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Thread: Washing fabric one fabric at a time?

  1. #1
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    In the debate of whether or not you pre-wash your fabrics, I take the side the pre-washing because I don't want to run into any sort of surprises. I wash my fabrics one at a time on the smallest load because I worry about colors running together.

    That's kind of a problem. Though I am trying to put in an effort to change this, I still live with my mother. It seems like she'll nag at me about every little thing. The other day I went and washed one of the fabrics for my Shuriken Packer quilt and she nagged at me because it was the only item in the wash.

    I guess this is not a huge problem as I don't have a lot of fabrics to wash.........................yet. My big project requires about 70 or so different colors of marble/watercolor fabrics. I definatly worry about color fast-ness on this one as there are so many fabrics and a lot of subtle color variation that I don't want to ruin because excess dye got into other fabrics. But even if I had my own washer and dryer, doing 70 loads for each indivual fabric is a bit ridiculous.

    What can I do to avoid colors possibly running together without having to do so many loads of laundry?

  2. #2
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    use a color catcher or synthrapol

  3. #3
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying_V_Goddess
    In the debate of whether or not you pre-wash your fabrics, I take the side the pre-washing because I don't want to run into any sort of surprises. I wash my fabrics one at a time on the smallest load because I worry about colors running together.

    That's kind of a problem. Though I am trying to put in an effort to change this, I still live with my mother. It seems like she'll nag at me about every little thing. The other day I went and washed one of the fabrics for my Shuriken Packer quilt and she nagged at me because it was the only item in the wash.

    I guess this is not a huge problem as I don't have a lot of fabrics to wash.........................yet. My big project requires about 70 or so different colors of marble/watercolor fabrics. I definatly worry about color fast-ness on this one as there are so many fabrics and a lot of subtle color variation that I don't want to ruin because excess dye got into other fabrics. But even if I had my own washer and dryer, doing 70 loads for each indivual fabric is a bit ridiculous.

    What can I do to avoid colors possibly running together without having to do so many loads of laundry?
    Personally, if it was me and I had that many pieces to wash, I would be doing it in the bathroom sink by hand. I am a great believer in color catchers. If you do them by hand, you are using less water, agitating with your hands, which will minimize fraying, and you will be able to see right away if a fabric is going to run. I have a well pump and would be very upset if one of my kids came in and started washing one piece of fabric at time. Back to the hand washing, after a thorough rinsing till the water runs clear, roll the fabric in a towel to get the excess water out and then dry as desired.

  4. #4
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Wash by hand in the sink or tub depending on the yardage involved and how much room you need for agitation, spin in the washer and then machine dry in color groupings lest your mother mention 70 separate dryer runs too!

    Any way you do it, it will be labor intensive. And any way you do it, the colors will change slightly with washing.

  5. #5
    Senior Member B. Louise's Avatar
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    I sort of wash fabric by hand in my machine. I put a little water and detergent in my machine. I put my fq or yards in the machine, beginning with the lightest colors. I swish it a little, not enough to make it ravel. I take it out and let it sit in my sink while I swish the others, darker and darker colors. If none of them run, I'll put them back in and spin them out together, then add rinse water. I still swish them by hand or wooden spoon. They don't ravel, don't get very wrinkled. I set the machine near the end of final spin. After that I fluff them out in the dryer and iron them. (I wash wool sweaters the same way.)It doesn't take much water or detergent or time.

  6. #6
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grann of 6
    Personally, if it was me and I had that many pieces to wash, I would be doing it in the bathroom sink by hand.
    I do that and when I find one that runs, it goes into the washer with other like colors. Otherwise, I find running the washer for one piece wasteful. (Sorry - guess I'm with your mom on that)

    The others, I wring out and then roll them up in a towel to get excess water out before ironing them dry. Works like a charm.

  7. #7
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    I would sort them into whites, lights and darks and wash them with color catchers. I prewash large pieces of fabric with my regular laundry and a CC. I do all my laundry on gentle and rarely have much fraying.

