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Thread: It's official......I'm allergic to fabric.............NOOOOOOOOO

  1. #26
    Super Member Rainy Day's Avatar
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    thanks LF

  2. #27
    Super Member C.Cal Quilt Girl's Avatar
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    So sorry to hear about your delima, but looks like somthing that can be worked around. thank goodness !! little fab softner sheets in the dryer and not on the highest heat setting, flop to straighten before going in the dryer helps too. or has worked for me.
    Good Luck !! :)

  3. #28
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Clip corners, wash on permanent press with no dye no perfume detergent, clorox 2, dry until dry, press, square up cut edges, fold, re-iron before cutting usually using starch.

    Works everytime for me.

    IMHO, this posting alone should convince folks to wash before sewing because allergies can and do happen 'overnight' so to speak, for those sewing and theise receiving.

  4. #29
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Mom had that too. She couldn't even go into a fabric store because the the smell from it made her deathly ill. Since she was a quilter my sisters and I did her shopping for her and prewashed everything before we gave it to her. Perhaps you have some friends or family close by that could come help you. I usually wash, dry, fold and press before I use. I know it's a pain but wash as many as you want at a time---make sure your dryer is only about 1/4-1/3 full and they'll come out less wrinkled.

  5. #30
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    How horrible being a quilter and all. That means that someone else in the family has to wash/dry your fabric for you. (Ha, ha???) Hopefully you have someone that can and will do that for you.

    I was on a gentle wash cycle shortly after I get the fabric. I too clip the corners of my fabric before I wash them. You could try pinking shears but I'm too lazy. I either cut the thread resulting from the unraveling when I fold and store or leave it until I am ready to use the material for a project and iron it at that time. If I have bad wrinkles, I may spritz with water and sometimes I have sprintz the fabric with water and put it in a ziplock bag and store it in the frig for about 1/2 hour before ironing. Now I am going to be using starch since I will be doing more foundation piecing.

    I just put my fabric away without ironing until I am ready to use it. I now use the ruler method that I saw of this board and it takes up a lot less space and I don't think it will leave as many creases. I try to fold it so that I do not have the same folds as the bolt folds.

    Hope the blisters heal quickly and that you can find someone to help you out with the washing.

  6. #31
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    A woman who goes to the retreat I attend each year is also allergic - and it's her livelihood. She tests and teaches for square in a square.

    Her solution? She wears rubber gloves! They aren't as heavy as the ones you use to do dishes, more like what the dentist or doctor uses.

  7. #32
    Senior Member ClairVoyantQuilter's Avatar
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    Repeated, heavy exposure to formaldehyde can cause such allergies to develop. You probably already know, but just incase . . .it's also found in many makeups, antiperspirants, creams, mouthwashes, etc as well as in the glue that holds particle board and plywood together (incase that's present in your sewing cabinet/table) and even in cigarette smoke, burning charcoal, etc.

    I usually serge or pink the cut ends of my fabric before washing (you could probably just wear non-latex gloves to handle. Be sure to use warm to hot water to ensure you get all the formaldehyde out of the fabric. I smooth my fabric out a bit before placing in the dryer then remove it while still damp and press.

  8. #33
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I heard about the formaldehyde ages ago when I worked in a fabric store. I also have allergies. Anything that touches my skin needs washing first. Fabric, clothes, sheets. The only thing I don't prewash is precut fabric.

  9. #34
    Super Member sewmuchmore's Avatar
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    That a real bummer!

  10. #35
    Super Member grandma Janice's Avatar
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    my sis, is allergic to new material so she made all her quilts out of used clothing. She made beautiful quilts until she began to lose her eyesight.

  11. #36
    Senior Member fryguymoore's Avatar
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    I am so sorry to hear this. I am glad you posted. I didn't realize there was formaldehyde in fabric. I am sensitive to all those other things people said formaldehyde is in : ( While quilting today I noticed that my face is all itchy and I didn't touch the cats at all today. I have never pre-washed my fabric becuase I hate doing it but I will now.

    I am glad pre-washing helps you.

  12. #37

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    I'm allergic to the formaldhyde as well. As well as any chemicals used in the dying process.
    I can only go fabric shopping(LQS) a couple times a year, and have to limit my time in the store. I wash all my fabric as soon as I get home in chemical free laundry soap. And use vinegar in my rinse water. Storing fabric in plastic containers is also bad. The formaldhyde gasses collect in the plastic container and contaminate the fabric. I store my fabric in wire baskets so the fabric can breath.

