing, and re-folding the fabric, and I like knowing that 99% of my fabrics are ready to go with no worries. The other 1% are fabrics that will be used in OBW, pre-cuts, or really large yardage that I will wash in increments when I'm ready to use it.

  12. #12
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I am with Dunster. I also do not mind the "chore" of prewashing. When I am ironing I get to enjoy the fabric, I love looking at it and handling it. I guess I am weird. I really don't mind doing it and what a sense of accomplishment I get when I fold it up and put it into my stash. And when I am ready to quilt I know my fabric is ready to go and straightened and ready for the first cut with no fuss. (I am not a big starch user)

  13. #13
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I always pre wash my fabrics, usually as soon as I get them home. I dry them , fold them with my ruler and put into my fabric cabinet. Does not matter how much I paid for them. I don't want any surprises. From what I have read, the more expensive fabrics bleed more often than cheaper fabrics.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  14. #14
    Super Member TexasSunshine's Avatar
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    I'm with Dunster, feline fanatic and Jingle.
    Texas Sunshine, piney woods of NE Texas

  15. #15
    Senior Member RonieM's Avatar
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    I prewash everything. No point in tempting fate and then being mad about it later.

  16. #16
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    I guess I am weird also (I have been called worse). I prewash all my fabrics. I also enjoy the process of ironing and folding them for my stash. I find that when I deceide to make something I really like the fact that I can just pick up my fabric and start whatever project I want to do. I think that this is one of those questions that will always have different sides. Whatever rows your boat. Will look forward to seeing some of the finished projects, regardless of what you will do with the fabric.BrendaK
    Be kind to yourself, by being kind to others. When you help others you help yourself.

  17. #17
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    I don't prewash everything. I am wondering what people do with the pre cuts that are not prewashed? They sell them to be used as is, not to wash it and they sell lots of it to lots of people not prewashed. I don't know a soul that prewashes precuts. I wouldn't worry about it.
    Sewbeadit
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  18. #18
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    I have always prewashed fabric...it does not matter how expensive it is or what I bought it for. My Grandmother and mother always did so I just automatically do it. I doesn't take that long but I feel better that when I am ready to use it the fabric is ready for what ever I decide to make out of it. I very seldom iron a piece, as I like to fold my fabric and if I have any skirt hangers or dress pant hangers use them for my washed fabric. But that's just me.

  19. #19
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I am generally not a pre-washer. Flannels are always pre-washed cause they shrink up so differently. I usually run my hands or a light cloth along darker fabrics to see if there is any transfer, if so than wash but otherwise not. I do wash all my "usable" quilts with a couple of Shout color catchers before the quilt goes out the door. I have been fortunate and have never had a problem with colors running in my 200 plus quilts that I have made. Maybe I am just lucky!


    My newest Grandson, Caleb Austin, was born May 29th. I am now Grandma to 4 precious babies. I am so blessed!!!!

  20. #20
    Senior Member MdmSew'n'Sew's Avatar
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    I'm of the unwashed persuasion, and I've never had a problem with anything running, not even batiks. That being said, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Kaffe Fassett. My only question is: his designs are so vibrant and colorful, who would notice if they ran a little?
    He who cuts his own wood is warmed twice, but she who makes her own quilt is warmed forever - SLR 11/7/2011

  21. #21
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I'm a pre-washer and have been doing a 'scientific' study. I've been measuring the fabric before and after laundering and have found that almost all my non-batik fabric has been shrinking about 2" across the width of fabric, and almost nothing across the length. Don't know how you feel about shrinkage, but you may want to wash the most color saturated piece. This way you can check for bleeding and if you measure before and after, find out if it shrinks.
    I'm going to continue to pre-wash. I use cotton batting and like a bit of a crinkly look, but am worried about the fabric shrinking unevenly.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  22. #22
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    I tend to wash the deep batiks. they seem to run and have lots of extra dye. I always use color catchers when I wash a quilt the first time..

  23. #23
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I love to iron, but normally don't prewash except for flannel. So far so good. No problems.

  24. #24
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I've done both. One rule I follow is that it's either/or. Either it ALL gets washed or it ALL doesn't. I have had trouble with some older prewashed fabrics that ran like the dickens for 8 or 9 washes after the quilt was finished. Now I gauge the very intense fabrics and test the more vibrant ones. I always tend to wash batics because those tend to run.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  25. #25
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    I don't mind the washing part of pre-washing, it's the ironing and starching part I can't stand. I have pre-washed fabric for one quilt only and that was done because I wanted a smoother finish after washing the finished quilt. Did not like working with the washed fabric at all but the end result looked exactly the way I wanted it to!
    I have made a couple of Kaffe Fasset quilts with his vibrant fabrics mixed with white and have not had any issues with bleeding from my unwashed fabrics.

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