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Prewashing fabric, can you clarify some questions for me?

Prewashing fabric, can you clarify some questions for me?

Old 08-17-2010, 05:38 AM
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Hey quilters,

I know you'll have all the right answers for me cause your all so smart. This has been such a great place for me to get involved and learn thanks alot everyone.

I have never prewashed my fabric. I just assumed this was for smells which I don't smoke or have pets. I also realize it's for shrinkage as well. However I see that on all the swaps and things it say to use prewashed fabric so I want to do it right.

Here's my question's and please add anything else that would be helpful. I want to make sure I do it right.

Is there any certain things to do..such as wash with my regular load or wash by itself?
Could I just soak it in a sink and then rinse it in the washer?
Do I put it in the dryer or let it air dry?
What type of cleaner do I put in with it or any at all?
I also noticed somewhere that someone put it in a bag (mesh I think) and then into the washing machine. What's the purpose of this.. to minimize the fraying?
If I'm appliquing and only will be using a small piece of a fabric do I need to wash that as well?
What about the colors bleeding and ruining all my fabric?

I'm new to all this so if you can clarify this and set me straight I would appreciate it!

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Old 08-17-2010, 05:50 AM
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I'll tell you what I do, I'm sure you'll get other versions. If I believe the color will bleed, I wash it separately. Otherwise I wash like colors together with regular detergent, and usually on gentle just so cut edges don't fray too much. I never use fabric softener until my project is complete as sometimes this will not permit you do do certain things like some fusible applications won't stick well if you have used fabric softener.
When washing yardage, open your fabric up, don't throw it in your machine the way it came off the bolt as one time I got a color difference on the crease line, although I think it was the quality of this particular fabric.
A mesh bag is great when you are washing fat quarters, as when you are washing a number of them they tend to tangle together, and fray too much.
No reason you can't add other laundry to your load to make a full load, I've done that before! (Usually I'm just to axious to get it washed and start sewing!!)
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:54 AM
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I never wash fabric unless it will bleed and it will be in quilt with white or muslim fabric.
If it bleeds into a dark fabric quilt I don't care.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:03 AM
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I never used to wash my fabrics (back in the 70's) because basically, I started with baby quilts and scrap quilts. After having a purple fabric bleed on a block I was making, I started washing everything as I bring it in the house. I wash it with a regular load, regular liquid soap, regular temps, etc. with the exception of small pieces, fat quarters, etc. which I put in a mesh bag. I've also discovered that if I wash fabric on my delicate cycle, it hardly frays at all. If I take it out of the dryer promptly and fold it right away, it usually doesn't require pressing. If it does, I press it before I cut. At one time, I pressed all my fabric as I washed it, but after buying a huge box of fabric, I realized I would be ironing for days so that's when I decided to iron before I cut a piece.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:10 AM
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I prewash anything larger than a Jelly Roll.
I put darks with darks and lights with lights.
Reds are alone as are blacks.
I put in washer, permanent press, unscented ALL, cap or so of Clorox 2, and when done, place in dryer on low for about 20 minutes.
If I think the edges will unravel, I cut the corners on a diagonal.
No softener used until project done.
I have never had a bleed yet.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:35 AM
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I wash it all with my regular laundry. If it looks like it may bleed, I wash it by itself or with like colors. I usually put small pieces in a mesh bag. I use the regular cycle, regular amount of laundry soap and I may or may not use some vinegar in the rinse cycle. As a general rule, I don't use fabric softener. I dry large pieces in the dryer with the regular laundry. Smaller pieces, I usually steam it with the iron. (It's already wet so I don't have to use water.)

Basically, I treat the fabric the way it will be treated after I have made it into something.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:36 AM
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I prewash usually. But it's for shrinkage or because I buy a lot of fabric on estate sales, garage sales, thrift stores, etc. and don't want to take any chances of animal dander, smoke, musty smells etc. Bleeding? I use a color catcher when I was them but if something bleeds on something else I use it anyway. With today's blenders and batiks and wild fabrics who will know if it didn't come that way. I don't make show quilts so if there's a little bleeding it won't effect the warmth of the quilt, I don't care. Maybe I should but I just don't. Once it's quilted, on a bed and someone is under it no one will notice anyway.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:41 AM
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I never knew about the fabric softener thing! Learn something every day.

I use Color Catchers in my wash in case I do get bleeding. I use mostly batiks and the reds, navy and blacks if they are overdyed will bleed some. If the color catchers are really dark, I run it through another cycle.

Otherwise I wash it on delicate with laundry soap and dry on delicate or medium since cotton on my dryer is HOT!
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:57 AM
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Thank you all so much for the advice.

I realize there are always several ways to do things no matter what you are doing that's why I ask to see what works best for different people.

I appreciate you sharing your ways with me.

I learned when your new to doing something or are not sure what you are doing..just ask everybody was new once, you will usually get plenty of great advice to get you started.

This board is so blessed to have such nice and helpful quilters, I'm so glad I found you all (well actually someone here found me, out there struggling along..Thanks D. your the best.)
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:06 AM
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Another reason to wash fabric for swaps is that some people are highly allergic to the chemicals used in the manufacture and dying of the fabric. We want to be sure they can participate in swaps. I'm not so sure that breating in the fumes as we bend over our creations is good for us too.
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