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Thread: Too pre-wash or not

  1. #1
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    I just pre-washed all my beautiful fabric today in a gentle wash & then put it all in the dryer on gentle and medium heat. It came out with all the loose threads that have tried to 'mate' with other pieces of material making it hard to get them apart without first cutting the threads. Some pieces are terribly wrinkled and when I've ironed them with my good steam iron, the wrinkles did not come out completely. The materials that seemed to have the most loose threads (I bet I lost a little over 1/4th inch of good material from some pieces). The material that seemed to unravel the most is Henry Glass & the Marcus Christmas fabric.
    How do you keep from having this problem, short of not pre-washing and drying? And how about the wrinkles, I even pulled the material out of the dryer the instant it shut off, how do you get rid of them completely? Thanks for any suggestions you can give me.
    Karenn

  2. #2
    Super Member burnsk's Avatar
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    Did you try "sprinkling" (my mom's term for spraying with water) or maybe spray starch?

  3. #3
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
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    That is the reason I don't prewash. I would do the old fashion way of sprinkling. lay the fabric out and have a bowl of water. dip your hand it the water, and then shake it around over the cloth...all over. then fold the fabric and roll up. you can put it in a pile. Once it sits a while the water will be distributed and will probably be evenly damp.

  4. #4
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I don't prewash for the same reason. I will if it is for a swap or IRR.

  5. #5
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    You're going to get all kinds of solutions to your questions about prewashing fabrics, but here's what I do. I prewash everything to avoid shrinking and running when I make traditional quilts and so I can be sure the fusible will adhere when I make art quilts.

    I wash using the gentle cycle, with hot wash, warm rinse and no detergents. When I take the fabrics out of the washer to go into the dryer, I cut all the loose threads. It's the dryer that ties everything up in knots, not the washer. After 20 minutes in the dryer, with no dryer sheets, there are a few more threads that need trimming, but none of the fabrics are tangled up so they are all ready to be folded and put away. I don't iron them until I'm ready to use them. I lose way more fabric in squaring up for the first cut than I do in unraveled edges from prewashing. This system works really well for me.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all your suggestions. I used the shot of steam & the spray on the iron & still didn't get out all the wrinkles. My can of starch wasn't working, too many years under the bathroom sink, I think. I do have my old pepsi/sprinkling bottle that I've had for over 30 years so I'll try it next and I'll fold and roll the pieces up like Barb suggested to give the material a chance to get completely damp. And I'll go back to my old way of pre-washing in the bathroom sink, hot water first, then cold water, then into a gentle drying cycle. And thanks ghostrider for reminding me that I shouldn't be ironing the fabric until I'm ready to cut.

  7. #7
    Super Member burnsk's Avatar
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    Someone out here on the board suggested "pinking" the raw edges and that does work if you can spare just a smidge of your fabric to do it.

  8. #8
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    Unfortunately my pinking shears are hidden in my sewing room because they haven't been used in over 40 years. They never did seem cut the fabric well. I think they were defective when they were given to me. But thanks for the suggestion.

  9. #9
    sewfunquilts's Avatar
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    I don't pre-wash my fabrics anymore unless I'm using Red with some sort of white. When I did wash big batches, the best thing I found was to trim a small piece off each of the 4 corners...and it prevents the raveling. You'll have a few threads, but not enough to get tangled up.

    I've also just washed it, and then hung it to dry over hangers or towel rods...or shower curtain rods, and didn't put it in the dryer.
    Too much trouble for me now, and I like sewing with the crisp new finish & feel of new fabric.

    Why are you washing it??

  10. #10
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    I've never heard about the 4 corner trick. Thanks. If I ever pre-wash anymore fabric in the machine, I'll have to try that.
    I'm making Christmas lap quilts with reds, blacks, dark blues & greens in them as gifts and didn't want to take any chances with those bright colors bleeding.
    I don't pre-wash the material when I'm making something for my family to use.

  11. #11
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
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    You can now buy a pinking blade for your rotary cutter.

  12. #12
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    I used to pre-wash, now I don't because I like the old fashioned wrinkly quilts. I think it's all a personal preference, some on board do and some don't.

