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Thread: Should we wash our fabric?????

  1. #1
    Super Member bebe's Avatar
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    Chck out this link

    http://quilting.about.com/od/fabrice...ash_fabric.htm

    Wash if you think it needs it???? maybe maybe not :shock: :shock:
    you may be surprised once you put it together and there is a runny mess :roll:

  2. #2
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    In 40 years I found 3 colors run more than others--red, dark blue and some wine colors. When I wash any quilted item I throw in a color catcher and haven't had any trouble. I very rarely wash fabric But will test a little corner in hot water. Yikes. Better safe than sorry. :(

  3. #3
    Super Member joeyoz's Avatar
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    They use better dyes than they used to use years ago. Colors don't run like they used to. Red is probably the only one that could still have issues. A color catcher is a good idea. One fabric you DEFINITELY want to pre-wash is flannel. I has a lot of shrinkage.

  4. #4
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    no right way , no wrong way...its your fabric , do what ever you want.

  5. #5
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    There may be no right way or wrong way, but I'm opting for washing from now on!!! As much as I HATE washing and ironing them, I decided to do a test swatch and see what happened. I had a kit I was getting ready to sew. I cut 1" squares off each fabric and wet them, then ironed to dry. ONE of the 6 fabrics shrank almost 1/4"!!!!!! I had plenty to do the kit but I'm wondering how it would have looked had I not pre-washed! :shock:

  6. #6
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amandasgramma
    There may be no right way or wrong way, but I'm opting for washing from now on!!! As much as I HATE washing and ironing them, I decided to do a test swatch and see what happened. I had a kit I was getting ready to sew. I cut 1" squares off each fabric and wet them, then ironed to dry. ONE of the 6 fabrics shrank almost 1/4"!!!!!! I had plenty to do the kit but I'm wondering how it would have looked had I not pre-washed! :shock:
    I attended a class with Harriet Hargrave, who does not prewash fabrics. She said she wanted to demonstrate to her students that shrinkage is not a problem when machine quilting is done properly (meaning quilting lines the appropriate distance apart for the Hobbs 80/20 batting she used). She used flannel that had not been prewashed for the quilt! She showed it to us, and it was not the shrunken mess I would have expected. She said that the machine quilting stabilizes the fabric.

    I do not prewash fabrics, but will test a piece in cold water if I am suspicious of its colorfastness. I always wash my quilts after they are done and for this wash I use Synthrapol just to make sure that, if there are any bleeds, the excess dye will rinse away rather than settle in other fabrics. In my opinion, it's also important to pay attention to when the wash cycle has completed so fabrics aren't sitting against other fabrics for a long period of time while wet. Knock on wood, but so far I haven't had any problem with bleeding or unwanted shrinkage. (I use cotton batting and like the soft crinkled look it produces; wouldn't work for someone who likes a flat contemporary look.)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by amandasgramma
    There may be no right way or wrong way, but I'm opting for washing from now on!!! As much as I HATE washing and ironing them, I decided to do a test swatch and see what happened. I had a kit I was getting ready to sew. I cut 1" squares off each fabric and wet them, then ironed to dry. ONE of the 6 fabrics shrank almost 1/4"!!!!!! I had plenty to do the kit but I'm wondering how it would have looked had I not pre-washed! :shock:
    At that rate, a 40 inch strip would have ended up being 30 inches long.
    Seems significant to me.




  8. #8
    Super Member LucyInTheSky's Avatar
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    I prewashed for one quilt and it was difficult to work with the fabric. I like the crispness that they come with, and I can't seem to replicate it at home. So I don't prewash, just because it's easier to cut and sew for me :D

  9. #9
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I am not a prewasher. I will if it is part of an exchange, but otherwise it a no. I have never had any problems with my quilts.

  10. #10
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    I always prewash. A pain, but I must. Now I put it in the washing machine with a tiny bit of detergent, and agitate it by hand. Then spin. Then fill with water--agitate by hand again, spin and dry. An extra step, but I never wash the quilts after I make them, except for ragged flannels, and even those I might spray with water and dry. I like the unwashed look for as long as it lasts.

