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Pre-washed and not washed fabric together?

Pre-washed and not washed fabric together?

Old 10-25-2016, 09:06 AM
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I have made 12 quilts for family members using a combination of my Mother's stash and my stash. My Mom pre-washed her fabrics and I don't. After quilting, I washed them with a color-catcher sheet. No problems with any of them. So, you should be okay.

This year's Block of the Month quilt from our local quilt store is all batiks with some dark colors (and light colors). Since some of those pieces are small and they don't give a lot of extra fabric, I don't prewash those either.
I have been lucky with other quilts (Batiks) without pre-washing, but I always use color-catchers. Hopefully I won't get "burned" on this year's quilt.....I made one in each color-way.....so that would be 2 quilts "messed" up.!
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Old 10-25-2016, 03:52 PM
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I have had some problems, particularly with red fabrics, but also with many others. The reds will bleed! I always treat my vibrantly-colored fabrics with a laundry treatment product which "sets" the dye. I have had deep blues bleed. If you don't pre-wash your fabric, at least test a small strip of it in a glass of hottest tap water available. If it's going to bleed, it will and you can tell by dipping a white paper towel into that same glass of hot water. The bleeding becomes more visible on a white paper towel. As I've also said many times, DISCRETION IS THE BETTER PART OF VALOR! I also use color catchers in the wash, even if I've previously treated the fabric used in the quilt. I'm operating here on a very strict budget and cannot afford to ruin a quilt by not protecting it against bleeding. I also pre-wash all my fabric, which isn't hard because I don't do quilts to sell and I don't have a large stash. So, first I test every fabric for bleeding, then, I serge across the cut ends to prevent raveling in the wash. If the fabric bleeds, I treat it with the laundry treatment product I've found works every time. Otherwise, I just launder the fabric, dry it and iron it (if it's badly wrinkled), fold it and add it to my stash! Red fabric is particularly bad to bleed and I use a lot of red, so it gets tested for bleeding first. But, bleeding is a problem possible in every color in the rainbow.
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Old 10-26-2016, 06:18 AM
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Default Here's what you do

Wash your quilt in cold water. Throw in a color catcher. Air dry. 10 bucks says you will be satisfied with the results. I always put those instructions ( it the color catcher part), on my quilt labels so those I gift quilts to won't boil them to death even though I pre-shrink all of my fabric
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:32 AM
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I think it will be ok. I have done it before & I had no problems. I guess it depends on the fabric & how much it shrinks. Seems all cotton fabrics shrink a little differently depending on brand, thread count etc. I think it will be fine though
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:54 AM
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I have not read all of the prior replies, so hope I am not repeating information.

In terms of shrinkage, it's fine to mix prewashed and non-prewashed fabrics ***as long as you do a normal amount of quilting***. Fabric shrinks differently when washed on its own vs. being washed in a quilt. Quilting ties the fabric to the batting, at which point the batting takes control of how much fabric can shrink. Shrinkage can be a problem if your quilting lines are 10" apart. However, at a more typical 3" or 4" apart, there is enough quilting for the batting to prevent fabrics from shrinking too much.

In terms of bleeding, what I do is take my finished quilt to the local laundromat in order to use a large front-loader with Synthrapol. Synthrapol suspends loose dye particles in water so they do not settle into other fabrics. I use a large front-loader at the laundromat because they hold enough water to dilute dye bleeds. Domestic front-loaders do not use enough water to ensure dilution. Some domestic top-loaders use enough water, but you also need to make sure the washer is big enough for the quilt; there needs to be room for the quilt to move around, so two fabrics are not next too each other for too long at a time. Whatever washer you use, you want to remove the quilt as soon as the cycle is finished, again so that no two fabrics sit next to each other while damp. Synthrapol works best in hot water but, if you do not want to use hot, I would use warm and still expect good results. In my opinion, Synthrapol works better than color catchers. However, you can use color catchers along with Synthrapol. If there is a lot of color in the color catchers when you are done, you will know that you want to use this same process again for the next washing. Color catchers alone are enough if there are just small dye bleeds; however, they cannot handle the amount of dye that can get released from a "bleeder" fabric.
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Old 10-26-2016, 11:09 AM
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One way to make sure that your fabric is prewashed is to snip a small triangle from a corner. That way you'll always know. Since your squares are not that large and will be quilted down, I don't think I'd worry that much about shrinkage. I would, however start clipping a corner. I had one student, years ago, who took over an inch off each corner before I realized what she was doing. Please make your clips small.
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Old 10-26-2016, 11:37 PM
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Another reason I prewash my fabric is that I am asthmatic, and some things really precipitate asthma attacks or episodes. Another reason is that my immune system is somewhat impaired by virtue of a battle against MRSA and a severe episode of pneumonia. I can no longer use perfume or cologne of any kind. PLUS, my cousin has a quilt shop in Oklahoma, and she has had adult women she's caught wiping their noses on fabric in her shop. Of course, she has had to pull that fabric off the shelves as not saleable. Hers is a very small shop, and she doesn't have the luxury of returning such fabric to her suppliers. She has to absorb the loss. To get back to my primary reason for prewashing my fabric, I cannot afford not to prewash for health reasons -- my health! It is almost impossible to watch every person who comes into a fabric shop -- you never know what contagious diseases people could be carrying, and what could be passed by other people handling the fabric, and then me working with unwashed fabric. Two years ago I might not have been that particular. I can't be sure that there was any connection between fabric and my pneumonia, but I was critically ill and I refuse to take any more risks than are absolutely necessary. Jeanette

Last edited by Jeanette Frantz; 10-26-2016 at 11:48 PM. Reason: clarification
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