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Thread: Newbie question - what's the best way to launder fabric?

  1. #1
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    Newbie question - what's the best way to launder fabric?

    I just got back from Hobby Lobby...siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh....and bought my first fat quarter, my first jelly roll, and my first something-else-I-don't-know-what-it-is-cause-I-already-threw-the-tag-away and as I'm sitting here sighing and preening over the fabric, I'm wondering - how do I launder this since it's all pre-cut (I know, I know - you're thinking...it's ALL pre-cut Nokie...now be a good girl and put the scissors down and back away sloooowwwlllyyyyyyy from the cutting table...) And much smaller than if I would of bought a yard or 4 of it? I've not had good experience with washing material so far - it came out of the washer looking like I had thrown the cat in with it and they got tangled up together in the spin cycle - so I'm open to suggestions!! I had thought of a mesh bag but I don't have one - thought of a pillow case but how do I keep it closed? Any help is much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I solved the problem around 2006 or so. I quit prewashing. Not a single problem yet.

  3. #3
    Super Member Pickles's Avatar
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    Nokie if it is high quality fabric you might get away without washing them but if you do if you have a say old leg from a pair of pantie hose cut it off and put them inside the leg and tie a knot it it and wash that away, I'd wash them in cold water . If it's a pillow case I'd pin it closed with safety pins all the way across.

  4. #4
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    I don't buy anything smaller than a FQ for that reason. If you are determined to pre-wash, I would gently hand wash them in the sink in hot water then dry them in a tumble bag.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

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    Oh...so I don't have to pre-wash? I thought that was the cardinal rule....if it's not a have to I'll skip it!

  6. #6
    Member velvor's Avatar
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    I only pre-wash fabrics that are going into a baby quilt. This way I can guarantee that it is washable and all the added chemicals are removed. For my own quilts I like the "wrinkled" look when I wash it after everything is complete.

  7. #7
    Super Member kathdavis's Avatar
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    I don't prewash at all. If I have to, I wash when it is all done.
    Kathleen

    Remember, people will see your quilts long after you are gone....NOT your housework!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nokie View Post
    Oh...so I don't have to pre-wash? I thought that was the cardinal rule....if it's not a have to I'll skip it!
    it is...but when you buy pre-cuts, you sort of are stuck with whatever you get in the end...just pray nothing bleeds, and that you are not going to have an allergic reaction to the chemicals on the fabric!

  9. #9
    Super Member tjradj's Avatar
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    I've never prewashed anything except flannel. If I ever wanted to prewash a jelly roll, I'd give my head a shake. For the price I'd have paid for precuts, I wouldn't want to risk it. I could have bought yardage and prewashed that without fear. Besides, I like the cuddly look my quilts get when I wash them once they're complete.
    I used to be "hot", now it's just "hot flashes!"

  10. #10
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nokie View Post
    I just got back from Hobby Lobby...siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh....and bought my first fat quarter, my first jelly roll, and my first something-else-I-don't-know-what-it-is-cause-I-already-threw-the-tag-away and as I'm sitting here sighing and preening over the fabric, I'm wondering - how do I launder this since it's all pre-cut (I know, I know - you're thinking...it's ALL pre-cut Nokie...now be a good girl and put the scissors down and back away sloooowwwlllyyyyyyy from the cutting table...) And much smaller than if I would of bought a yard or 4 of it? I've not had good experience with washing material so far - it came out of the washer looking like I had thrown the cat in with it and they got tangled up together in the spin cycle - so I'm open to suggestions!! I had thought of a mesh bag but I don't have one - thought of a pillow case but how do I keep it closed? Any help is much appreciated!

    I prewash yardage, but I'd never attempt to wash precuts, except fat quarters
    Bad Spellers of the World
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  11. #11
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    I solved the problem around 2006 or so. I quit prewashing. Not a single problem yet.
    I just absolutely love this solution because I never started washing, would definitely not wash precuts

  12. #12
    Super Member sewellie's Avatar
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    They make hosiery bags, buy at grocery store, cheesecloth and put the pieces in there. They don't get tanged and it works. Cheap
    sewellie

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  13. #13
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    I never prewash either and never had an issue. Use a color catcher is all I say.
    *Rachel*

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    Super Member quilterella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nokie View Post
    Oh...so I don't have to pre-wash? I thought that was the cardinal rule....if it's not a have to I'll skip it!
    Not everyone prewashes. We have had many a discussion about it on the forum and every time you get alot of feedback about both methods. My suggestion would be "skip the tangled prewash mess and carry on" I never prewash and I have never had a bleeder yet, but, I also use ColourCatchers in my wash.
    Quilting is my PASSION not my pass time.
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  15. #15
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    I never pre-wash my fabrics, and have never had any problems. If I'm not going to enter my finished quilt in a show, I wash it after it is completed.

  16. #16
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    I never wash pre-cuts..... Use color catchers after it is together if you are worried.

    Also, some time ago the light bulb went off and I realized that the fabric didn't need 1/2 hour of agitation to get the stabilizer/stiffner out of it. I always use the shortest and easiest cycle on the machine now and have very little loose threads. Works like a charm!

    Good luck.

  17. #17
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    HOSIERY BAGS DON'T HELP!!!! Found out that yesterday! Was finding that the black fabric I'm using seemed to shrink while I was using it (maybe steam pressing?) So I thought I'd better wash the 12 1 1/2" strips I'd cut for the borders. WRONG!!!
    Did manage to unravel and straighten it, but , boy, does black tend to unravel more that other colors! Usually I don't pre-wash either, just a brief dunk in light starch.
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    I pre-wash reds and blacks just cause I'm a scaredy-cat when it comes to those colors. I don't pre-wash any precuts, though. I can't even imagine what would happen to my cute charm packs if I did.
    Jenny in DC

  19. #19
    Super Member Bonbonary's Avatar
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    If it's a color that might bleed, you can just rinse it in the sink. It's not necesary to use the machine and agitate the fabric which would cause fraying on the edges.

  20. #20
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    If I'm using pre-cuts, I don't launder any of the fabrics for that quilt and I don't use steam in the iron during construction of the blocks or top. That way, they're all going to shrink - but not until after the quilt is finished and laundered.

    I'm pretty much giving up precuts though. I've found that I prefer laundering the fabric and then starching the heck out of it - it helps me keep the blocks precise.

    I also like using the shot of steam when pressing open the seams, and if you do that to fabric that hasn't been washed, your block will shrivel and shrink, usually unevenly.

    It's a lot of extra work, but at least I'm not pulling my hair out because the blocks are coming out different sizes. I've been using a lot of Civil War repros and there is a HUGE amount of difference in the shrinkage from one brand to another or maybe even from one line to another. I would lose the teeny little bit that's left of my mind to go to all the trouble with these CW quilts that I do only to have them come out of the final laundering looking all wonky and wavy.

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