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Thread: Washing Fabric before use.

  1. #1
    Member Lou Lou's Avatar
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    Is it a must to wash all fabric before making quilts? I do some but others I don't. What is your thinking on this.

  2. #2
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    I think its a good idea, just because you never know if something may shrink or bleed. Some do, some dont, I just am really cautious!

  3. #3
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    this is a long discussion as some prefers to pre wash and others don't

  4. #4
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    almost nothing in quilting is a "must".

    i used to be fanatically against prewashing. then i started buying fancier fabrics at higher prices. wouldn't you know it? the color from one of them (a red) rubbed off onto another while it was still in the drawer. another (a blue) bled like a stuck pig when i washed the finished quilt.

    both of those fabrics were selling for $9 per yard in quilt shops!

    in all but two cases, no fabrics shrink on me by more than "a tadbit" unless they are of the type sold in quilt shops.

    so ... as crazy at it sounds ... the more i pay for a fabric, the more likely i am to prewash it.

    go figure. :roll:

  5. #5
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    I don't prewash anything. Been successful. Once had to replace a binding. I don't mind handwork so no big deal.

  6. #6

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    I have the quilt dry cleaned the first time if there are real darks and light lights together, and or if the quilt is going to ge a special one. They don't seem to bleed or shrink that way.

  7. #7
    Super Member Ripped on Scotch's Avatar
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    For me it depends on what i'm using it for, I tend to prewash baby stuff & the reds that could bleed. but if it is part of a pre-packaged kit I don't. I have listened to the arugment for both sides and really don't see a difference. Shout Color Catchers are great so if i don't have to I like to just wash it after I'm all done it.

  8. #8
    Member Lou Lou's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the input on washing fabric. I am new at adding things to the message board. I really enjoy reading it all.

  9. #9
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    If you want to do a search on the topic, you can read until tomorrow morning on the topic. (Maybe even next week)

    I've had stuff shrink over two inches in width. Including a Michael Miller black that I just bought this winter at a LQS in Florida.

  10. #10
    Super Member TexasGurl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Lou
    Is it a must to wash all fabric before making quilts? I do some but others I don't. What is your thinking on this.
    I very seldom prewash anymore, maybe 10% of what I buy ... only deep reds or greens etc

    Use a color-catcher in the 1st wash and you should never have any problems

    I've only had a couple of reds ever bleed in 20+ yrs of quilting, and those were Jinny Beyer prints 15 yrs ago

  11. #11
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    I've had a couple of the Jinny Beyer ones from that era bleed, also. A red one and a royal blue one.

    That was AFTER I had washed them and thought they were okay.

    The bleeding happened while I was pressing some blocks made with them using starch or sizing.

  12. #12
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I started off washing all my fabrics. I did a couple of block of the months where I didn't wash the fabric and I really couldn't tell much difference after they were finished.

    The batting you choose has a whole lot more to do with the look of the finished quilt than washing or not washing the fabric.

    I haven't found many fabrics that actually bleed. Most of what people think of as bleeding fabric is just the excess dye washing out. Toss in a color catcher in the first wash and you shouldn't have a problem.

  13. #13
    Super Member sewingladydi's Avatar
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    I wash all fabric pretty much as soon as I bring it in the house.

  14. #14
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    My DH and I rent the house that we currently live in and unfortunately we have an ooooooold septic tank. We try to limit the amount of "washing" we do . . . so I can't really wash fabric any time I buy new. So what I do is fill my bathtub up with water and a tad bit of my laundry detergent. Then I soak one color at a time to get any excess whatever off the fabrics. I just ring out the fabric and put them in the dryer all together :-)

    I have heard that if you do not prewash your fabrics and you wait to wash your quilt AFTER it is complete that sometimes you will get an effect of a rather old quilt . . been a long day so my brain doesn't really want to work LOL

  15. #15
    Super Member JanetM's Avatar
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    I don't take any chances so I prewash everything. I would hate to spend hours making something just to have it shrink or bleed. Color catchers are also a good idea the first time you wash a quilt.

  16. #16
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    I prewash everything. Wall hangings can shrink just a tad and it won't "hang" right.

  17. #17
    Junior Member Corry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Lou
    Is it a must to wash all fabric before making quilts? I do some but others I don't. What is your thinking on this.
    I didn't use to but now I do. I don't want to take the chance of all that work and something going wrong. I also do machine embroidery on alot of my quilts and I have to prewash before embroidering.I would have a mess if I embroider and then the fabric shrinks and messes up the embroidery. So if I am going to prewash the fabrics with embroidery i have to prewash any other fabric used in the quilt. I just get it over with and then starch and iron it before getting to work on the quilt. It gives me the peace of mind that I do not have to worry about shrinkage or bleeding.

  18. #18
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I don't prewash and so far (knock on wood) have had no problems

  19. #19
    Super Member Beachbound's Avatar
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    I prewash everything with a Shout Color Catcher. The catcher usually picks up a lot of color. Right now I am loving batiks & they really need prewashed. I then iron them while wet...works for me!

  20. #20
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I always pre wash,totally dry, fold and put into my fabric cabinet. I iron when I get ready to use.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingleberry
    I always pre wash,totally dry, fold and put into my fabric cabinet. I iron when I get ready to use.
    Only think I add to that, is that I serge or zigzag the raw edges before washing the fabrics.

  22. #22
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    I have never pre-washed. Something in me does not feel the need to clean material that is not dirty.

  23. #23
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    [quote=erstan947]I don't prewash anything. Been successful.

    same with me
    I rarely wash anything unless I'm using alot of a solid (red and blue, particularly) and there's white cloth in the quilt.

  24. #24
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    In sewing class, back in the olden days, we learned to pre-wash all fabric. I still do that, although I tend to mostly get it wet with hand-warm water, wring thoroughly, then let the dryer do the shrinking. I once threw a bunch of fat quarters through the wash and they shrank so much I couldn't make the pattern I had bought the kit for. I wouldn't pre-wash any pre-cut fabric again.

    If you participate in most swaps, the fabric used in them is to be pre-washed.

  25. #25

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    I've always washed fabric before quilting, because that's what i was taught, but this new one I'm working on isn't washed so i'll see what i get when it's all done.i'll wash it in cold water and hang to dry. With the natural wonder batting it might just come out the way i want.

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