  13. #13
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I seldom wash my fabric because I don't want to waste time ironing it. I will snip off a square and put it in hot water to see if it will bleed. If it does I don't use it, I'll give it away to someone who wants to mess with it.

  14. #14
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    I overcast the raw edges before washing.

    I use either a long narrow zig-zag stitch or a narrow overcasting with the serger. My serger is my first choice, but if I have black on it and the fabrics are light colored, I go with the sewing machine. It's easier to change the thread colors on.

    Takes a bit longer, but then the most fabric I ever lose is the width of the stitching - and no loose threads to fight with.

    I find that many fabrics shrink some and I prefer a flat quilt.

    You will notice that there seems to be no definitive "right" answer to this question.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ragann63's Avatar
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    I always pre-wash to avoid puckering and dye run in the finished product. The threads and tangling don't bother me. I keep a pair of scissors by my ironing board and just clip them apart.

    Ironing secret - take the material out of the dryer while it is still slightly damp. While ironing, it steams itself and comes out completely wrinkle free! Fold loosely and it will stay that way until you are ready to do your project.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Phyl's Avatar
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    If you put the fabric into white, small pillow cases before putting it in the washing machine, it won't strip as much.(Put a few pieces of light or dark fabric together in each pillowcase.) I also avoid putting the wet fabric in the dryer for more than 10 minutes. I hand flatten the "wettish" material and lay it out to dry on a plastic sheet on my diningroom table. Hand "ironing" is so much nicer than regular ironing. If the quilt is definitely going to be a wall hanging, I don't wash it at all. Happy holiday and happy quilting too.

  17. #17
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    I square every piece of fabric, except fat quarters, then I clip the ends....they don't ravel in the wash if you clip the ends. Try it, you'll like it

    Regina

  18. #18
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    i always wash my material before sewing with it i put it in the washer with warm water and little soap
    but before i wash it i either serge or sew around the raw edges before washing and have never had a problem with "strings" also that way when i bring new fabric into my sewing room i know that if it has been sewed or serged around the edges it has been washed, after i take it out of the dryer i iron it with spray starch and get a crisp piece of material to work with , sometimes i noticed wrinkles are easier to get out if i dont use steam to iron them ( depends on the material)

  19. #19
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    I got a GREAT tip at a quilt show last year. One Tablespoon of vinegar and one cup of water in a spray bottle. Gets out the TOUGHEST wrinkles.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston1954
    I got a GREAT tip at a quilt show last year. One Tablespoon of vinegar and one cup of water in a spray bottle. Gets out the TOUGHEST wrinkles.
    Does the fabric smell like vinegar after pressing?

  21. #21
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    Quote Originally Posted by Boston1954
    I got a GREAT tip at a quilt show last year. One Tablespoon of vinegar and one cup of water in a spray bottle. Gets out the TOUGHEST wrinkles.
    Does the fabric smell like vinegar after pressing?
    No. It's wonderful! I was afraid it would the first time I did it, but It went away. Sewing room smelled like salad for a bit.

    :P

  22. #22
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    Thanks to everyone who has given me suggestions. I'll have to get a special rotary cutter just for the pinking blade: I didn't know there was one out there. And since I goofed & washed all the material for my gift projects, I'll try the sprinkle & freeze process to see how it works. And BellaBoo, if I cut even the smallest piece to check for colorfastness, that would be right where I needed precise cuts for the pattern piece (Murphey's Law runs deep in our family) :<( Again, thanks for all your help.

  23. #23
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    I overcast the raw edges before washing.

    I use either a long narrow zig-zag stitch or a narrow overcasting with the serger. My serger is my first choice, but if I have black on it and the fabrics are light colored, I go with the sewing machine. It's easier to change the thread colors on.

    Takes a bit longer, but then the most fabric I ever lose is the width of the stitching - and no loose threads to fight with.

    I find that many fabrics shrink some and I prefer a flat quilt.



    You will notice that there seems to be no definitive "right" answer to this question.
    me, too

  24. #24
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I don't overload my washer and I take the fabric out before it is bone dry. Sometimes I have a rat's nest jumble - but not usually.

  25. #25
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    Here's what I do, after years of trying everything: I put the fabrics in the washing machine, but agitate them by hand. Then spin. Rinse--agitate by hand again. Spin. Then they go in the dryer and all is well.

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