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Thread: How do you prep your fabric?

  1. #51
    Senior Member Donnamarie's Avatar
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    I've been quilting for 32 yrs and at the beginning, I used to prewash everything. I don't anymore except for maybe if I am using a really dense color like red. That is the only fabric I have used that has run. The fabric quality is much better than it used to be with minimal shrinkage. Why do all that work, ironing a large piece of fabric is such a pain. When washing a completed quilt, I just love the crinkled look.
    Donnamarie

  2. #52
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    I think Michael Miller and Moda are considered to be "better" by many quilters.

    The Michael Miler jet black - a wonderful black - shrank over two inches widthwise when I prepped it. (From three different bolts purchased at different times.)

    A Moda red print - put out a lot of red and turned the selvage from white to pink.
    A Moda intense yellow - put out a LOT of color. Interestingly enough, the dark red, green, and brown from the same line did NOT.

  3. #53
    Super Member grammysharon's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    This is what I do also although I use Best Press not starch. I like knowing that my fabric won't bleed or shrink after it is in my quilt!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Nammie to 7 View Post
    I prewash all my fabric -- if for nothing more than to get all the chemicals out of it. I dry it in the dryer but do not iron i. I then ruler fold it and put it in the right drawer. I iron the fabric just before I use it. Then I will also use starch. I'm not going to waste my time ironing right after washing if I'm going to put it away. It will need to be ironed before it is cut anyway.
    A quilt is a blanket of love. Sharon

  4. #54
    Super Member Quiltngolfer's Avatar
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    I prewash most of my fabric before I start a quilt. I like to get rid of the chemicals before I handle the fabric. I don't usually wash it until I am ready to make the quilt. After washing, I starch and iron the fabric. I actually like to starch and iron.

  5. #55
    Member hautewife's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone! Collectively, you have helped me work through what I believe will work best for me. Given my son's skin sensitivities (and the thought of bugs), I 'm going to pre-wash my fabrics. While I am at it, I figure there is no harm in throwing in a color catcher. Currently, I don't anticipate stockpiling a lot of fabric because I don't have any place to store it. Truth be told, I'm still searching for a place to store my machine and sewing supplies, lol. Thus, I will be buying only what I need for whatever project I am actively working on.

    For my first project, I am going to test out using Magic Sizing (is that the same as starch?). I was able to find it Walmart for about a $1. As a beginner, I'm thinking it will be easier to work with the fabric if it is stiffer. In the near future, perhaps for my second project even, I will see how it goes without the starch.

    Thanks again for all of your wonderful answers!
    Live. Love. Laugh.

  6. #56
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    Unless I buy a precut kit (rare), I always wash my fabric. In the summer I line dry, in the winter it goes in my dryer - no fabric softener. I fold it carefully and put it with my stash. When I am ready to use it, I press it with starch. Reasons: washing - I hate the thought of the pesticides that are sprayed on fabric in the warehouse coming into my home - allergies and possible carcinogens; bleeding - I know that they dyes of today are good, but I frequently get some lovely colors floating around in the rinse water and I would be so mad if a finished quilt bled and ruined all my hard work! Starch puts some body back into the fabric, making it a little (or a lot, depending on how much starch I use) stiffer and therefore easier to cut and piece, and really reduces the stretch when I am working with bias edges. Starch also helps my seams lay flatter and I don't get so many flipped over seams when piecing blocks or putting blocks together.

  7. #57
    Junior Member sewmini's Avatar
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    I prewash fabric a lot now. It is mostly because I am concerned about the chemicals and bacteria that can be in and on the fabric. When we stop to think about it we know our fabrics have come from foreign places an who knows what they have encountered. Having had cancer I am cautious.

  8. #58
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cathy77 View Post
    I don't prewash. I'm too lazy! There, I said it!

    But seriously, I asked the lady in my LQS and she said that it's not necessary any longer with new fabrics. However, if it is a very colour intense fabric (e.g. a red batik) she dunks the edge into a glass of boiled water, if it doesn't shed colour, you're ok to use it like this, otherwise pre-wash. She advised me to just iron the fabrics with lots of steam as it's apparently the heat that makes fabric shrink. I do that now.

    And if I feel that the fabric is a little flimsy and not stiff enough for my taste I also starch them (before cutting and sometimes when pressing seams as well). Also, when I know that I'll be working with bias cut pieces I use more starch.
    I do basically what you do--except instead of dunking questionable fabric in water, my LQS said to rub white paper vigorously over the fabric--if you see any trace of color, then wash. I also typically pull fabric out of dryer damp to press.

  9. #59
    Super Member NikkiLu's Avatar
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    I saw a video of how batiks were made in Bali - and very little men were standing in vats of water stomping on the fabric to get out the excess dye, etc. and the men had shorts on and the men and shorts (think crotch) were all wet. So, I wash all batiks that I buy, no matter what the brand, etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by sewmini View Post
    I prewash fabric a lot now. It is mostly because I am concerned about the chemicals and bacteria that can be in and on the fabric. When we stop to think about it we know our fabrics have come from foreign places an who knows what they have encountered. Having had cancer I am cautious.
    Nikki in MO

  10. #60
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    As far as fabric and thread quality goes - now as compared to years ago -

    Why do some threads say boilfast? I don't think any threads say that now?

