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Can you show me what quilts look like that have fabric prewashed and not prewashed? >

Can you show me what quilts look like that have fabric prewashed and not prewashed?

Can you show me what quilts look like that have fabric prewashed and not prewashed?

Old 05-04-2014, 07:23 AM
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Default Can you show me what quilts look like that have fabric prewashed and not prewashed?

I have been sewing away making quilt tops for 3 years now and the only completely finished quilts I have are ones that I did prewash the fabric and gave as gifts. Those didn't crinkle much but they were made of darker fabrics and the look is probably different on lighter fabrics.

All my other quilt tops which I am slowly starting to get quilted have not been prewashed (the fabric before piecing). I am wondering what they will look like after they are washed?? I read a post a few days ago and she was disappointed at how wrinkled the quilt ended up and she mentioned something about not prewashing the batting (I couldn't tell from her post if she had prewashed the fabric).

If you use a LAQ and they use batting off the roll, then you will never get prewashed batting. Would you purchase your own batting and prewash it before sending to the LAQ? I can't undo the quilt tops I already have finished but would like to understand the differences in looks before I proceed making tops without prewashing. Thanks for any help you can give me.
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Old 05-04-2014, 07:44 AM
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Cotton batting shrinks when washed, so any quilt made with it will get a puffy look, whether the top fabric has been prewashed or not. Poly batting does not shrink.
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Old 05-04-2014, 07:46 AM
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I've been making quilts for many, many years- I have never pre-washed a batting- to me that seems like a lot of work when it's easy enough to just buy a batting that does not shrink more than I would want. as for- pre-washed vs. not.... many things determine how much a quilt will shrink when it is laundered- the fabrics, that batting, the density of the quilting, how it is laundered all play a role. I've made many quilts that had both pre-washed and unwashed fabrics in them- I've never had one come out (horribly wrinkled). even quilts that contain flannels and regular cottons together have come out just fine. if you make an all cotton quilt- use an heirloom type cotton batting (that says to quilt it every 2") and you launder it in warm water & tumble dry it- it will (crinkle- look like an old, antique quilt) people who make that style of quilt & use that type of batting generally do it because that is the look they want. batting packages tell you how much shrinkage you can expect- also the density of quilting the batting requires. if you make your quilt, have it quilted to the minimum recommended density- launder it gently on cool & tumble dry it on low heat it won't shrink much at all. generally I pre-wash if I have a bleeder- other than that I don't always worry about it (I pre-wash if a fabric smells funky, feels funky or has saturated color that wants to bleed) I mix batiks with flannels, and lots of other combinations- and I choose the batting with the properties I want. my favorite is Wool batting & it does not shrink as much as cotton. browse the pictures category here- you will find lots of quilts that have both washed & not- (my backyard gathering quilt is wool applique on black flannel- nothing was pre-washed- beyond the wools being felted; the flannel background was not pre-washed- in the pictures it has been laundered a couple times-- my Connecticut quilts are all regular cottons- nothing pre-washed except the reds used in the appliques the quilts have been laundered in the pictures- after completion.
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Old 05-04-2014, 07:54 AM
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Prewash for dyes that might run.
A quilted quilt is going to pull up a bit after washing.
Charms and other precuts I do not wash before quilting.
So far have not had any problems after washing a quilt when finished.
I put my batting in the dryer for a few minutes to get the fold lines out but do not wash it.
I don't know if thread shrinks or not. I use Coats and Clarks and Connecting Threads mostly.
I don't mind the slight shrinkage that occurs after washing. Looks fine to me.
I have combined pre cuts (not washed) and yardage that is prewashed. Cant see any difference after quilt is washed. I use 80/20 batting and I think that is what shrinks a little.

Last edited by Rose Marie; 05-04-2014 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 05-04-2014, 09:52 AM
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Whether the fabric is prewashed or not actually has very little effect on the finished quilt. What determines the "crinkled" look is the batting. If you do not want any crinkling, then use polyester batting which does not shrink. Once quilted, the batting will control how much the fabric can shrink. A moderately quilted quilt with poly batting will not allow the fabric to shrink more than the batting shrinks, so with poly batting you get virtually no fabric shrinkage.

Decades ago I used prewashed fabric and cotton batting for my first quilt. I was astonished at how much it crinkled! Took it to a quilt shop to ask if that was normal and found out it is. Over the years, I realized that almost all of the vintage quilts I looked at had that crinkling -- it just looked softer. This is because fabric colors fade, soften and blend over the years, and cotton batting gets softer with each washing. By the time you look at a vintage quilt, everything looks (and is!) very soft and inviting.

Quilts hung at quilt shows have often never been washed (especially the award winning quilts!). Beginning quilters don't realize that a quilt will look different before and after washing -- especially if cotton batting or other shrinkable batting (wool batting, for example, typically shrinks just like cotton) is used.

Also, many of us have become accustomed to the look of commercial comforters -- the smooth, highly puffy look.

In short, if you really do not want crinkling, then either (1) use polyester batting, or (2) use a wool or cotton batting that is capable of being pre-washed and pre-shrunk. You need to check the specifics of the batting to determine whether it is safe to preshrink it or not. Older style battings that were not needle punched typically fall apart in water. Needlepunched cotton battings and the good brands of wool batting (Hobbs and Quilter's Dream) can all be preshrunk as long as you are careful not to allow agitation during the wash cycle.

Edit: I want to caution that tied quilts will not respond the same way to fabric that is not prewashed. With moderate quilting, the three layers "become one" and the batting takes control of shrinkage. Tied quilts do not really make the three layers into one, so batting cannot control the shrinkage. In that case, the individual fabrics will all shrink at their own rates, just as if they were washed on their own.
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:02 AM
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One other thing, if you don't want krinkled quilts.

If you use high quality polyester batting (I like Hobbs Polydown) the poly will last a long time even through constant washing. Most any poly batting will beard (fibers from the batting migrate through the fabric), but I have dark quilts with a bit of bearding and it's not obvious unless you look for it. And it's not bad at all.

The only person who looks microscopically at a quilt is the quilt's maker and the quilt's judge. The rest of us seem them as beautiful...
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:59 PM
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Prism99--Thank you so much for your comprehensive and very informative post. That is really helpful. The last batch of quilts I had quilted were done with 100% cotton so I know to expect a crinkled look when I wash them. The other 3 that have been quilted, I think may have used an 80/20 blend but I'm not positive. It sounds like I want to specifically request a poly batting next time so I can compare the looks. Thanks again.
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Old 05-04-2014, 03:58 PM
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Having just come back from the big Paducah Quilt Show, where I saw probably hundreds of "new" quilts and my guess is that NONE of them were washed after they were quilted. They were all NOT WRINKLED or whatever you want to call it. They were all very flat and smooth. However, the overall winning quilt was hand quilted. You can google to see a picture of it - I don't think I can put a picture of it on here.
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:07 AM
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I never pre wash anything - batiks included. I use lots of color catchers. I don't get many runs, but if I do I use Oxy and more color catchers. I've never had a problem. That being said, I do not pre wash because I love the crinkles I get from the slight shrinkage. Ages it just right.
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:40 AM
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I don't know if they look different or not. I just prewash all fabrics. I want to make sure the fabric will be suitable for using in quilts.
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