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Thread: Question about red fabric

  1. #1
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    Question about red fabric

    Hi, everyone!

    As a general rule, I am not a fan of the color red. But I'm getting ready to start a Christmas quilt-along, so I do want to use some red fabric. I do not prewash my fabrics. Is there a way to keep red fabric from bleeding into the other colors when I wash the quilt after finishing it? Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    Red is my favorite color and I have made many quilts with red fabric. I have never had one bleed. I do use quilt shop, name brand fabric.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  3. #3
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    I do not pre-wash either, but I soak red fabric in cool water to see what happens. Then I let it dry on a hanger and iron. I had a bad experience with red bleeding after it was quilted. Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Super Member gramajo's Avatar
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    I always use color catchers when I wash my finished quilt. I have had reds bleed.

  5. #5
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Test it for bleeding first - get a paper towel or a white rag, dampen it, then rub it on the red fabric. If the towel turns red, you're going to want to treat it before putting it in the quilt.

    Here is the best, easiest way I've found to treat bleeding fabrics. It was written by a quilter who makes a lot of her own hand-dyed fabric, and this is how she removes excess dye. As far as I'm concerned, this is her ticket into heaven.

    Save My Bleeding Quilt by Vicki Welsh

  6. #6
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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  7. #7
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    I have had more than one Moda red bleed.

    I've also had RJR fabrics bleed. (Years ago)

    I've also had a red that I purchased at a LQS this winter have excess dye.

    I am in the group that feels - strongly - that it is just easier to soak, wash, and dry everything washable before cutting it for peace of mind, if nothing else.

    I "assume" that whoever will be the final owner of the item will probably just toss the item in the wash and not be aware of the "proper protocol" for washing quilted items and I want to make this as foolproof as possible.

    I do, however, fear bleach, burns, and tears.

  8. #8
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    I have had more than one Moda red bleed.

    I've also had RJR fabrics bleed. (Years ago)

    I've also had a red that I purchased at a LQS this winter have excess dye.

    I am in the group that feels - strongly - that it is just easier to soak, wash, and dry everything washable before cutting it for peace of mind, if nothing else.

    I "assume" that whoever will be the final owner of the item will probably just toss the item in the wash and not be aware of the "proper protocol" for washing quilted items and I want to make this as foolproof as possible.

    I do, however, fear bleach, burns, and tears.

    I used to "just wash" my fabrics - until I tried using a starch/sizing on a blue and a red RJR (again, this was several years ago) and the red and blue fabrics bled on to the gray. I was surprised and not happy.

  9. #9
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    My experience is that at least 90% of the red fabrics I have used bleed at least on their first experience in water. Whether or not the fabrics next to them in a quilt will pick up the red dye in the water is not a gamble that I want to take. Therefore, I test ALL. If needed, Retayne treatment is next.

    It matters not at all whether the red fabric is an LQS fabric - almost all bleed for me. And red is not the only color with that problem.

  10. #10
    Super Member Snooze2978's Avatar
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    I don't wash my fabrics before cutting but I do starch them so they're dipped into my dishpan full of starch, then run thru my wringer and hung to dry. Then I spritz them with water and press them. Normally if they're going to bleed, it will happen during my starching. Once my quilt is finished I usually put it thru the washer with a color catcher so whomever I give the quilt to won't be startled the 1st time they wash it.

    Once after I washed a quilt I didn't see the red bleed onto the white so I thru it into the dryer. Thought for sure it was ruined but someone here said to put it thru the washer again with another color catcher and sure enough the red bleed came out so all was good with the world again.
    Suz in Iowa
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  11. #11
    Senior Member ThreadHead's Avatar
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    I wash all red, black, dark brown, dark blues prior to using, unless it's a wall hanging. Just me. I have had some triangle cut fabrics shrink when ironing with steam. They usually shrink in the middle.
    I like spray starching on the back side of the fabric, rub in into the material so it doesn't leave little white speck for me to brush off. I think your project looks better and is more accurate when ironed. Happy sewing.
    Syl

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    Peckish aka Peggy, thanks for the link, I've printed it and will try it on my current quilt which is yellow, greys, and deep red.

  13. #13
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    These are my color catchers after prewashing quilt shop fabric. The lighter 2 are the 2nd and 3rd washes. Why take the chance with red, just prewash for this project. If not, definitely remember the color catchers at the end.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Super Member Krisb's Avatar
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    Red bleeds. Prewash it. If it is dark, use Retayne.

    If it crocks (comes off when rubbed), Retayne won’t fix that. I have a sewing machine that once was white and is now pink.
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it difficult to plan the day.

    Kris

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    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I never buy quilt shop or brand name fabrics and don't have a problem with bleeding.

    I do pre wash all fabrics using color catchers' Wash finished quilts with color catchers.

    I only was everything in cold water Tide.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  16. #16
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    Not all reds bleed. But some do. I can't tell by looking which ones will or won't.

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    I toss at least 4-5 color catchers in with a large quilt that has intense color in it. Sometimes it takes a repeat until the color catchers are clean.

