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Thread: Wash your fabric? Old subject seeking new answers - -

  1. #1
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    Wash your fabric? Old subject seeking new answers - -

    I know this has been discussed before. But have any of you had a change of heart when it comes to washing fabric?

    Jenny Doan did a Q & A and said that using good fabrics, because of better dyes being used these days, and better techniques, that she doesn't wash, and hasn't had a problem.

    What is your latest opinion?

    TIA,
    Skeetersmom

  2. #2
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    I agree with Jenny. I never prewash. I only use the quilt shop only fabrics. No problems!
    Sandy
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  3. #3
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    I wash. Every now and then I still get a fabric that bleeds like crazy -- usually batiks but occasionally a regular print -- and every now and then I still get one that shrinks more than others. I think it's also easier to see after washing and machine drying whether the print really is printed on the straight grain of the fabric.

    I've never used charm packs or jelly rolls because I can't figure out how I'd get them washed and dried without taking lots of trouble LOL .

  4. #4
    Junior Member homebody323's Avatar
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    I'm with toolazy, I always wash and dry everything. I too refuse to use precuts for the very reason she gives. I have been frogging now for several days on a customer quilt that the "quilt shop" backing sagged so much during quilting that I got puckers. It all has to come out, 36 x 79" was quilted before the problem began. It will not beat me. I fwill shrink and starch this baby then prebaste since I know I have a problem with it. It only takes a couple of incidents before you will wash and dry before hand. I'm not taking a chance on color run or uneven shrinkage on my quilts.
    Sally Dolin
    Rock Island, IL

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolazy View Post

    I've never used charm packs or jelly rolls because I can't figure out how I'd get them washed and dried without taking lots of trouble LOL .
    Same here. I use to prewash, but that was before I started using all the pre-cuts. Now when I finish a quilt, when I wash it, I just throw in a couple of color catchers and so far have not had any problems.

  6. #6
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    I wash red and navy blue fabrics if I am also using light colors in the quilt.

  7. #7
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    I never pre-wash, been quilting since mid 70's and I have never had a problem.

  8. #8
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    Do you think with our modern dyes, that washing first is still necessary? I only wash fabric like a red flannel (still needs to be washed again, therefore, no quilt made yet), or a fabric to be used in a "trade block" and was required to have been washed first. I use color catchers and haven't had a problem yet. I've been quilting less than 5 years, but have made about 2 dozen quilt projects, so maybe I'm just lucky.
    I prefer to cut unwashed fabric for sewing because I think I cut more accurately, but I (nearly) always wash clothing prior to wearing.

  9. #9
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    My main reason for prewashing is to catch those bleeders....and yes, I still find one now and then. I would rather prewash and fix the issue then, instead of risking a ruined quilt after completion. I also never know what the fabric has been subjected to...chemicals, dust, dirt, bugs....I want all that out of the way as soon as possible by washing as soon as it comes into the house. I once made a quilt with red and white, prewashed all the fabrics and thought I was good to go....wrong....after completion and the wash to make it all crinkly, the red was still bleeding all over the white. I had even used the color catchers. I now pretreat all bleeders with Retayne - end of problems.
    Last edited by Buckeye Rose; 04-01-2013 at 05:05 AM.

  10. #10
    Super Member IrishNY's Avatar
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    I wash everything before I use it, mainly because I want the dust and chemicals out of the fabric before I use it. I also want it all pre-shrunk so I don't have to worry about uneven shrinkage after it's pieced. I don't usually have trouble with bleeding but just last week had one fabric (red) that kept bleeding. I prefer to find that out before it's in a quilt top next to white fabric.
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  11. #11
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    Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Mariposa's Avatar
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    I still wash mine. Get rid of chemicals, catch bleeders, and shrinkage.
    Be a blessing to others, as you may entertain angels unaware!

  13. #13
    Junior Member indycat32's Avatar
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    I was pre-washing as soon as I bought the fabric, even if I wasn't going to use it right away. And then I decided to try a one block wonder with fabric from my stash. She really means it when she says don't pre-wash. Finally got the panels to line up (or close enough) but it was harder than it needed to be. So I may still pre-wash but not until I'm ready to use it.

