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Thread: UNwashed fabrics

  1. #1
    Senior Member kristijoy's Avatar
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    UNwashed fabrics

    I've noticed lately that one technique being used now is to NOT was your new quilting fabrics and then wash the quilt when it's all put together so it created a nifty crinkly shrinky effect. I'm thinking about trying this on a baby quilt (small size).

    My question is: do I need to have a cotton batting for the 'shrinkage' to work? I've been using a good quality polyester primarily because I like a lighter weight quilt when I'm finished. I could, though, consider using a cotton for a small project. What do you think? Would a polyester batting work?
    Kristi

  2. #2
    Power Poster Annaquilts's Avatar
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    Yes, polyester batting works too. Do remember polyester might fluff the uneven spots a bit but it is just as snugly. I have also gone back at times to using some polyester batting because of the weight and feel of it.
    Anna Quilts

  3. #3
    Senior Member GemState's Avatar
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    You may not get as much of a crinkly look with a polyester batting. You can wash your fabric or not and when you use a cotton batt it will crinkle.

  4. #4
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    No, you don't need the cotton batting for the fabrics to shrink, but it would depend on how "crinkly" you want the top to be, if you want it pretty crinkling, then I would go for the cotton batting, but I've used poly batting and non washed cotton and been happy with the "crinkling".

  5. #5
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    My reason for prewashing is not only for shrinkage but also for bleeding of fabric. If you think it won't bleed that will be the one that does. All that hard work and having to work even harder for bleeds. Another reason that I believe bears repeating (and I have seen it happen) is health and cleaning issues. I live in a warm area down by the Gulf. So it gets hot and humid and people sweat profusely. One day while shopping for fabric in a big box store a woman came from the outside and was perspiring like it had been raining. She walked up to some fabric, wiped her head and face and the back of her neck. Another woman brought it to a clerks attention. They got a security guard to usher her out. She had no intention of purchasing that fabric. The clerk with instructions from the manager took the bolt of fabric back to the cutting table and cut a good 1 1/2 yds off the bolt. There was dirt on the fabric. Disgusting! That is why (even if you can't see it) I prewash. Ever hear of imbetigo (often called infantigo) easily passed and highly contagious. And other infectious diseases. Call me a fanatic if you want but do you really want to pass it onto the person you're making it for. And yes I wash my hands after sorting laundry and handling soiled laundry.

  6. #6
    Super Member meyert's Avatar
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    tessagain - that is awful! but I can see it happening....wash the fabric first!!!

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Polyester batting doesn't shrink, whereas cotton batting does. You don't get as much crinkling with polyester batting, but you still get a nice soft-looking result. Definitely try it to see what it looks like.

    I remember the very first quilt I made. Pre-washed all the fabric, hand quilted it, and used all-cotton batting. It crinkled so much I took it to a quilt shop to ask if I had done something wrong! Nope. That is the way cotton batting acts.

  8. #8
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    I wash the fabric before I use it so that I'm confident it won't bleed. I wash the quilt after I finish it so that I'm confident that it won't fall apart after the new owner puts it in her washing machine!
    Penny

  9. #9
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    To prevent staining from dye bleeds when I don't prewash fabric, I make sure the first washing of a quilt is done in a washing machine that uses ***lots*** of hot water and wash with Synthrapol. Front-loading domestic washing machines do not use enough water to dilute dye bleeds, so I go to the local laundromat. For a large quilt, I use their largest front-loading washer. Synthrapol helps loose dye particles remain suspended in water so they are rinsed away instead of settling into fabrics where you don't want them.