  18. #18
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    Reds bleed. So do some purples, blues, and blacks. Strong colors get prewashed here. Always. Why put all that work into something to have the chance of it being ruined?
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

  19. #19
    Junior Member M cubed's Avatar
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    I am not nice to my fabrics when I bring them home (quilting cottons). I make a lot of charity quilts and I never know to whom they will be given - So o o - I fling them in the washing machine (color sorted of course), load it with regular laundry detergent, wash on warm, and set the cycle at permapress. If the fabric is good fabric and well dyed, it will survive anything - no coddling necessary. I do use color catchers and they have saved me a lot of money and agony by preventing running dyes and I have had bleeding from every color. Bottom line: I prewash ALL of my fabrics, dry and iron. I use starch when I am ready to use that fabric in a quilt

  20. #20
    Super Member Battle Axe's Avatar
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    When I was hand weaving delicate tea towels, I would wash it in as harsh a situation as I could. I would try to ruin it. If I couldn't ruin it, then I figured the customer couldn't either. My thought was that I never want to see this thing again. I want someone to buy it, pay for it, and use it.

  21. #21
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    I am a Color Catcher fan and wash my completed quilts before I gift them. I want to know what it does in the wash. I also prewash my fabric. I got burned once with a dark blue batik...I learned my lesson. When I gift a quilt, I give a brief page of instruction on the care and feeding of a quilt. I add in some Color Catchers. Sometimes I put a care label I make and sew it into the binding on the back.

  22. #22
    Super Member Jeanette Frantz's Avatar
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    I'll join in on this one. I am asthmatic, so I prewash EVERY FABRIC that comes into this house. I have also gone through the "bleeding" with fabric, and I have tried every home remedy from Oklahoma to Florida and back again. The problem is that the dyes used in our fabrics are no longer organic, they are chemical dyes. Some of them bleed, but they are no respecter of color -- blues will bleed. I test my fabrics by cutting a 1/2" wide strip about 6 inches long and placing it in a glass of hottest tap water available. If the fabric is going to bleed, that color will show up in the water, or you can lay the wet strip on a solid white paper towel. If the fabric is a bleeder, it will show up on the paper towel. I found a product I use which is a laundry treatment product -- called Ritz Laundry Treatment - Dye Setter. The product was originally intended to set the dyes in hand-dyed fabric. I ordered some online and used it on the "bleeding" fabric -- it stopped the bleeding and/or "set" the dye. After treating it, I re-washed it both with some white fabric and a color catcher. Neither the fabric nor the color catcher showed any of the previous bleeding so I continue to use the product. I make it a policy to test every colored fabric simply because, like Coopah, I don't want to waste time and money making a quilt to have it ruined the first time it's washed by bleeding dyes -- I cannot afford to do that. So I use a product that I know works.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeanette Frantz View Post
    I am asthmatic, so I prewash EVERY FABRIC that comes into this house.
    Forgive me if I should have started a new thread to ask this question. Why wouldn't you wash fabrics before you work with them? Isn't there chemical residue, with carcinogens such as formaldehyde, from the factory in retail fabrics? I quoted Jeanette because she happens to have a noticeable reaction to the chemicals but some reactions are silent and dangerous.

    I have made more garments and draperies than quilts and in order to avoid surprises in fit, I always wash those fabrics that can be laundered. Do people not launder quilts before making them so that the cotton shrinkage makes the quilt pucker? I happen to like the way it looks but, in general, is that considered desirable?

  24. #24
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    What I can never quite figure out is, why do some people have reds bleed and others not?

    I use a lot of red. Other than baby quilts, I don't remember a quilt that didn't have at least some red in it.

    I don't prewash, nor do I use color catchers. I wash when they are done, in a front loading washer with warm water. I've only had one quilt that had any bleeding that migrated onto other parts of the quilt - and that wasn't actually from the wash, it was from being sprayed by the long armer. (Who returned it to me folded nicely so that spot did not show. Note: Always open the quilt when you pick it up!). Washing a couple of times with Synthrapol removed all but the tiniest of traces; if you don't know where to look, you'd never notice it.

    I'm not sure if bleeding has happened in the wash and just didn't settle back onto other fabrics (as is what happens with dirty laundry) as they were washed with regular detergent? In other words, if I had had a dye catcher, perhaps it would have caught any dye that is dispersed in the water as they are treated to do just that?

    Anyhow - since the one that came back with a bit of spotting, I have randomly checked reds with a damp white washcloth, but have never had any more that have bled.

    My reasons for not washing are three-fold. 1, I like the "crinkly" look - although I wonder if prewashing fabrics for bleeding would still allow this to happen, as it would still allow batting to shrink up. (Aside: for those who was due to allergies/asthma, do you also wash the batting then?) 2, I like the crispness of the unwashed fabric for piecing; if I washed, I would then have to starch everything before cutting and 3, I guess the easiest way to explain it is laziness... I don't want to do the extra laundry and pressing!

  25. #25
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I'm not a pre-washer except when it comes to red. I love red but have the worst luck with it bleeding. I buy quilt shop quality fabric too- doesn't matter.
    I always pre-wash red.

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