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Thread: Can I wash my quilt top?

  1. #1
    Member quiltpassion's Avatar
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    I bought a quilt kit to make a child's quilt approximately 60" X 45". In the kit was a panel & various shapes & sizes of corresponding fabric. I made the mistake of NOT washing the fabric first!

    Anyway, while piecing, I noticed there was a variation of the type of fabric included. Some pieces were of a lower quality with lesser thread count. I am afraid of what it will look like (shrinkage) if I machine quilt then wash afterward. Plus I am now putting fray check on all the seams due to much raveling!

    Can I wash the quilt top on a hand wash setting in the washer in hot water with Retayne for 20 minutes or a warm water with the shout color catcher for less time? Would you help me on this before I really make a BIG boo boo?

    Patti

  2. #2
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    I have not put a top through a complete wash, but I have put them through the rinse cycle with no problems.

  3. #3
    MTS
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    STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE.

    PUT THE QUILT DOWN.

    Do not wash a quilt top before it's quilted.

    It's not that it will all fall apart, but it will be a mess to iron again, as the seam allowances are all over the place, and frayed.

    The fact that you think some fabrics might shrink at a different rate than others won't be solved. They'll shrink, but wouldn't be stabilized by anything.

    Actually, you'll have more control over the shrinking if it's washed after it's quilted.

  4. #4
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS
    STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE.

    PUT THE QUILT DOWN.

    Do not wash a quilt top before it's quilted.

    It's not that it will all fall apart, but it will be a mess to iron again, as the seam allowances are all over the place, and frayed.
    That would be my advice also!

  5. #5
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by virtualbernie
    Quote Originally Posted by MTS
    STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE.

    PUT THE QUILT DOWN.

    Do not wash a quilt top before it's quilted.

    It's not that it will all fall apart, but it will be a mess to iron again, as the seam allowances are all over the place, and frayed.
    That would be my advice also!
    I agree with every one! If you have concerns regarding bleeding use Sythropol and color catchers. Do test some of the scraps to see how much of an issue it really is.
    Retayne should be used prior to cutting.

  6. #6
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by virtualbernie
    Quote Originally Posted by MTS
    STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE.

    PUT THE QUILT DOWN.

    Do not wash a quilt top before it's quilted.

    It's not that it will all fall apart, but it will be a mess to iron again, as the seam allowances are all over the place, and frayed.
    That would be my advice also!
    Absolutely agree. Qulting may actually help equalize any differences.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    I am glad I rinsed mine without asking, or I probably would not have tried. lol

  8. #8
    Super Member quilttiludrop's Avatar
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    There's a lot at stake when you're washing a finished quilt top, so I would definitely use a product that stabilizes the colors if there is a question.

  9. #9
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadiemae
    I am glad I rinsed mine without asking, or I probably would not have tried. lol
    Me thinks you were lucky! :lol: :lol: :lol:

  10. #10
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    Do not wash your quilt top.Wash it when its done quilted and bind it. As the girls say step away from your washer.

  11. #11
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    I'd also suggest you finish the sewing before washing.

    TWO different types of fabric in one kit? That sounds like they cheated you. Those kits are expensive as it is, should have gotten all one quality.

    All of the same brand and color/pattern?

    Never saw that before. I have noticed that a lot of things are getting thinner and cheaper, but they were stand alone fabrics.

  12. #12
    Super Member Grandma58's Avatar
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    I 100% agree with you!


    Quote Originally Posted by MTS
    STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE.

    PUT THE QUILT DOWN.

    Do not wash a quilt top before it's quilted.

    It's not that it will all fall apart, but it will be a mess to iron again, as the seam allowances are all over the place, and frayed.

    The fact that you think some fabrics might shrink at a different rate than others won't be solved. They'll shrink, but wouldn't be stabilized by anything.

    Actually, you'll have more control over the shrinking if it's washed after it's quilted.

  13. #13
    Member quiltpassion's Avatar
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    Thanks you all sooooo much for your advice. I definitely will step away from the washing machine on this one.. I'll wait until after it is completed.... you all are great!!!

  14. #14
    Super Member k9dancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS
    STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE.

    PUT THE QUILT DOWN.

    Do not wash a quilt top before it's quilted.