  10. #10
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tessagin View Post
    My reason for prewashing is not only for shrinkage but also for bleeding of fabric. If you think it won't bleed that will be the one that does. All that hard work and having to work even harder for bleeds. Another reason that I believe bears repeating (and I have seen it happen) is health and cleaning issues. I live in a warm area down by the Gulf. So it gets hot and humid and people sweat profusely. One day while shopping for fabric in a big box store a woman came from the outside and was perspiring like it had been raining. She walked up to some fabric, wiped her head and face and the back of her neck. Another woman brought it to a clerks attention. They got a security guard to usher her out. She had no intention of purchasing that fabric. The clerk with instructions from the manager took the bolt of fabric back to the cutting table and cut a good 1 1/2 yds off the bolt. There was dirt on the fabric. Disgusting! That is why (even if you can't see it) I prewash. Ever hear of imbetigo (often called infantigo) easily passed and highly contagious. And other infectious diseases. Call me a fanatic if you want but do you really want to pass it onto the person you're making it for. And yes I wash my hands after sorting laundry and handling soiled laundry.
    I prewash everything. Quilters....me included....like to touch the fabric and you never know where their hands have been. My kids call me a germaphob but I sure feel better once new fabric has been washed.

  11. #11
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    I was taught to prewash fabric to remove any chemicals and pesticides that might be in it. Most fabric is made overseas and must be treated with insecticide to be shipped into this country (also pertains to almost everything imported.) I'm not sensitive to chemicals the way some people are but I still don't want the chemicals on my hands.
    I don't want to brag but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.

  12. #12
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    I prewash all my fabrics (except small precuts which I typically do not use). I use cotton batting (W&N). I also wash my quilts when complete for a host of reasons. Get the wonderful crinkly look all the time. I, too, believe that you will get a more crinkled look with cotton vs poly batting. I don't think our quilting fabric alone generally shrinks enough to make a significant difference overall in creating that look. Batting, imo, is the major factor.

  13. #13
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    ....all I'm going to say is I don't prewash...before or after.......

  14. #14
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    I don't think pre-washing fabric or not has to do with the crinkle. I think that's all in the batting. I haven't worked with polyester, but even my pre-washed Warm & Natural batting crinkled! You'll definitely get a crinkle with cotton batting.

  15. #15
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    different cottons shrink at different percents. This is one of the reasons I wash first. My main reason though is because this is how my dear Granny taught me, and she was an absolute expert.

    I baste the short sides together on each cut of fabric, I don't use detergent, and put them through the rinse cycle once. Most shrinkage takes place in the hot dryer; the 'pounding' causes most of the shrinkage. Now I am confident that all the fabric has shrunk and won't pull away from the seams after it is all finished.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Prissnboot's Avatar
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    This is quite possibly the most disgusting thing I've ever heard! Some nasty slob wiping her sweaty self on someone else's merchandise? GROSS!!!
    She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight.

  17. #17
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    Each different cotton, and each different batting type will result in a quilt "blooming" in an individual manner. For me that is the part that is exciting, seeing how each quilt looks after its first "bath". As long as you quilt following the distance guidelines for your choice of batting, you will usually be happy with the results.
    If you always do, what you have always done, The results never change. Change is the wings you give yourself.

  18. #18
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tessagin View Post
    My reason for prewashing is not only for shrinkage but also for bleeding of fabric. If you think it won't bleed that will be the one that does. All that hard work and having to work even harder for bleeds. Another reason that I believe bears repeating (and I have seen it happen) is health and cleaning issues. I live in a warm area down by the Gulf. So it gets hot and humid and people sweat profusely. One day while shopping for fabric in a big box store a woman came from the outside and was perspiring like it had been raining. She walked up to some fabric, wiped her head and face and the back of her neck. Another woman brought it to a clerks attention. They got a security guard to usher her out. She had no intention of purchasing that fabric. The clerk with instructions from the manager took the bolt of fabric back to the cutting table and cut a good 1 1/2 yds off the bolt. There was dirt on the fabric. Disgusting! That is why (even if you can't see it) I prewash. Ever hear of imbetigo (often called infantigo) easily passed and highly contagious. And other infectious diseases. Call me a fanatic if you want but do you really want to pass it onto the person you're making it for. And yes I wash my hands after sorting laundry and handling soiled laundry.
    True and not to mention, most fabrics are stored in foreign warehouses, for at least a period of time. Warehouses where rats or mice can live. I will always was first.
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
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  19. #19
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    Has anyone else had this problem? I have always washed my fabric before using but love to play with it awhile and admire it before it goes into the wash. Lately however after handling it my hands have turned red and started itching and burn. One of the women that cuts fabric where I buy a lot of fabric told me she had to go to the emergency room after unpacking a order of new fabric with blisters all over her palms. Now I am wondering if they are putting something new in fabric or am I just starting to react to something that has not bothered me before. So, just wondering if anyone else is having the same problem.

