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Thread: Question on pre washing fabrics

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rosie the "Ripper"'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    St. Louis, MO

    Question on pre washing fabrics

    I am a fanatic on washing fabrics before using them. My question is about charm packs and jelly rolls. I am afraid of shrinking after quilting. Should I sew them first and then wash or put the whole pack in a small mesh bag so they don't shred all over and then wash them before using them? I guess I could then just lay them all out flat and let them air dry. I know this sounds lame but I don't like to work with stiff fabrics. Any suggestions would help.
    Rosie the "ripper"

  2. #2
    Senior Member VickyS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    in hiding
    Biggest problem I've had about washing stuff that small is that the material frays heavily. I imagine if you want to hand wash and air dry....that would work. Otherwise just sew them first and wash. The sizing will make it easier to match seams and sew straight lines.

    Usually I wash everything I am working with, but in the case of prepackaged stuff like jelly rolls and charm packs I just sew first then wash to cut down on the amount of extra threads that come off of the material.

    It is entirely your personal preference however!

  3. #3
    Super Member karenpatrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Rosedale, Indiana
    Fabric manufacturers recommend that you NOT was pre-cuts.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Manitowoc, WI
    I wondered about that too! Doesn't sound lame to me. But, I'm the opposite. I do pre-wash, but I get freaked out over washing 1/4 yard pieces because of the amount that frays. lol, it's not even that much, but I still feel like I'm loosing so much fabric. silly me. I think the hand washing may be a good idea.
    Naomi, Wife to Wayne
    Mom to Sydney (8.07), heaven baby Corey (8.08), Elijah (8.09), Kezia (8.11)

  5. #5
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I'm a pre-washing fanatic too, but I draw the line at pre-cuts. I seldom buy them for that reason, but I do have a jelly roll that I do not intend to wash before I use it. The reason I bought it is for the lasagna quilt (just for fun). If you wash a pre-cut, I don't think the size will still be right. Almost anything shrinks or frays a little bit.

  6. #6
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Canadian in Minnesota
    I've prewashed all of the fabric I buy, and with the fat quarters I just put them into a mesh laundry bag. Recently I was given a jelly roll pack, which I've never bought on my own because I didn't think they could be prewashed. I'm thinking, though, that if I sew along the raw edges at about 1/8", they could be prewashed too.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  7. #7
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    North Texas
    I bought a jelly roll of red fabrics for a binding and did not want to take the chance that they would run or fade. I put them in a lingerie bag and washed them. Bad mistake. Once I have them trimmed back to normal edges instead of 2-1/2 inches for my binding I will have probably 2-1/4 if I'm lucky. Even in the bag they raveled. Never thought about sewing along the raw edges. Might have helped.


  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    New York
    I was at a student at a large quilt show and retreat in Vermont many years ago and one of the teachers said that smaller pieces could be steam ironed instead of washing which I have done from time to time. If you are using steam use an old piece of white fabric under the pieces as sometimes you find that unwanted color on there. If I don't wash a fabric I always give a box of "Color Catcher"and they really do work.

  9. #9
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Moda does not recommend washing their precuts. I've used them many times and they don't shrink that much. I do prewash any other fabric I use with them like the sashing, border, and backing. I do use a color catcher when I wash the finished quilt.

  10. #10
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Sparks, NV
    Yes, I pre-wash everything; even the small 2"X3"'s from a pre-cut mini kit. I have white fabrics for this pre-wash purpose. I layer two to five similar sized new fabrics on top of the white fabric. I 'fold/wrap' the white fabric over the raw edges of the new fabric. Then I machine baste all around the perimeter being sure to secure the raw edges within the folded area of the white fabric. Wash in hot, dry hot. Voila! Then I rip out the basting stitches. Because the white fabric has protected the raw edges there is no fraying. I know it is anal but it fits my personality! Please just hope that I am never your boss!!!! HaHaHaHa

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