    It's not that it will all fall apart, but it will be a mess to iron again, as the seam allowances are all over the place, and frayed.

    The fact that you think some fabrics might shrink at a different rate than others won't be solved. They'll shrink, but wouldn't be stabilized by anything.

    Actually, you'll have more control over the shrinking if it's washed after it's quilted.
    I agree 100%.

  15. #15
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    As others have said - washing it at this point will accomplish nothing positive.

    However - if - for some reason it is necessary to wash a quilt top because it got something unpleasant on it - swish it in a tub or sink - do not agitate it in a machine - run water through it or something - rinse gently - roll out in towels - dry on a rack or on towels on a floor -

    agitate as little as possible - there will still be annoyng fraying of the pieces, but it won't be a disaster - assuming all the fabrics were washed BEFORE cutting -

  16. #16
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by virtualbernie
    Quote Originally Posted by Sadiemae
    I am glad I rinsed mine without asking, or I probably would not have tried. lol
    Me thinks you were lucky! :lol: :lol: :lol:
    I gave it as a gift on Saturday and she loved it. I think the reason I could do it is because it was the rinse cycle, so it didn't agitate hard-just spun.

  17. #17
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Yikes!

    I would not wash the quilt top, *especially* if you think the fabrics may shrink differently from one another. Fabric shrinks differently when it is washed by itself and when it is washed as part of a quilt. When washed by itself, it will shrink to its fullest extent. When washed after it has been quilted to a batting, the batting will control the amount of shrinkage. A fabric cannot shrink more than the batting shrinks.

    If you simply must wash an unquilted top, the only safe way to do it is to first baste it to a foundation fabric. Otherwise you can end up with a distorted mess that has frayed seams.

    Also, you never want to wash a completed quilt top in Retayne. Retayne is used to permanently set color in fabric. If one of the fabric bleeds into another fabric, you may permanently set the bleed. Retayne should only be used on single fabrics, to set any unset color.

    Instead of Retayne, you would want to wash in Synthrapol. Synthrapol suspends unset dye particles in the water so they rinse away instead of settling into other fabrics. I do not prewash my fabrics (I do test suspicious fabrics for colorfastness and treat with Retayne if I find a bleeder fabric), but the first washing of any quilt I make is with Synthrapol. Any small bleeds (usually from over-saturation of dye in a fabric) will be rinsed away.

    In short, I would not wash the top until it has been well-quilted to a batting (i.e., not until it is a finished quilt), and then I would wash it in Synthrapol. To me, that is the safest approach.

  18. #18
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Yikes!

    I would not wash the quilt top, *especially* if you think the fabrics may shrink differently from one another. Fabric shrinks differently when it is washed by itself and when it is washed as part of a quilt. When washed by itself, it will shrink to its fullest extent. When washed after it has been quilted to a batting, the batting will control the amount of shrinkage. A fabric cannot shrink more than the batting shrinks.

    If you simply must wash an unquilted top, the only safe way to do it is to first baste it to a foundation fabric. Otherwise you can end up with a distorted mess that has frayed seams.

    Also, you never want to wash a completed quilt top in Retayne. Retayne is used to permanently set color in fabric. If one of the fabric bleeds into another fabric, you may permanently set the bleed. Retayne should only be used on single fabrics, to set any unset color.

    Instead of Retayne, you would want to wash in Synthrapol. Synthrapol suspends unset dye particles in the water so they rinse away instead of settling into other fabrics. I do not prewash my fabrics (I do test suspicious fabrics for colorfastness and treat with Retayne if I find a bleeder fabric), but the first washing of any quilt I make is with Synthrapol. Any small bleeds (usually from over-saturation of dye in a fabric) will be rinsed away.

    In short, I would not wash the top until it has been well-quilted to a batting (i.e., not until it is a finished quilt), and then I would wash it in Synthrapol. To me, that is the safest approach.

    Edit: Sorry for the double posting. The first post hung for so long I didn't think it would go through!

  19. #19
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS
    STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE.

    PUT THE QUILT DOWN.

    Do not wash a quilt top before it's quilted.

    It's not that it will all fall apart, but it will be a mess to iron again, as the seam allowances are all over the place, and frayed.

