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Thread: Prewashing large cuts of fabric?

  1. #1
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    Prewashing large cuts of fabric?

    I know I read a thread about this before but have not been able to find it. I am about to start a couple large sized quilts and the fabric is all over 3 yards of each piece. How do you wash these to stop the twisting and knotting? I have washed up to 3 yards but I always end up with strings that bind around the center of fabric. Any tips would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    One thing would be to cut the large piece in half and finish the edges (serge or pink the cut edges)
    One step at a time, always forward.

  3. #3
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    I've washed larger pieces and not had this problem to any great account.
    If so, then just cut the strings and it'll soon be apart ... and toss in the dryer.

    I wouldn't cut the pieces down, to avoid wastage.
    If you do, make sure you don't need the length in a continuous piece. eg. borders.
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  4. #4
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    If you zig zag or serge the ends of the material, they won't ravel, so there's no strings to get tangled. Then they wash just like sheets.

  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Some people accordion-fold the yardage and pin the edges together.

  6. #6
    Member lylamarie's Avatar
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    I have accordion folded and pinned across the top (safety pins) and made sure the cut edges are folded inside. I have had good luck with that.

  7. #7
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Try a gentle cycle if you have a top loader that tangles your clothes. All the fabric really needs is soap and water, not necessarily strong agitation.

    Jan in VA
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    peacefully colors my world.
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  8. #8
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    My DH zigzags the edges for me so they don't fray. I always wash my fabrics before using them. I have no problems with 3 plus yards of fabric. Whatever you try, I hope it turns out well.

  9. #9
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I zigzag edges also and have not had a problem with large pieces.

  10. #10
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    I have pinked the edges with good success.
    QuiltnLady1

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

  11. #11
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Fan fold in about 1 yard wide and pin the selvedge edges together. I put it in the washer on delicate and dryer on low this way. I do try to straighten it out before the dryer if it gets twisted up. It's much easier to handle large amounts of yardage this way. I did an 8 yard piece, but folded into about 2 yds wide instead. It was easier to pin because of the thickness of the fabric.

  12. #12
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    I just wash and go and deal with the twists. Like someone else said, kinda like sheets in the washer. You might want to consider pulling from the dryer while still damp though and doing your pressing then, makes the wrinkles less stubborn in my opinion.

  13. #13
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    zig-zagging the edges helps but when I dry mine I through a couple of old towels in with them and the towels seem to help keep them from twisting and wadding up.

  14. #14
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    Don't agitate. My machine has a gentle cycle that works well. Perhaps yours does too.

  15. #15
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    I zig zag or serge the cut edges on the fabric to keep it from raveling. I untwist it before I put it in the dryer. I prewash all my fabric. I don't want any surprises later on.

  16. #16
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    Thank you all! I have just cut the strings before throwing in the dryer before on smaller pieces and they just re-knot in the dryer. I will definitely try these. I usually do baby quilts for friends but I am attempting some larger projects soon so it is nice to know. Also, what does Pinking the edges mean?

  17. #17
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    Pinking shears blades cut little zig-zags and have traditionally been used in garment sewing to prevent seams from fraying. I've used all methods mentioned above and they all work just fine.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  18. #18
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    I just washed an 8 1/2 yard piece. Here is what I did to keep it under control.

    1. open fabric all the way on a big flat table or floor

    2. You are going to accordian pleat the fabric back and forth in about a one yard width along the whole length of the yardage. the selvage edges will be one the outsides and you flip the fabric back and forth.

    3. take large basting pins or safety pins and along the selvage ends on both edges pin seven or eight pins securing all the layers together. You will pin through the selvage layers along both edges of the fabric layers.

    4. Now you have a nice tidy layered pile of accordian pleated fabric. place this into a pillow case and pin it closed with several pins. more is better.

    5. wash on gentle cycle. I added several towels to balance the washer. I have a front loader.

    The fabric came out of the washer the same way it was after i pinned it all together.

    I did double spin it to remove as much water as possible and then put it in the dryer the same way.

    It was damp dry when removed and in one pretty bundle ready to remove the pins and iron dry.

    It worked fabulously. I had my DH help me handle the yardage and even he was impressed the way it worked.

    peace

    EDIT: I did pink the two cut ends just in case of fraying
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  19. #19
    Super Member judy363905's Avatar
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    I also saw this idea somewhere and tried it and it worked great.

    Judy in Phx, AZ

    Quote Originally Posted by lylamarie View Post
    I have accordion folded and pinned across the top (safety pins) and made sure the cut edges are folded inside. I have had good luck with that.

  20. #20
    Super Member seamstome's Avatar
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    Kaye Wood has a snippet on You tube on how to do this. It is on the same show as Golden Threads. You fold it and pin it.

  21. #21
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I overcast the edges on my last piece no problems
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  22. #22
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    I have a front loader (grrrr...don't go there) which does have the nice feature of "rinse and spin." I don't get much ravel effect when I do large pieces. I figure the rinse and spin is enough to get the dust and extra dye out (using a Color Catcher for that) and then any shrinkage is taken care of with the dryer. Plus the whole thing will be completely washed when it's finished. Works for me!
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

  23. #23
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    You'll get dozens of dirfferent 'tricks and tips', most of which take quite a bit of extra time, put 'agitated' pin holes in your brand new fabric, waste thread and machine time, and/or don't work.

    I pre-wash everything, mostly yardage from 3 to 6 yards but sometimes up to 10, and don't do anything special to it at all before it goes in the washer. I wash the unfolded fabric on the gentle cycle with plenty of water and only with other fabric, never with regular laundry. After washing, I trim any long 'thread trash' with the scissors that live on my dryer, shake any kinks out and toss it into the dryer. It comes out completely knot free, pretty much wrinkle free, and never ravels more than a scant quarter inch.

    I've been washing tons of yardage this way for over 15 years and have NEVER had any of it wind up in knots in either the washer OR the dryer. People never believe it works, but that's their loss, not mine.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  24. #24
    Junior Member sandyquilts's Avatar
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    I serge both cut ends of the fabric. Magic--not loose threads and no lost yardage.
    SandyQuilter
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    http://sandyquilts.blogspot.com

  25. #25
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    A small diagonal cut at each corner stops the raveling.

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