  20. #20
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crafty pat View Post
    Has anyone else had this problem? I have always washed my fabric before using but love to play with it awhile and admire it before it goes into the wash. Lately however after handling it my hands have turned red and started itching and burn. One of the women that cuts fabric where I buy a lot of fabric told me she had to go to the emergency room after unpacking a order of new fabric with blisters all over her palms. Now I am wondering if they are putting something new in fabric or am I just starting to react to something that has not bothered me before. So, just wondering if anyone else is having the same problem.
    I have to wear vinyl gloves to handle new fabric because the new finishes really aggravate my hands and cause severe exzema outbreaks. I have also used a think coating of baby cream before and after and washing my hands after sewing has helped a lot.
    If you always do, what you have always done, The results never change. Change is the wings you give yourself.

  21. #21
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    I am apparently allergic to some of the dyes in fabric. If I don't prewash, my hands get red from handling it (and no, not dye-red ;-), rash and irritation red ). I think dyes are basically toxic, so I prefer to get them out of my house right away. Thus, I always prewash before even putting away stash fabrics.

    If you want to use polyester batting and you want some crinkle, you'll still get some even if you pre-wash the fabrics. Just hang-dry them so they don't get dryer shrinkage! Once the quilt is made and washed, they will shrink unevenly around the quilting, making for a bit of crinkly effect. Yes, polyester batted quilts do give you less crinkle.

    Otherwise, using washed fabrics with cotton batting gives you the effect, yes. 50/50 cotton poly might be a nice compromise. I agree with you though that certainly for a baby quilt, the lightweightedness of polyester is desirable.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tessagin View Post
    My reason for prewashing is not only for shrinkage but also for bleeding of fabric. If you think it won't bleed that will be the one that does. All that hard work and having to work even harder for bleeds. Another reason that I believe bears repeating (and I have seen it happen) is health and cleaning issues. I live in a warm area down by the Gulf. So it gets hot and humid and people sweat profusely. One day while shopping for fabric in a big box store a woman came from the outside and was perspiring like it had been raining. She walked up to some fabric, wiped her head and face and the back of her neck. Another woman brought it to a clerks attention. They got a security guard to usher her out. She had no intention of purchasing that fabric. The clerk with instructions from the manager took the bolt of fabric back to the cutting table and cut a good 1 1/2 yds off the bolt. There was dirt on the fabric. Disgusting! That is why (even if you can't see it) I prewash. Ever hear of imbetigo (often called infantigo) easily passed and highly contagious. And other infectious diseases. Call me a fanatic if you want but do you really want to pass it onto the person you're making it for. And yes I wash my hands after sorting laundry and handling soiled laundry.
    GAK! I can't get that image out of my head!

  23. #23
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    I don't wash my fabrics first. Why wash out the sizing & then starch it like crazy? I use both cotton and sometimes the 80/20 battings. I do wash when I'm done and they always look fine!

  24. #24
    Senior Member kristijoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becky's Crafts View Post
    I don't wash my fabrics first. Why wash out the sizing & then starch it like crazy? I use both cotton and sometimes the 80/20 battings. I do wash when I'm done and they always look fine!
    I bought some 80/20 batting last week and I'm thinking to try this. Thanks for the report! That makes me feel a bit more comfortable!
    Kristi

  25. #25
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    I don't pre wash before or after the quilt is completed, I do send instructions on how to wash along with color catchers and their directions, my question is...so far I have only used Hobbs 80/20, will this still give a nice crinkled antiqued look after drying it in the dryer. As you can tell I'm still new & have sent out newly made quilts for Christmas as described earlier in this post. I have made my DH a lap quilt but it hasn't been washed yet so I don't know how it will look. One more little question can the 100% cotton be quilted closer together than the 80/20 batting. Thanks in advance once again for all your help.
    Jeri

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