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Thread: Washing completed quilt top before quilting?

  1. #1
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    Washing completed quilt top before quilting?

    I am making my first quilt with a layer cake pack. I did not pre-wash the squares, but when I am finished sewing the quilt top, should I wash it then? I plan to use a minky fabric on the back, so I am not sure if the materials will shrink differently once the quilt is completed and washed. Any advice or tips are welcome because I am a very green sewer and quilter! Thank you!

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    you need to wait until your quilt is quilted & bound before washing- otherwise you will have quite a mess to deal with. don't worry about it---unless you have deep, saturated colors that may run- if that is the case then when the quilt is completed toss in color catchers- or use synthropol (an agent that will keep running colors suspended in the water-not on other fabrics) as for the shrinkage---the quilting and batting will play a roll too- I've backed many quilts with minkie- sometimes I pre-wash , sometimes I don't, often my quilts contain both pre-washed and new (unwashed) fabrics- I've never had a problem because of that. since the minkie is polyester you will want to wash your FINISHED quilt in cool water- I toss mine into a regular dryer cycle- they turn out just fine. my concerns with prewashing are usually based on- is the fabric a loose weave- needs to be tightened up? is it a thin flannel? will it bleed? (I test to see) does it feel funky? does it smell funky? does it have marks, soil, stains on it-sometimes from spending a long time on the bolt in a shop?
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I agree completely with ckcowl. Never ever wash just a quilt top. It will be impossible to get it pressed again, the seams will all fray (and the threads will tangle up), and some of the seams may come undone as a result.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I'm with the others, don't wash a quilt top.

    Welcome to this wonderful board.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
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    I also would never wash a top, for the reasons mentioned above. I've seen what happens (I work in a LQS) Yikes!

    Many years ago, when I could still crawl on the floor, I basted a quilt on the floor, left it overnight, and found the next morning that my cat had urinated right smack-dab in the middle of it! I sprinkled it with baking soda and let it dry, then brushed it off. It still smelled somewhat, but not as bad, and I proceeded to quilt it. When it was done, I washed it, and the smell and stain disappeared.
    Cindy

    Curator of an 1889 Singer model 27 Fiddlebase Treadle, a 1951 Singer Centennial Featherweight, a 1956 Singer 401A, and a 1982 Bernina 830 Record.

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    I have done it - with a queen size jelly roll quilt. I folded it in fourths and safety pinned it around the edges. Then I washed it on the gentle cycle with cold water and a little laundry detergent. It came out ok.

    Unpinned it and put it in the dryer to dry.

    Luckily, I had no problems with it, but now I wonder exactly what I was thinking! It was early in my quilting experience, so I can only explain it as ignorance! I don't recommend it to anyone!

  7. #7
    Super Member grammysharon's Avatar
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    I would "NEVER" wash a quilt before you have done the quilting!!! You might end up with a lot of pieces!!!
    A quilt is a blanket of love. Sharon

  8. #8
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    I have a quilt top that someone washed, that I'll never get it flat enough to quilt, but I'm gonna try it. It isn't a quilt if I don't finish it.

  9. #9
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    I agree completely with ckcowl. Never ever wash just a quilt top. It will be impossible to get it pressed again, the seams will all fray (and the threads will tangle up), and some of the seams may come undone as a result.
    Don't wash until it is finished. What dunster and ckcowl said is true. Ask me how I know.

  10. #10
    Power Poster twinkie's Avatar
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    CK is a pretty smart cookie. You can't go wrong listening to her advice. The only way I would wash a completed quilt top is to put it into a king size pillow case and put a knot in the end of the case. Then only on gentle.

  11. #11
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    No washing before quilting. Unless you prewash the fabrics before they are cut. After that, it's a bit late. Just use a Color Catcher after the quilting/binding are done.
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

  12. #12
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    I've never washed a quilt top and wouldn't take a chance on doing it. If I felt I really had to wash it I would try just soaking it in warm water,towel dryng and laying to dry. I've never tried this either but I think it would be more gentle then washing. You'd probably have to do a lot of pressing.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Reba'squilts's Avatar
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    I took a top to my grandaughter's baby shower. I needed to quilt it so took it back but spilled juice from the pan the ham was cooked in all over the top. Duh...was really upset. Had to wash it...what a mess! I had to repair many little seams and it was a buggar to iron. So...no...don't wash until quilted!!

  14. #14
    Super Member Grace MooreLinker's Avatar
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    I was given 4 quilt tops that were from goodwill, they smelled bad, I soaked them in cold soap water and spun on gentle, then dried, there were some strings but in all not to bad. I would never have quilted them if I could not have
    wash them. the ones I make ,I wait until they are quilted before washing.
    Freedom is costly and quilting keeps us busy...

  15. #15
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I would not wash it until it is finished and then throw in some colorcatchers. I made a quilt top with batik layer cakes and sashed it with plain black fabric. I became afraid it would bleed on the cherry backing so I washed it and the batik and cotton fabric did not lay straight afterwards. They must have shrunk some. I had to really iron it smooth again but I learned a good lesson from this.

  16. #16
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    I did it once to try to save some tops my DGM made. Long story short - sewer line backed up into basement where tops were stored. Fortunately Grandma used wide seams because they did fray badly. I spent hours cutting balls of knots and loose threads and more hours trying to iron them flat. I will never again wash a top before it is quilted.
    Shirley in Arizona

  17. #17
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    And most experienced quilters said, "Amen!"
    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    I agree completely with ckcowl. Never ever wash just a quilt top. It will be impossible to get it pressed again, the seams will all fray (and the threads will tangle up), and some of the seams may come undone as a result.

  18. #18
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    I prewash all my fabric before I do anything else. You never know. But, I do not wash again before finishing.

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