    The fact that you think some fabrics might shrink at a different
    rate than others won't be solved. They'll shrink, but wouldn't be stabilized by anything.

    Actually, you'll have more control over the shrinking if it's washed after it's quilted.
    Exactly Right! :thumbup: :thumbup:

  20. #20
    Power Poster blueangel's Avatar
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    Do not wash until it is quilted.

  21. #21
    Super Member TonnieLoree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltpassion
    I bought a quilt kit to make a child's quilt approximately 60" X 45". In the kit was a panel & various shapes & sizes of corresponding fabric. I made the mistake of NOT washing the fabric first!

    Anyway, while piecing, I noticed there was a variation of the type of fabric included. Some pieces were of a lower quality with lesser thread count. I am afraid of what it will look like (shrinkage) if I machine quilt then wash afterward. Plus I am now putting fray check on all the seams due to much raveling!

    Can I wash the quilt top on a hand wash setting in the washer in hot water with Retayne for 20 minutes or a warm water with the shout color catcher for less time? Would you help me on this before I really make a BIG boo boo?

    Patti
    Holy Moly Patti! Could you at least let us know where you bought this quilt kit from? It just doesn't seem right to get fabrics that you know were not nice to begin with. I know I don't want to go there.

  22. #22
    Member quiltpassion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonnieLoree
    Quote Originally Posted by quiltpassion
    I bought a quilt kit to make a child's quilt approximately 60" X 45". In the kit was a panel & various shapes & sizes of corresponding fabric. I made the mistake of NOT washing the fabric first!

    Anyway, while piecing, I noticed there was a variation of the type of fabric included. Some pieces were of a lower quality with lesser thread count. I am afraid of what it will look like (shrinkage) if I machine quilt then wash afterward. Plus I am now putting fray check on all the seams due to much raveling!

    Can I wash the quilt top on a hand wash setting in the washer in hot water with Retayne for 20 minutes or a warm water with the shout color catcher for less time? Would you help me on this before I really make a BIG boo boo?

    Patti
    Holy Moly Patti! Could you at least let us know where you bought this quilt kit from? It just doesn't seem right to get fabrics that you know were not nice to begin with. I know I don't want to go there.
    OH, DON'T WORRY, IT WAS A LOCAL QUILT SHOP. IT WAS A KIT THEY THREW TOGETHER - I THINK IT WAS A WAY TO GET RID OF SOME OF THEIR SLOW MOVING FABRIC. YOU LIVE & LEARN - WON'T DO THAT AGAIN! HOWEVER - THE FINISHED QUILT IS VERY, VERY CUTE (KITTY PANEL OF VARIOUS SIZE KITTIES). I JUST WANTED EVERYTHING TO BE PERFECT AS I BOUGHT NOT ONLY ONE KIT - I BOUGHT 4 (FUTURE CHRISTMAS [PRESENTS FOR MY FOUR YOUNGEST GRANDCHILDREN)!!! NOW I KNOW WHAT I SHOULD DO!

  23. #23
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    I agree! Wash after the quilting is done. You either wash the fabric before you start cutting it or you wash after the quilt is completed. You really don't want to mess with it before all layers are quilted. Not only will ironing be a mess, but the seams can pucker and edges fray. Not necessary to do a complete wash. I never do. I put the quilt in with the rinse cycle only and add a small amount of fabric softener.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Joan Gaddis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS
    STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE.

    PUT THE QUILT DOWN.

    Do not wash a quilt top before it's quilted.

    It's not that it will all fall apart, but it will be a mess to iron again, as the seam allowances are all over the place, and frayed.

    The fact that you think some fabrics might shrink at a different rate than others won't be solved. They'll shrink, but wouldn't be stabilized by anything.

    Actually, you'll have more control over the shrinking if it's washed after it's quilted.
    i agree! i washed one and it was a big mistake!lots or raveling. lesson learned!!!!

  25. #25
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    Like the others who have replied here, I do not wash my quilt tops until quilted and bound, but I will soak some pieces or fabrics in hot water to shrink them. Roll the pieces in a towel to absorb excess water and then lay flat to dry. That way, the fabric will shrink but not fray since you are not agitating it in the washer. The fabrics will be pretty flat and won't need to be ironed if you roll them carefully. Good luck.

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