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Thread: Rag Quilt looks used!

  1. #1
    pal
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    Rag Quilt looks used!

    I made a rag quilt to give at a baby shower on Saturday. Just got back from washing and drying it at the laundromat.

    Now it looks like a used blanket. I really don't know what to do. It's made from flannel - I tried to be very aware of using the correct side of the flannel (on the solids) but some of them look awful

    The recipient is a girl that I've never met, my friend's DIL. Should I call my friend and explain that a raggy quilt has to be washed first to get the raggy look and apologize or should I go to Baby's R Us and buy something else.

    I washed the blanket with clean towels - is that what went wrong? Should I have washed it alone?

    I've made these quilts before - but the last time I washed three together - no towels - and they came out fine.

    I just don't know what to do at this point.....
    PACE - Positive Attitude Changes Everything

    "All things are literally better, lovlier, and more beloved for the imperfections that reflect the human effort that went into their making."

  2. #2
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    I would guess that it has to do with the flannel that you used. Some of it just pills up and looks used as soon as it is washed. I think the only way to know that before making a quilt is to wash the flannel before using. Maybe you did that and I am way off the mark. I actually had that happen to a set of flannel receiving blankets that I made for a work acquaintance's grandma shower. I didn't want to put a whole lot into the gift, yet I wanted it to be nice and useful. I prewashed the flannel and then washed again before gifting and I was afraid they would think I gave them used blankets, (plus a cute bedtime book). But I gave it anyway because I thought a gift is a gift. I haven't seen her since then, so I'm OK with it. But if you are very concerned and well acquainted with the people, you might feel better to just buy a gift from the registry. Don't give a gift with excuses. Later I would give it to your friend to use when baby visits her house.

  3. #3
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    Suern3 Excellent reply and suggestions. I find that solid colour flannel always looks 'used' after washing. I have stopped using it if at all possible. I have found that it often has a looser weave and shrinks more than other flannels too.

    But Pal, I'll bet your friend would love to have something for the new baby at her house.

    I have a flannel baby quilt that I made just to try (and discard) a pattern. It turned out ummmm....less than lovely. But it has been thru two grand-babies and a grand-puppy at my house. Perfect for throwing on the floor for tummy time or a quick diaper change, and also perfect for padding the Pak'nPlay on overnight visits. The grand-puppy now thinks it is her permanent bed at Nana's house!
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  4. #4
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    What appears to be the problem with the quilt? Is it loose strands of thread (if so wash it again and again until those are all gone)? Or is the flannel pilling (no cure for that one)? Or did some of the fabrics bleed onto others (if so, you might be able to wash it again with Synthrapol or color catchers and the excess color might come out)? Also, are you sure it looks bad, or are you being overly critical of your own work? In any case, I would still gift it, either to your friend or as "wrapping paper" for another gift, with an explanation that it didn't come out quite like you expected, but will still be useful. After all, any quilt would look used after the baby threw up on it a few times.

  5. #5
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I always wash a quilt before gifting it. I put a card with it explaining how I washed it and it's ready to be used.
    Lori

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  6. #6
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    I made a quilt for a workmate and casually mentioned when I gave it to her that I always wash the quilts after they're finished because they've been handled a lot while sewing. She was quite impressed that I'd made the quilt. If you're unsure how it will be received it might be best to purchase a gift.

  7. #7
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    I used to never wash a quilt before giving it because I didn't want it to look used. But then I came to this site and learned it is best to wash them so they are ready to use. No one wants to find out the quilt they made had a seam split or fabric failed in another way after giving the quilt.

    I always pre-wash my fabric - especially flannel. Once I bought the perfect blue flannel, it was set to be the back of a quilt and when I washed it the first time it was awful. Never had I seen flannel do what it did. It pilled, it was misshapen, the the color faded in spots. I should have taken it back, but I couldn't find the receipt and it had been a while since it was bought.

  8. #8
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    My mother In Law and myself use to make all our men hunting shirts (all the men are 6'7'' to 7ft tall). we made them 20 years ago when flannel had polyester in them and we made a LOT of them. The men LOVED them. Then flannel went to 100%cotton and we had to stop making the shirts because of all the reasons you have listed. It was a sad day in our family of tall people. I wont ever make anything out of 100% cotton flannel. Its not your fault. Its a lousy product.

  9. #9
    pal
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    Thank you so much to all of you. Everything that you have mentioned happened to that quilt. It pilled, it faded in spots on some squares and faded completely on others so that it looks like I used two different pinks and it's wrinkled.

