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Thread: Do you prewash and why?

  1. #1
    Miss Mona's Avatar
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    I do not prewash, especially fat quarters. I am in the process of making a quilt. Most of the solid pieces were fat quarters and the background was $5.00 white muslin. I piece my pattern and then quilt the block and finally put it together. While I was piecing a particular block with dark blue (my quilt is all white with various blues as the pattern) some of the blue dye stained my fingers.

    I knew I had to get the blocks washed before it was put together so the blue would not fade to the white.. I zigzagged the edges and soaked all the blocks in my tub with lots of vinegar, agitated on delicates and then rewashed to get the vinegar out. I then put in dryer on delicate. I had no place to lay them out, had 72 blocks, so did dry completely.

    Then I measured. The blocks were 12 1/2" when they went in and some were as small as 11 1/2" when they came out. I got out some spray starch and ironed and ironed and got most of them back to a 12" size.

    Would this make be prewash from now on. No. Even with this problem, I can work around it.

  2. #2
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Sorry, I don't understand this posting and what it's supposed to mean! If you'd rather go through all that vinegar washing, zig zag sewing etc. rather than just throwing it in the washer and dryer....I don't get it.

  3. #3
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    I always pre-wash. If its a FQ try putting in a lingerie bag and put on delicate cycle in machine. It does help with less fraying.

  4. #4
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    I always prewash, for several reasons, the main one being getting the shrinking done before I sew. That being said, you will find as many that do not wash as do. Except for flannels. They ALWAYS need to be prewashed because they do shrink a lot! But the choice is up to you. You may want to test for bleeding, especially on the reds, and some blues.

  5. #5
    bj
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    Super Member bj's Avatar
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    I always wash flannels. I don't wash FQ's. And it's hit or miss on everything else. Depends on how much time I have or how I'm feeling.

  6. #6
    Super Member Maggiemay's Avatar
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    I'm a pre-washer. After incidents of shrinking and bleeding I always pre wash.

  7. #7
    Junior Member BATIKQLTR's Avatar
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    I ALWAYS wash my fabric, especially if it is for children. The dyes make me sneeze continuously so it is kind of an allergy thing. I put the FQs in a lingerie bag or use the pinking rotary blade and just quickly pink the edges. I try to catch the dryer before it is done so there is very little wrinkling before folding.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Mona
    I do not prewash, especially fat quarters. I am in the process of making a quilt. Most of the solid pieces were fat quarters and the background was $5.00 white muslin. I piece my pattern and then quilt the block and finally put it together. While I was piecing a particular block with dark blue (my quilt is all white with various blues as the pattern) some of the blue dye stained my fingers.

    I knew I had to get the blocks washed before it was put together so the blue would not fade to the white.. I zigzagged the edges and soaked all the blocks in my tub with lots of vinegar, agitated on delicates and then rewashed to get the vinegar out. I then put in dryer on delicate. I had no place to lay them out, had 72 blocks, so did dry completely.

    Then I measured. The blocks were 12 1/2" when they went in and some were as small as 11 1/2" when they came out. I got out some spray starch and ironed and ironed and got most of them back to a 12" size.

    Would this make be prewash from now on. No. Even with this problem, I can work around it.
    What you just stated is precisely WHY I prewash my fabrics.

    I kind of think not pre-washing fabrics before cutting them is a lot like not using one's seat belts.

    Most of the time there will not be an issue.

    Or like having unprotected sex with a stranger.

    Or not washing your dishes after the dog licks them off before putting them back in the cupboard.

    It just seems so much simpler and easier to avoid the hassle ahead of time ("a stitch in time saves nine" sort of thing) than to try to fix it later.

    For me, it's a case of spending maybe 1/2 an hour preparing the fabrics for a quilt, and avoiding HOURS of trying to "make do".

    But - it is your choice to wash or not wash your fabrics before cutting.

  9. #9
    Super Member oatw13's Avatar
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    I always prewash. I like to see how a fabric will look when it is washed and how it holds up in the wash. I have had a few surprises along the way!

    Fabrics are also treated with many chemicals, not just dyes. Those chemicals are terrible for you to breathe in and work with. Recently, I have had some "good" fabric that I washed that had the most awful smell AFTER I washed it. After about 10 washings, the chemicals and smell still wouldn't come out. If I had not washed it first, I never would have known.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by oatw13
    I always prewash. I like to see how a fabric will look when it is washed and how it holds up in the wash. I have had a few surprises along the way!

    Fabrics are also treated with many chemicals, not just dyes. Those chemicals are terrible for you to breathe in and work with. Recently, I have had some "good" fabric that I washed that had the most awful smell AFTER I washed it. After about 10 washings, the chemicals and smell still wouldn't come out. If I had not washed it first, I never would have known.
    I just had some black and whites - more black than white - and SOME of them turned the water a lovely dark teal! Eventually the water rinsed "clear enough"

    One of them had this really strange smell when it was wet - sort of like diesel fuel. The smell disappeared when it was dried.

