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Thread: Need help please! Yards and yards of wet fabric

  1. #1
    Junior Member cindyw's Avatar
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    I found this forum the other day and have been reading here and there and really enjoying it. You guys are great! I hadn't planned on making any posts but I have an emergency.

    I moved my sewing room to our basement. I'm in south Texas and basements aren't very common and maybe they don't know to make them here because ours leaks. The hurricane last week (the week before?) gave us appx 6" of rain in a day or two and, of course, the basement leaked.

    I knew the basement leaks but what I didn't know was the cabinets I had installed on an outside basement wall would let water enter the back of the cabinets. Now about half of my fabric is damp/wet. I didn't discover it until today and it smells but I haven't found any mildew. (BTW, the contractor that installed the cabinets for me is also surprised water got into them and will try to figure out what to do to avoid this in the future.)

    What do I do??? I know normally when you wash fabric you sew the raw edges but there are literally hundreds of pieces. (I inherited my mothers stash plus what I already had so it's a lot!) Can I wash it without sewing the raw edges? Will it be a big mess? Will it unravel much? Or should I just start sewing, washing and drying? I can't imagine how long that will take but I will do whatever is necessary.

    Please let me know what you think. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Member UglyCook's Avatar
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    I would just wash and dry as quickly as possible and worry about the edges later.

  3. #3
    Power Poster sharon b's Avatar
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    Wash it and maybe throw vinegar in the water

  4. #4
    cjr
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    Super Member cjr's Avatar
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    I agree with UglyCook. Wash & dry as much as possible as you can. You will have a few tangles and strings, but as you unload washer take yourscissors with you and cut & put in dryer. I would even be tempted to put vinegar in rinse water in case there is the beginning of meldew.
    Good Luck. I do not envy you. Let us know how turns out.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by UglyCook
    I would just wash and dry as quickly as possible and worry about the edges later.
    Also add a cup of white vinegar to the water.

  6. #6
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Get it in the wash as soon as you can. Take a pair of scissors with you when you take it out of the washer and clip all the strings.

  7. #7
    Junior Member oldhag's Avatar
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    I would also put the smaller pieces into a mesh bag to wash them as there is less chance of them raveling as much.

  8. #8
    Super Member featherweight's Avatar
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    You can also clip a little triangle off of each corner. This will keep it from raveling. Good luck. Just think how nice and clean it will be when you are all finished.

  9. #9
    Senior Member stitchingmemories's Avatar
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    I can help. I learned from my daughter leaving wet clothes in the washer for a few days and I would find them smelling sour. I found that if you put a cup to a cup and half of white vinegar in a full load let it agitate for a few seconds then let it sit for about a 1/2 hour to an hour in the vinegar water then let the cycle run. This usually will do the trick. Depends on how bad the smell is you may have to do it again. You can also add soap to the water.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
    Senior Member stitchingmemories's Avatar
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    Sorry, by the time I got my response typed others had already beat me to the vinegar cure. lol Sorry to repeat.

  11. #11
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    Sorry about your leaks. Wash and dry as soon as possible, per advise given earlier. Best of luck.

  12. #12
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    It may even be necessary to take it to a laundromat and get it done all at once -

    If you can't get it washed all at once - at least try to get it dry to minimize possible mildew - and then wash it when you can.

    If possible, line dry - don't machine dry - before washing it again.

  13. #13
    Super Member Ditter43's Avatar
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    I think I would reconsider having my sewing room in the basement! What a bummer! :|

  14. #14
    Super Member Quiltforme's Avatar
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    all of thee above and use one of the color catchers just in case. Jade

  15. #15
    Junior Member cindyw's Avatar
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    Thanks to you all! I have already started a load, with vinegar.

    I knew the basement would get wet (only the floor, I thought) and I was so careful to make sure nothing was on the floor. No extension cords, I picked up the bottom of the quilt hanging on the design wall, etc.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cindyw
    Thanks to you all! I have already started a load, with vinegar.

    I knew the basement would get wet (only the floor, I thought) and I was so careful to make sure nothing was on the floor. No extension cords, I picked up the bottom of the quilt hanging on the design wall, etc.
    Bummer.

  17. #17
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    Maybe time to invest in some plastic totes. Sorry you had all that extra work.

  18. #18
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    I am so sorry your are having to deal with this, but I agree with everyone about washing and adding white vinegar.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cindyw

    What do I do??? I know normally when you wash fabric you sew the raw edges but there are literally hundreds of pieces. (I inherited my mothers stash plus what I already had so it's a lot!) Can I wash it without sewing the raw edges? Will it be a big mess? Will it unravel much? Or should I just start sewing, washing and drying? I can't imagine how long that will take but I will do whatever is necessary.

    Please let me know what you think. Thanks!
    Any laundromats nearby that are up and running? I'd get all of that fabric there and put it in the front loading machines and get it washed and dried there. The large front loaders seem to be gentler to fabrics than my overloading tendencies with top loaders in similar situations.

  20. #20
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    I use vinegar and baking soda. Only load your washer about 1/2 full. It will take longer but you'll be much happier with the end results. Less in the dryer will eliminate a lot of tangling, twisting etc. AND use a color catcher if it wasn't prewashed to begin with.

  21. #21
    Senior Member mawmawbeve_60's Avatar
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    wash and dry it...ASAP

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldhag
    I would also put the smaller pieces into a mesh bag to wash them as there is less chance of them raveling as much.
    if you don't have a mesh bag, use a pillowcase..and safety pin it closed, that is what i have done..

    good luck!

  23. #23
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I prewash all my fabric and have sewn one edge. Yes I get tangles and those long threads, but I have a pair of scissors at the ironing board.

  24. #24
    Super Member Kathy N's Avatar
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    I would load it all into the car and drive to the nearest laundramat and utilize every machine they have to wash it all at once by color family. Throw a color catcher in every load and a cup of vinegar. then you will have the large folding tables to fold the fabric. Take your scissors with you so you can trim off the stringies as you fold it. It will be a good morning's work but will make your life so much easier than trying to do it a load at a time at home. Good luck, if you were nearby we would all help.

  25. #25
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I have nothing to add except I would never store fabrics in a basement, no matter what!

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