    The pattern on one of the flannels is baby birds. So I'm making a stuffed animal (following the bird on the flannel) out of one of the left over flannels - the one that I used for some of the squares and the binding and plan on wrapping him in the blanket as Dunster suggested and put both in a cellophane wrapper with a big bow.

    If the bird doesn't work out well, then I'll head for the store! It's just that the quilt was so much work....
    PACE - Positive Attitude Changes Everything

    "All things are literally better, lovlier, and more beloved for the imperfections that reflect the human effort that went into their making."

  10. #10
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    That's the charm of rag quilts. The more you wash them the softer they get.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  11. #11
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    pal - sorry that happened to you. I've learned from it. I am also Leary to wash before giving but I do wash fabric before making a quilt. Does it really look that bad? If not just explain that it is a rag quilt and that is the look.

  12. #12
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    Did you use quilting flannel or regular PJ flannel?

    I have made quite a few rag quilts, but all with quilting flannel, all were washed before being given away.. I also would never wash them with towels, too much lint in the towels.

    Actually the above is not quite true. I made several dog quilts with a UFO I picked up in a thrift shop. The flannel was not quilting flannel, and it pilled, bled and did not look too nice, but I figured dogs do not care too much about how their quilt looks.

    It is too bad the fabric did not stand up as expected.
    Attending University. I will graduate a year after my son and year before my daughter.

  13. #13
    Super Member Flowergurl's Avatar
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    If piling is the problem, a fabric shaver works great to restore the new look to the flannel.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Conair-Fa...Q&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Ask me how i know...i don't like to use to much flannel in my rag quilts because cotton looks better after washing.
    I am not perfect and I do not make perfect quilts.
    I do make quilts with love and they are meant to be loved.
    If i can transfer those feelings with needle and thread,
    that makes me happy.

  14. #14
    Super Member Weezy Rider's Avatar
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    I use whatever flannel and prewash it. It's sandwiched in between muslin and quilting cotton so if it pills, no one sees it. Stays in the same condition, doesn't collect cat hair for no reason and washes the same way every time except the open ends get raggier.

    I can't stand the feel of flannel anyway.
    Last edited by Weezy Rider; 06-18-2016 at 01:58 PM.

  15. #15
    Junior Member fallonquilter's Avatar
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    I think the towels were the problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Weezy Rider View Post
    I use whatever flannel and prewash it. It's sandwiched in between muslin and quilting cotton so if it pills, no one sees it. Stays in the same condition, doesn't collect cat hair for no reason and washes the same way every time except the open ends get raggier.

    I can't stand the feel of flannel anyway.
    I think the towels could have shed a little and stuck to the flannel, plus rubbing back and forth on the flannel would do it too. Next time wash it alone, I am sure it will be better. Also higher quality material tends to not ball up as much.

  16. #16
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    I have had flannel that behaved perfectly - very little shrinkage, no pilling - some of it came from WalMart - several years ago.

    I have also had flannel that did all the above - shrank, pilled, raveled, and faded.

    In my opinion, the advantage to washing fabric before cutting it - if it has bad manners - one knows before incorporating it into something.

  17. #17
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    Jane Quilter's reply was very informative. I've bought a little solid flannel at JAF and have not been happy with it. I usually avoid using it. It just looks raggedy--too raggedy!

  18. #18
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    Wash the quilt again without the towels. If you decide to give the quilt, then include a card with the gift or add to the label something like this: "Handmade with love especially for xxxxxx by xxxxx. This is a old-fashioned rag quilt. The weathered look makes this quilt extra comfy and perfect for tummy time both inside and outside. A rag quilt is intended to be used, and when it needs it, just wash it and it will become even more soft and comfy."

  19. #19
    Junior Member jokir44's Avatar
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    I made a rag quilt too but only with brushed flannel from my LQS. Yes you pay more but I didn't have any of the problems. Had it for at least 15 years and it gets used every day.

  20. #20
    Super Member Just Jan's Avatar
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    My favorite rag quilt I've made is from Homespun fabric. I ended up giving my flannel one to someone up north who has brittle winters. Once when I was traveling to a quilt show on a quilt bus, I saw a lady using her Homespun rag quilt- and I fell in love with the look. Made one and it ended up not only looking good, but awesome weight and cuddly as well. (I always wash any quilt as soon as its finished. I wash it alone and add a couple color catcher sheets to the wash cycle. I add fabric softener and machine dry.) Comparable to a loaf of fresh from the oven home made bread. Both look good, smell good and give the feeling of a great accomplishment that was well worth the effort!
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