  14. #14
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I suppose if your only reason for prewashing is to get rid of loose dyes, Ms Doan's conclusion would make sense. I prewash everything to get rid of chemicals, finishings, and 'retail grunge', to preshrink, to make 'fuse ready', to make 'surface design ready', to restore the natural grain, and, oh yeah, to test for colorfastness. I have yet to find any reason at all not to prewash my fabrics, but it's a personal choice we all make for ourselves.
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  15. #15
    Super Member NikkiLu's Avatar
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    Batiks MUST be prewashed. I recently purchased some absolutely beautiful batiks from a member here and just assumed that they were not prewashed - so dunked them in my pure white dish pan with a drop of soap and they did bleed - not a whole lot - but my water was the color of tea. When I emailed the lady whom I purchased them from and told her that they had arrived and how much I loved them, I said that I had just washed them and they did bleed a little. She was surprised because she had already washed them!!!
    Nikki in MO

  16. #16
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I prewash everything because it's very little effort to protect my money and time investment. I've seen enough ruined projects from others that don't prewash, to remind me to keep doing what I'm doing;>

  17. #17
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    Why start this discussion again!!!! It is a matter of preference if you wash or not! Personally I do not since I do not to iron all the wrinkles out of yards of fabric!!!!! Takes too much time away from quilting!!! Also I like the wrinkled look after washing quilt for the first time. Also I always us a "color Catcher" ist time I was quilt.
    "In the crazy quilt of life, I'm glad you are in my block of friends."

  18. #18
    Super Member Normabeth's Avatar
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    I don't wash my fabric either, but I do steam them, either with a hot iron or in my washing machine's steam cycle, they just get a little damp and hot.
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  19. #19
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    I used to never prewash. I've started because I'm using more of my own hand-dyes. I have to prewash the fabrics I dye to get the sizing out, and then wash them multiple times to rinse of excess dyes. I'm worried if I mix them with commercial fabrics that aren't prewashed the shrinking won't be the same.

    But if I use soley commercial fabrics, I pretty much never prewash.

  20. #20
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    Is it of any use to make a list of fabrics that shrink, or could a certain fabric/designer/retailer often have different "lots" that may not behave the same consistently?

  21. #21
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    I have never pre-washed a single piece of fabric and have never had a bleeder. And I've made over 50 quilts. I steam iron my quilt fabric before I sew and wash the quilt after it's all done and everything has been perfect! I just don't want to waste all that time washing and all that extra time ironing it so much longer after it's been washed. I know how wrinkled a washed pieced of fabric can look like. It's not for me.

    But I do have a bunch of Kona Solids and I think I will pre-wash those. When I look at those, they call out 'Bleeders' to me!
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  22. #22
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    I don't prewash, just use color catchers.

  23. #23
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I wash even with good fabric I still get bleeder once in a while. I also get some shrinkage in some fabric and not in others. I do not mind doing it and figure better safe than sorry.

  24. #24
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    A few years back, I read an article that stated that fabrics that will be used in things that will be seldom washed, such as wallhangings, don't need pre-washed. Likewise, fabric that will be used in quilts that may see frequent washings, should be pre-washed. Good idea, BUT, sometimes I buy fabric that I don't have a plan for yet. Then what? I am re-organizing my fabric, and couldn't tell on some which had been washed and which hadn't, so I ended up washing most. Tedious! Anyway, my New Year's Resolution, 3 months late, is that no newly purchased fabric, will enter my sewing room without being washed first! I also am putting a pair of pinking shears in the laundry room to trim the fabric before washing. I read a hint on this board, sorry I don't remember who posted, that by trimming the edges with pinking shears before washing, this really cuts down on fabric fraying. I also use color catchers, one of the best inventions ever! My MIL, God rest her soul, won many quilt contests, and she always washed her fabrics. Anyway, those are my thoughts. I don't use the pre-cuts either, because I can't figure out how to pre-wash them.

  25. #25
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    what do you do about the chemical in the dye? I now the new fabrics probably wont bleed or shrink but I don't want the chemical to give anyone alergy Also those quilts used as demos on utube probably never get washed or used. If you bought a child a pair of pj's would yu wash the before they wear them. If i make a wall hanging that i never going to be washed then I may not pre wash it. If it is going to be wrapped around soeone then it gets washed.
    And how about the shrinkage...all fabric from the same line of fabric doesn't come from the same cotton patch and finished the same. so there could be differences in shrinkage. Do you wash new sheets before you sleep on them.
    Why should quilt fabric be treated any different than other fibres we put on our bodies

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