    I do have close to ten yards of black prints - those two pieces will be washed together with nothing else.

  8. #8
    Member AnitaGrossmanSolomon's Avatar
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    I sort, I launder, I color catch.

    The 'danger' is when a damp fabric sits on top of another. If it is going to bleed, it will transfer that way. So, I remove fabric promptly from the front loading washing machine in my apartment house. Likewise a quilt. Out of the wash and immediately into a dryer. I make 'bed' quilts as opposed to wall or art quilts, so i do wash everything. And I launder fabric together with clothes.

    Anita/NYC
    http://makeitsimpler.blogspot.com

  9. #9
    Super Member LivelyLady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Louise
    I sort of wash fabric by hand in my machine. I put a little water and detergent in my machine. I put my fq or yards in the machine, beginning with the lightest colors. I swish it a little, not enough to make it ravel. I take it out and let it sit in my sink while I swish the others, darker and darker colors. If none of them run, I'll put them back in and spin them out together, then add rinse water. I still swish them by hand or wooden spoon. They don't ravel, don't get very wrinkled. I set the machine near the end of final spin. After that I fluff them out in the dryer and iron them. (I wash wool sweaters the same way.)It doesn't take much water or detergent or time.
    What a great idea!! I will certainly wash my sweaters that way from now on. Thanks!

  10. #10
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    I put like colors together and wash all at onetime fi it is dark blue/green and red I put the green in one load blue and red the same w/hot water or I start with resolyn and dry them then wash that pritty well takes care of any runs

  11. #11
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I sort by light/med or dark and use color catchers (2 in dark). Never had a problem!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Grambi's Avatar
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    We capture and use rainwater for all of our household needs, including drinking and cooking. We are in the middle of a horrible drought (4.4 in rain in the past 6 months--a record) so I'm the water police:). I have never prewashed fabric, at this point anyway. I love the suggestion of "hand washing" in the washer. Great water conservation tip. Sorry, but I have to side with your mom.

    I'm going to have to Google Shuriken Packer quilt, it sounds beautiful.

  13. #13
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    While I wash all my fabrics (on their way to the shelves), if there are just a few I'll toss them in with like colored clothes or if there are a bunch, like colors get washed together. I have a setting on my new washer that's listed as "Hand Wash". It's pretty gentle, but still do FQs by hand as so many others have listed.

  14. #14
    Super Member TonnieLoree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter
    Quote Originally Posted by grann of 6
    Personally, if it was me and I had that many pieces to wash, I would be doing it in the bathroom sink by hand.
    I do that and when I find one that runs, it goes into the washer with other like colors. Otherwise, I find running the washer for one piece wasteful. (Sorry - guess I'm with your mom on that)

    The others, I wring out and then roll them up in a towel to get excess water out before ironing them dry. Works like a charm.
    My father would kill me if I ever did that!

  15. #15
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonnieLoree
    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter
    Quote Originally Posted by grann of 6
    Personally, if it was me and I had that many pieces to wash, I would be doing it in the bathroom sink by hand.
    I do that and when I find one that runs, it goes into the washer with other like colors. Otherwise, I find running the washer for one piece wasteful. (Sorry - guess I'm with your mom on that)

    The others, I wring out and then roll them up in a towel to get excess water out before ironing them dry. Works like a charm.
    My father would kill me if I ever did that!
    Your father would kill you if you washed fabric in the sink?

    Why?

  16. #16
    Super Member watson's mom's Avatar
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    I wash like colours together (reds with reds, blues with blues, etc) hot water to shrink, delicate cycle to stop fraying, and one cup of vinegar to set the colours. Knock on wood, have never had a bleed yet. I remove from the washer right away. I don't use soap for this.

  17. #17

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    Its not necessary to wash each piece of of fabric separately.
    I prewash my fabrics and put 3 or 4 pieces of
    like colors together.
    Good quality fabrics seldom bleed.
    I sew up the cut edges so they don't ravel too bad and
    wash on the hand wash/permanent press.
    I use vinegar in the rinse water.