  13. #38
    Super Member pab58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter
    That sucks! At least you can still work with it after it's washed. I usually dry mine on regular dry and take it out as soon as the dryer beeps. I smooth it out by hand and fold. Pressing/ironing comes later when I need to use it.
    I follow this method, and I use pinking shears on the edges to help prevent fraying -- it's worked well for me. :wink: I'm so sorry about your allergy. :-( One thing is for sure: those who receive your quilts will appreciate them even more knowing what you had to go through to make them! 8-)

  14. #39

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    I don't know if you know it but there is formaldehyde in everything, that has fabric. Your carpet, furniture. I had a friend that bought a new house and had to resale it because of it.
    I used to work for JoAnn Fabrics. The formaldehyde is terrible when you open up the boxes of fabric. I had to quit. I am a liscensed cosmetologist but had to quit that years ago because of it. The headaches was terrible.
    I wash my fabric and dry completely then use spray starch when ironing. That way it puts some of the stiffness back into the fabric. It eliminates the wrinkles. It works well for me.

  15. #40
    Junior Member Justok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by natalieg
    The doctor confirmed it this morning!!!! I went in for allergy patch testing on Wednesday. They even made a few patches out of some of my fabrics! They did the preliminary testing today and will do the rest on Tuesday. They said normally they don't see many, if any, positives on the preliminary because it is so soon and this is a delayed test. She took off most of my patches and I had blisters on the one spot where the chemical was for the fabric treatment!
    I didn't know that they use formaldehyde to treat fabrics....yuck! But, lo and behold, I am allergic to it! They said that normally people that have this allergy can wash their fabrics at least twice and then the allergy is not as active. So, in the midst of wanting to reorganize my fabric, I guess now I get to take it all down, zig-zag the edges and wash them twice!!!
    For those of you that pre-wash your fabrics, do you take them out of the dryer when they are barely damp and iron them, or let them dry completely, then iron them? I have tried both ways awhile back and they came out pretty wrinkled for me. Even stayed wrinkled after I pressed them. Maybe I washed too many, but I don't want to do a few pieces at a time, unless I mix them with regular clothes (hate having a half empty washer).
    I have heard that serging them is easier and better, but don't have a serger.
    Any suggestions???????????
    Just curious, what were your alergy symtoms?

  16. #41
    Super Member natalieg's Avatar
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    Just curious, what were your alergy symtoms?[/quote]

    I have a rash on both hands that has been hanging around for a few months now. Sometimes it goes pretty dormant, but is still there, just not so visible. All of my fingertips have very dry skin on them and crack if I am not on top of it all the time. I can usually keep the cracking down to a minimum, but the dryness looks like tiny little razor cuts and the skin flakes off. It's disgusting to me cause my fingers feel like sandpaper. I always thought that was from back when I was a kid and used to do woodworking with my dad. After we stained the wood, we always would wash our hands with gas (didn't know any better and it worked)! The doctor says that is when it started with the sensitivity. It's taken just over 30 years to figure this out! I have already told my dad and sis as they suffer from it the same as me.
    The way I found out was they were trying to treat the rash on my hands and another rash and creams weren't working. So they decided to do a patch test.
    I know that unfortunately that particular formaldehyde is in many things, never had any other problems than just the hands. But, will do what I can to keep it to a dull roar. I have been washing and pressing and folding fabric all day! Completed just over 40 yards today between a bit of yardage and fatquarters!
    Thanks for the suggestions!

  17. #42
    Junior Member Ladymurphy's Avatar
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    I have had this problem for years. I wash it all. Just clip the corners.

  18. #43
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    I don't know why everyone keeps saying to clip the corners. I've tried it and not seen any appreciable difference. Maybe I'm not clipping enough? I just usually wash on delicate. On really thin/shreddy type fabric I will run a quick straight stitch down the raw edge. I do have a serger but never have had the need to use it on yardage unless it was handwoven.

    I also get a rash. Another disguised form of formaldehyde is formalin (that is the latest/greatest stuff used to preserve biological specimens these days. I react to it too). You will probably find you react more to ant bites as well. The venom from an ant is formic acid (the basic component in formaldehyde). Benedryl and an epipen are great friends (we have a lot of fire ants).