  11. #11
    Super Member LucyInTheSky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnbum
    I always prewash. A pain, but I must. Now I put it in the washing machine with a tiny bit of detergent, and agitate it by hand. Then spin. Then fill with water--agitate by hand again, spin and dry.
    Kudos to you but waaaaaaaaay too much work for me :mrgreen:

  12. #12
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    I always prewash. The first quilt my DIL made was flannel, when she washed it all the seams pulled apart and it was ruined. I wash flannel in warm water and use 3/8 to 1/2" seams. One of my studens washed a finished quilt that she had made for a friend to sell. The colors ran and almost reuined the quilt. She was able to get it to a softer color and the lady paying was happy with it. It is a very good idea to give color cathers with every quilt you give way.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnbum
    I always prewash. A pain, but I must. Now I put it in the washing machine with a tiny bit of detergent, and agitate it by hand. Then spin. Then fill with water--agitate by hand again, spin and dry. An extra step, but I never wash the quilts after I make them, except for ragged flannels, and even those I might spray with water and dry. I like the unwashed look for as long as it lasts.
    To hand agitate the fabric is an excellent suggestion - that way one avoids any "roughing up" of the fabric - and still can take care of any shrinkage that might occur.

    And, yes, shrinkage does occur. I can tell from when I was still using tepid water - some of the lengths are now only 35 inches (from the LQS that measured closely) and I KNOW I purchased a full yard.

    For the first pass on fabrics, I try to put only lights with lights. For the dark colors I only put the same colors together. In case one of them has bad manners, I can work some more with it to see if I can get the excess dye off/out of it.

    I've decided that if I can't get a fabric to stop "bleeding" dye after several run-throughs, the proper place for it is either to be returned or put in the trash.

    For "to be used quilts" - especially a child's quilt - I just assume the person doing the laundry is just going to toss it in the wash and hope for the best. I would guess that most young mothers would not even think of dye catchers or anything else like that after the blankie has been puked on. They just want it to be clean again.

    The idea of sending a dye catcher along with a quilt is a good idea - but I think having no dye floating around is an even better idea. But there might be other articles in the wash that have bad manners.


    It still comes down to personal preference. I've had just enough experience with shrinkage and dye running/bleeding to be into prevention.

  14. #14

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    What is a color catcher?

  15. #15
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    It's like a dryer sheet, except it goes in the washer. They are sold everywhere in the laundry dept.

  16. #16
    Senior Member pam1966's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray


    I've decided that if I can't get a fabric to stop "bleeding" dye after several run-throughs, the proper place for it is either to be returned or put in the trash.

    For "to be used quilts" - especially a child's quilt - I just assume the person doing the laundry is just going to toss it in the wash and hope for the best. I would guess that most young mothers would not even think of dye catchers or anything else like that after the blankie has been puked on. They just want it to be clean again.

    [i]

    Excellent points, especially about fabrics that continue to bleed after being washed several times. So far all the quilts I've made have been given away, and I don't assume that they will get any "special" treatment once they're in their new home. You can always tell someone that it needs to be washed in a special way, but I don't doubt someone in a hurry or just plain forgetful will wash it with other items.

  17. #17
    Super Member Dodie's Avatar
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    I always always prewash not only for dyes but there a lot of chemicals used which really dulls the machine needles and I just don't like using it until it is washed then use fabric stabelizer works for me

  18. #18

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    granny,
    what's a color catcher. I understand the theory, so name a brand or some other way I'll be able to ask for it.
    thanks
    peel

  19. #19
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    What a mess. I thought all my fabrics were washed and I made a ginger jar our of Japanese prints and the dark ones ran... :(

  20. #20
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    Color catcher is an item you can buy in your supermarket, wal-mart or what ever. There are color ones and Woolite makes a Dye Magnet that is like a dryer sheet. There are 20 of these in a box. I think it is well worth the money. Throw that in with your faric when you wash it and you will be surprized about what it picks up. I also have a cloth one I got someplace. But I really like the hot water in a clear glass and a small square in of the fabric in it.

  21. #21
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    I'm a bit of a fanatic when it comes to washing fabrics - and I had washed these - but I had sprayed (rather wetly, I admit) either a starch or sizing - on some washed fabrics - and a dark blue and a dark red bled into the pale gray I was using.

    This was several years ago, but they were RJR fabrics.


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