  18. #18
    Super Member clsurz's Avatar
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    I keep hearing about folks worrying about colors bleeding and can say I must be bless because when I buy fabric I come home and put several yards at a time in the washer with no problems and have yet to see any of it bleed.

    I could not see myself washing only one fabric at a time. It would drive me nuts with all the time it would take to wash several yards of fabric every time I go out there and buy and have to spend several hours doing so or perhaps even a few days.

    I use the hand wash cycle on my machine and will run several yards at a time and use the warm setting with a little bit of liquid soap.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Quilted Horse's Avatar
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    I wash all my fabric when it comes into the house. I don't want to have to guess further down the road if it was washed or not (and be sorry that I guessed wrong).
    I sort all fabric into light and dark and throw it in with my regular wash and a Shout Color Catcher sheet (you can buy them in the grocery store near the dryer sheets).
    I have never had a problem, but I usually only buy better quality quilt store quality fabric (not Joannes or Walmart). But...that goes out the window if I get a good thrift store bargain - then I'll buy anything!!!

  20. #20
    Super Member brendadawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fabric_fancy
    use a color catcher or synthrapol
    Couldn't live without myi Color Catcher! I wash several colors together and so far, it's been okay. I'm careful with reds especially though.

  21. #21
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    First, I overcast or serge the raw edges of new fabrics.

    I soak like colors together in hot water in pots and pans - or buckets. Basically, if one of them has bad manners, it won't hurt the other pieces.

    If, for example, I find that the green pot has green water, then I will go through the fabrics piece by piece to find the culprit.

    The culprit will get additional rinses until the water barely turns color.

    My DH isn't real thrilled when he finds pots all over the kitchen when I'm soaking fabrics, but - oh, well.

    Then, after I'm reasonably sure that they will play nicely together, I run them all together through a very short, gentle cycle in cold or tepid water.

    After all, when after a quilt is made, all the colors have to get washed together at the same time.

    I prefer to dry the pieces in a dryer, but line or rack drying also works. When line drying, I try to fold the selvages together and pin the selvage edges to the line. I hope that doing it that way will minimize distortion and stretching of the fabric.


    I've only run into several pieces that were bleeders that never stopped coloring the water. (This is over about 40 years of fabric accumulation).

    One was orange, one was dark blue, one was turquoise, one was purple. And I think there may have been a green one.

    We have a septic system - so the water output does matter. DH grew up in a house where water was carried in - and the used water was carried out - one does become very aware of water usage when that is the case.

    DGDs were living with us for a while - DH practically went ballistic if all he found in the dryer was one pair of thong underwear. :roll:

  22. #22
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    Color Catcher is great - amazing how much color stays on the sheets....the last one I did was a lovely blue, I used 6 sheets before they came clear. Imagine what would have happened if I had not used the color catcher...whoa!!!!

  23. #23
    Super Member vivoaks's Avatar
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    definitely the Shout color catcher sheet! So easy to find at discount stores and even at the supermarket. I use one every time I pre wash my fabrics, and I put all kinds of colors together and have never had a problem.

  24. #24
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    I have heard of using a salad spinner for small pieces of fabric.

  25. #25
    Junior Member Daisy144's Avatar
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    I trim the edges of my fabric with pinking shears to eliminate a lot of the fraying then put them into the white mesh bags used for washing delicates - if it is a large piece or if I have several large pieces I sew them into a pillow case - then wash on normal all together with color catchers - works very well - so far everything has worked out well - once they finish washing I take them out of the bags - trim any frayed edges and put into the dryer - I worry about different fabrics shrinking at different rates once in a quilt so I want them preshrunk before I start sewing with them - btw - the mesh bags can be found at Dollar Tree stores 3 for a dollar most times - this is one of the best bargan stores around if you have one nearby and haven't tried it yet do - you won't be disappointed

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