  19. #44
    Super Member mar32428's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by natalieg
    The doctor confirmed it this morning!!!! I went in for allergy patch testing on Wednesday. They even made a few patches out of some of my fabrics! They did the preliminary testing today and will do the rest on Tuesday. They said normally they don't see many, if any, positives on the preliminary because it is so soon and this is a delayed test. She took off most of my patches and I had blisters on the one spot where the chemical was for the fabric treatment!
    I didn't know that they use formaldehyde to treat fabrics....yuck! But, lo and behold, I am allergic to it! They said that normally people that have this allergy can wash their fabrics at least twice and then the allergy is not as active. So, in the midst of wanting to reorganize my fabric, I guess now I get to take it all down, zig-zag the edges and wash them twice!!!
    For those of you that pre-wash your fabrics, do you take them out of the dryer when they are barely damp and iron them, or let them dry completely, then iron them? I have tried both ways awhile back and they came out pretty wrinkled for me. Even stayed wrinkled after I pressed them. Maybe I washed too many, but I don't want to do a few pieces at a time, unless I mix them with regular clothes (hate having a half empty washer).
    I have heard that serging them is easier and better, but don't have a serger.
    Any suggestions???????????
    I'm allergic to it too. There was a shop in town years ago that I couldn't shop because I would start sneezing like crazy. Thot I was the only one.

  20. #45
    Super Member mar32428's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lab fairy
    I don't know why everyone keeps saying to clip the corners. I've tried it and not seen any appreciable difference. Maybe I'm not clipping enough? I just usually wash on delicate. On really thin/shreddy type fabric I will run a quick straight stitch down the raw edge. I do have a serger but never have had the need to use it on yardage unless it was handwoven.

    I also get a rash. Another disguised form of formaldehyde is formalin (that is the latest/greatest stuff used to preserve biological specimens these days. I react to it too). You will probably find you react more to ant bites as well. The venom from an ant is formic acid (the basic component in formaldehyde). Benedryl and an epipen are great friends (we have a lot of fire ants).
    Thanks for the info. Now I know why I react so badly to ant bites. I keep Benedryl handy too.

  21. #46
    Super Member Edie's Avatar
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    My mother told me when I first started quilting that cotton pulls the oils out of your skin and she keeps a little bottle of hand lotion on her table (as I now do). When she comes back to her sewing table or when she has been working on a quilt for a period of time, she stops, puts on a little hand lotion and rubs it in, stretches her back, legs and arms, and goes back to her quilt! So I have a bottle of hand lotion (you know the kind - the free bottles you get at a motel. I have even asked some of the maids if I could have a few extra bottles of hand lotion. I explained why - "I didn't know that and I quilt". So she throws me in a few extra bottles - I love Bath and Body lotions). Mine get particularly dry in the Minnesota winters, so for what it is worth.........

    I use my solar dryer all the time - not only for fabric!!!! Clothes work on that too!!!!!!

    Another thought - our son had allergies (a whole mess of them) and he had shots for them. Will you be having shots for this allergy and then will that not help you or is the super washing an alternative. Gary didn't have an alternative. Just wondering. Edie

  22. #47
    Super Member ksea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pieces
    I'm allergic to the formaldhyde as well. As well as any chemicals used in the dying process.
    I can only go fabric shopping(LQS) a couple times a year, and have to limit my time in the store. I wash all my fabric as soon as I get home in chemical free laundry soap. And use vinegar in my rinse water. Storing fabric in plastic containers is also bad. The formaldhyde gasses collect in the plastic container and contaminate the fabric. I store my fabric in wire baskets so the fabric can breath.
    Oh my gosh I had never thought about this but it make awesome sense, mine is even in black garbage bags inside the plastic totes. Also one of my DGD was really sensitive and would break out from fabric/clothes and I started washing everything of hers in Dreft and all her sensitvity went away. I know it is kind of expensive but I keep a bottle of it just for fabric and towels and I find it is the only thing that takes the smell of perfume and scented soaps out of the towels.

  23. #48

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    If you do wash before sewing the edges, save the threads and when you have enough, make something with them. Arrange a pattern and put netting over them and quilt them down. Add buttons, lace or what ever. Cotton has always been known to wrinkle no matter how you wash or dry. I don't iron till needed and then I use magic sizing, roll them up and put in a baggie for a day for the moisture to spread. Good Luck!

  24. #49
    Super Member damaquilts's Avatar
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    I always wondered what it was that makes me sneeze like crazy and get a roaring headache any time I go in a fabric store. Now I know. I knew it was the fabrics but didn't know what was on it. Yuck! one thing I use to cut the edges that no one has mentioned is the zig zag blade on the rotary cutter. Saves my hands big time. But most times I forget to do anything and just throw it in the washer on gentle and shake it out, pull off big lumps of thread and toss it in the dryer. I wish we had a solar dryer here sometimes I would love it. I also don't iron until I am ready to use it even though I just made a big ironing board top. I don't use big lengths of fabric lately just small pieces so its easier.

  25. #50
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    To attack the wrinkles without using starch I use a little white vinegar in filtered water, put it in a spray bottle. The vinegar evaporates and the smell goes away. Do not like to store fabric with starch in it but do like to get some wrinkles out.

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