  11. #11
    Senior Member vivientan's Avatar
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    I always pre-wash my fabrics before quilting, except precuts like charm squares. This is especially important for colours like red, blue and black. I can't take the risk of them bleeding onto the surrounding colours after spending months on a beautiful quilt. To prevent fraying, I do a small triangular cut on each corner. This works for me.

  12. #12
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    sometimes i do, most times I don't. I wash the blues and reds and darks, etc. Shout color catchers are AWESOME!

  13. #13
    Beginner64's Avatar
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    If I was going to pre-wash my fabric I would do so before cutting the pieces to size and would also press before cutting.

  14. #14
    Super Member starshine's Avatar
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    I always pre-wash and all my fabrics no matter how small. My reasons, 1.If it is going to shrink it will before I use it, when I piece and quilt it, there won't be the tension on the threads pulling my stitching apart that would be if it isn't prewashed and shrinks in the finished project. 2. when I prewash I toss in the shout color catcher, and whatever dyes are released they won't be ruining my finished project.
    I wash fabrics before putting them in with my stash. Sometimes with towels, or sheets, other times with regular laundry, and sometimes if I have a lot to wash I'll do a load of just the fabrics. I often will use a 2nd rinse too.

    If I am spending my time to make a quilt or wall hanging I'd prefer to give it a fair chance to last as long as possible.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Aully's Avatar
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    I just had a big mess with Hand dies bleeding all over my reindeer fabrics. I did not make the hand dies I bought them. I washed all the red fabrics together and the hand dies turned my reindeer fabric pepto pink. I even used Retayne in the wash cycle. I will from now on always wash hand dyes and batiks before using them. :)

  16. #16
    Super Member mollymct's Avatar
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    Almost always--exception precut charm squares. I want to minimize surprises. Enough little issues crop up anyway!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mollymct
    Almost always--exception precut charm squares. I want to minimize surprises. Enough little issues crop up anyway!
    My Mom had bought a collection of 5 inch squares. Either from Keepsake Quilting or Connecting Threads -

    Most of them washed up nicely - there was one piece that shrank to 4.5 inches. That's at least 10% shrinkage.

    Which is why I usually avoid buying precuts.

  18. #18
    quiltluvr's Avatar
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    I prewash too for the same basic obvious reasons stated. But it's also a relaxing kind of thing for me too. Since I buy my fabs with no real project in mind, washing, ironing, folding, organizing it, etc., lets me enjoy the pieces that much more and allows me more time to think about what I could potentially make with it.

    Guess it's my private bonding time with my new additions. :lol:

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfkitty
    I always prewash, for several reasons, the main one being getting the shrinking done before I sew. That being said, you will find as many that do not wash as do. Except for flannels. They ALWAYS need to be prewashed because they do shrink a lot! But the choice is up to you. You may want to test for bleeding, especially on the reds, and some blues.
    I agree on prewashing flannels because they always shrink, and my experience is that most muslins will shrink as well. so while I don't normally pre-wash, I do on both flannels and muslins (unless it says "pre-shrunk" on the bolt!

  20. #20
    Senior Member Baysidegal's Avatar
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    I always prewash...Yesterday I had a bunch of 5" charms to wash..when I fished them all helter skelter out of the washing machine, I decided to put them in a net bag before puting them in the dryer...Well that didn't work,they were all over the place again, but my Mom and I had a lot of fun stacking them up again...

  21. #21
    quiltluvr's Avatar
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    Don't know if you tried this, but with charms, just soak them in the sink, if you must prewash. You can put a color catcher in, with hot water, a squirt of detergent, swish and let soak. Rinse and lay flat on a towel to air dry. Then you won't have all that mess to deal with from the agitation of the washer or the tumbling in the dryer.

    Just a thought.

  22. #22
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    This is an area that even the 'pros' have different opinions!!!
    I do not prewash unless it is a dark fabric and I always air dry outside. I bought an expensive red and it bled and bled. Bought a red at Wally World for $4.99 a yard and it did not bleed at all. I tested DMC red embroidery thread for redwork and I was amazed at how much it bled.

  23. #23
    everybody's mother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace
    Sorry, I don't understand this posting and what it's supposed to mean! If you'd rather go through all that vinegar washing, zig zag sewing etc. rather than just throwing it in the washer and dryer....I don't get it.
    Hey, that was a little snippy. She was just answering the question. That is just the way she does it. Let's play nice

    :cry:

  24. #24
    Super Member mmonohon's Avatar
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    I pre-wash all my fabric. But I do not prewash my flannels (I like it when they shrink after washing-personal preference.)

  25. #25
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by everybody's mother
    Quote Originally Posted by Candace
    Sorry, I don't understand this posting and what it's supposed to mean! If you'd rather go through all that vinegar washing, zig zag sewing etc. rather than just throwing it in the washer and dryer....I don't get it.
    Hey, that was a little snippy. She was just answering the question. That is just the way she does it. Let's play nice

    :cry:
    Not snippy at all. She started the topic and wasn't answering any questions. I still don't get the topic! Don't feel like you have to be my mommy and scold me(everybodys mother indeed).

    :hunf:

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