    There was not-so-great fabric available years ago - there was luxurious fabric available years ago -

    As there is now.

  11. #61
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    When I started quilting I just couldn't wait to get my project underway, however I am now more inclined to prepare fabrics. I will wash and iron yardage but as I don't use precuts very often I probably would not launder them before use. I have very recently been persuaded to use starch in my next project as several quilters indicate it is helpful. I offer no advice other than maybe try it and if it doesn't make any difference then go with what makes you happy.

  12. #62
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    I always prewash my fabrics because I would not want my quilt ruined by the colours running when I washed it. White on whites seem to go very limp after washing so I starch the hell out of them. Just my 2 cents worth
    Sheena

  13. #63
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    I prewash if the fabric is a bright colour to stop the dye running.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  14. #64
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    I usually lay them all out and then give them a good motivational speech. They're usually prepped after that.
    I promise not to buy any more fabric until I see something I really like. Or it's on sale. Or I think it might match something.

  15. #65
    Senior Member Prissnboot's Avatar
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    I admit it, I'm a avid pre-washer. I zigzag along the cut edges of the fabric, then wash in the hottest water and dry on highest heat. I'll iron it if I'm using it immediately; otherwise, I just put it away until needed. I always iron before cutting, and I starch while I iron, so I figure why waste time ironing it twice...unless it's particularly wrinkled when coming out of the dryer - then I will iron without starch to avoid creases.
    She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight.

  16. #66
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    I pre-wash all my fabrics. Mainly to get out all the chemicals and other junk that is used in other countries where it is made. Also for shrinkage and bleeding. When you read about washing your clothes before wearing, I will wash all fabric to.

  17. #67
    Senior Member gram2five's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nammie to 7 View Post
    I prewash all my fabric -- if for nothing more than to get all the chemicals out of it. I dry it in the dryer but do not iron i. I then ruler fold it and put it in the right drawer. I iron the fabric just before I use it. Then I will also use starch. I'm not going to waste my time ironing right after washing if I'm going to put it away. It will need to be ironed before it is cut anyway.
    This is exactly what I do. I don't like the smell of most fabrics when I get them home, but love it when they are freshly laundered.

  18. #68
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    I pre wash everything because all the material makes me sneeze depending on where I've purchased the material. I do it while I have other things going on. I pre iron also while I have someone on speaker phone. I've usually got something going while doing something else. One day DH walked in and I had the washer and dryer going and was on the phone and ironing. I was also winding bobbins. I try to get a few things going at one time but it doesn't always work that way.

  19. #69
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    I prewash and set blacks,reds and sometimes greens

  20. #70
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    With few exceptions, and as much as I dislike ironing clothing, I do prewash all my fabrics, with just an occasional exception, and if I don't get to the fabric when it comes out of the dryer, I will spritz them with water, set up the ironing board with my favorite TV program and it makes the time go faster, and I wind up with freshly ironed and folded fabric ready to put away.

  21. #71
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    I always pre-wash yardage and fat quarters. Then I iron the fabric and either put on my shelves or if a fat quarter, put into my fat quarter storage containers. When I am ready to make a quilt, the fabric is ready to cut and use. I rarely starch fabric as I assemble a quilt or other project because I like the feel of fabric without the starch. I know many quilters do not pre-wash fabrics and whatever works for others is fine for them. I prefer to work with pre-washed fabrics.

  22. #72
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    I prewash all 100% cotton fabric before using it. I use warm water and very very little detergent. If the colors are to bleed I want them to bleed in wash and rinse water instead of when washing the finished product! I dry the fabric using a medium heat. I want the fabric to be treated as if it were in the final product so all the bleeding and shrinking is done before hand. Sometimes I just use the rinse cycle, but I always dry the fabric in the dryer. This applies to 100% cotton quilting fabric which I usually get in a quilt store. One time I had some Walmart fabric...white and blue with a bit of red and that red bled and bled and bled.
    Hello from Shenandoah Valley, VA. Quilting a few years. Love the process of creating the quilt top, but don't like making the sandwich of top, batting and backing as much. We have two Labrador Retrievers, a yellow and a chocolate. Blessings to all!

  23. #73
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    I see that it is folded straight and then lay it out and cut it. So far that's worked for me. froggyintexas

  24. #74
    Super Member AngeliaNR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesspug View Post
    I usually lay them all out and then give them a good motivational speech. They're usually prepped after that.
    Thanks for the laugh this morning--I needed it! I'm off to motivate my fabric now.
    Courtesy is not optional.

    http://theeclecticabuela.blogspot.com/

  25. #75
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    I prewash flannel twice but not anthing else. I do press before using it. I only use starch or best press for small pieces or stubborn wringles.

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