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Thread: Fabric washers

  1. #1
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    Fabric washers

    This is for the people that wash long lengths of fabric. I don't know if it was on this board or some where else but they talked about how to wash long lengths of fabric without them getting all balled up in you washer and dryer. I usually buy a bolt of black cotton fabric and then use Retayne. But by the time I get it dryed I have a tangled mess sometimes. Any suggestions on how do this differently?
    As I have grown older, I've learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.

  2. #2
    Super Member Onebyone's Avatar
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    I let it damp dry then iron it. I wash on handwash cycle so no threads ravel.
    I love my life!

  3. #3
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    Yes. Fold the fabric loosely as if it is on an imaginary fabric board. Using large safety pins, pin 4-6 layers together at the top of the "bolt", and the bottom of the "bolt". Use safety pins liberally (like about 20) so it stays together but it is still loose. Run through the Washer and dryer in this manner and you won't get tangled.

  4. #4
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Quilter View Post
    Yes. Fold the fabric loosely as if it is on an imaginary fabric board. Using large safety pins, pin 4-6 layers together at the top of the "bolt", and the bottom of the "bolt". Use safety pins liberally (like about 20) so it stays together but it is still loose. Run through the Washer and dryer in this manner and you won't get tangled.
    I do similar to this, but accordian fold mine into about 10" pleats and put about 4 safety pins across the top and bottom; and when I take it out of the washer I shake it gently to get it to hang back into the "pleats" before putting it into the dryer. (I have never done more than 10 metres this way)

  5. #5
    Junior Member Quilter 53's Avatar
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    Thanks for the question and answers. I'm always shrinking yardage (quilting fabric and other fabric for costumes). Can't wait to give this tip a try.

  6. #6
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    I overcast the raw ends before washing the fabric.

    I also take it out of the dryer a couple of times to unwad it while it is drying.

  7. #7
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i like the fold and pin method
    Nancy in western NY
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  8. #8
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I prefer to use the serger and overlock each end.
    Using a zig zag stitch on the sewing machine works just as well.
    The accordion thing didn't work for me. Maybe I'm a bit anal
    but I prefer the fabric to be loose so it washes evenly.
    Not sure I would wash a whole bolt of fabric at once.
    That's a lot of fabric. I guess it would depend on the size
    of the washing machine.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Battle Axe's Avatar
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    I give up and make manageable one yard or so pieces out of lengths.

  10. #10
    Super Member mjsylvstr's Avatar
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    I have sewn the two ends together with long basting stitches and have also trimmed the ends with my pinking shears..both have worked for me.

  11. #11
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    If it's a very long piece like I would use for backing then I do a loose pleat fold and run a basting stitch through the raw edges. You can also put raw edge to raw edge and do a basting stitch. I usually buy and extra 1/4 yard for shrinkage and you would have a few scraps left. Also buy the extra for mishaps. I use color catchers and white terry cloth towels to absorb bleeds. the white can always be bleached later and are great for pressing cloths.

  12. #12
    Super Member juliea9967's Avatar
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    I use a pinking blade on my rotary cutter to trim the ends. It is quick and fast and works well.

  13. #13
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    I think I know the posting you're talking about. They talked about sewing the cut ends together so that it forms a tube, rather than just zig-zagging each cut end. I tried it the last time I had to wash yardage and it worked great! All that's needed when you're done is to iron the sewn edge and cut off the end about 1/8".
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  14. #14
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    I also think that it is important that the machine tub be large enough so the fabric can move freely in it.

    It is the abrasion of the fabric that makes it look used when it is washed.

  15. #15
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    Oh good grief!!! Why didn't I think of fold/pin techinque? I'm always fighting with a wadded up ball of fabric and loose threads when it comes out of the drier...and then to add insult to injury, I have to dampen it to iron it flat! Great tip!
    Penny

  16. #16
    Senior Member mhollifiel's Avatar
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    That accordion fold method got on my last nerve so I tried this method and machine basted the two ends together. This is the ANSWER!! So easy. And I can unsew the joined end easily since I seem to have be an expert at unsewing! IMHO, this is the very best way to wash long lengths of fabric trouble free and easy. Win-Win!
    Quote Originally Posted by ArtsyOne View Post
    I think I know the posting you're talking about. They talked about sewing the cut ends together so that it forms a tube, rather than just zig-zagging each cut end. I tried it the last time I had to wash yardage and it worked great! All that's needed when you're done is to iron the sewn edge and cut off the end about 1/8".
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  17. #17
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    For those times when you want to wash long yardage ( more than 2 yards) the accordion fold and pinning the selvages with very large safety pins has worked well for me. I trim the cut edges with pinking shears or baste stitch them if you don't have pinkers.

    Then fold the fabric and use large safety pins every four inches along the selvage edge to hold all together.

    After it comes out of the washer it may look a mess, leave the pins in and shake the fabric out.

    If you are drying it in a dryer just pop it in or dry it on a cloths line. It was a brilliant idea which I learned so long ago I don't remember who it was but Kay Wood comes to mind.

    peace

    EDIT: A good reason for doing this sometimes is if you are using a border print in a quilt you don't want to piece it together for length. Having a nice single piece looks better.
    Last edited by ube quilting; 04-19-2017 at 03:18 AM.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by thimblebug6000 View Post
    I do similar to this, but accordian fold mine into about 10" pleats and put about 4 safety pins across the top and bottom; and when I take it out of the washer I shake it gently to get it to hang back into the "pleats" before putting it into the dryer. (I have never done more than 10 metres this way)
    This is the way I do mine. Learned from this awesome board.

  19. #19
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    I sew the ends with a zig-zag stitch and then accordion pleat the folds and pin each end through the selvedge. There is no balling up twisting into knots, so I highly recommend this method.

  20. #20
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    I run my washer on the extra gentle for the wash- very slow agitation. I still do a high spin. Washed as much as 7 yards of extra wide backing and it wasn't a problem getting it out of the wash and into the dryer.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Helen6869's Avatar
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    I'm sorry but I don't see the need to wash a whole bolt of fabric at once. Why not cut what you need for a project and then wash it? Seems a lot simpler to me. I wash my backings as they are and they do pretty well. Lots of pressing with any large piece. That's when I starch it and have never had too much shrinkage and I don't think bleeding.

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