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Thread: Washing fabric

  1. #1
    Margandi's Avatar
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    I'm fairly new to quilting & up to now I have prewashed my fabric. Now I'm thinking that the unwashed fabric has a little more body. Are there some advantages to not washing it. Would love to hear your opinions & the advantages & disadvatages each option.

  2. #2
    luvmy2bts's Avatar
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    I don't prewash. I like the body of the fabric that isn't. There are a few exceptions to this. I do wash certain red's, blacks and overdyed purples and blues. When I get the quilt finished I put it in the washer with a Shout Color Catcher and that pulls all of the dye out of the water and on to it. With your prewashed fabric I would use a spray sizing to give it some body when you iron it.

    Debbie

  3. #3
    Super Member quiltwoman's Avatar
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    Although I love the feel of unwashed fabric, I learned the hard way. I pre-wash all my fabric and use a dye-grabber cloth. For FQ's I use a lingerie bag.

    I prefer to iron my fabric and use spray starch to get that stiff feeling back. Then I can start cutting it all up! :wink:

    HTH,

  4. #4
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    I prewash always. The dye isn't the only issue with the fabrics. I'm concerned about different rates of shrinkage. What is you do an entire quilt and the fabric shrinks at different rates??? Just do this test...measure some fabric and then wash it...measure again...some can shrink up to an inch!!

  5. #5
    Super Member bebe's Avatar
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  6. #6
    quikquilt's Avatar
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    What is Shout Color Catcher and where to buy it? Would it take out pencil marks?

    Thanks for the info.
    ~ Quik

  7. #7
    luvmy2bts's Avatar
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    A Shout Color Catcher is in the laundry aisle. I get mine at wal-mart. I think they are around $3.99 for 20 of them. It actually looks like a dryer sheet but works wonderfully. I don't think it will work for pencil marks, but you could always give it a try and tell us how it works.

    Debbie

  8. #8
    bearpaw's Avatar
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    When you wash your fabric, do you use hot or warm water?

  9. #9
    Super Member Joan's Avatar
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    I wash all my fabric in warm water. I just don't want any surprises, shrinkage or bleeeding when I have invested all that time making a quilt.

  10. #10
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    If you ever expect this quilt to be washed, wash the fabrics before cutting them!

    Some fabrics have VERY BAD manners. They bleed, they shrink, they won't unrumple even with pressing, they ravel badly, they change shape.

    Avoid unpleasant surprises.

    I've started to soak my fabrics in a bucket or basin of HOT water for a while (at least half an hour) before washing GENTLY in warm water.

    I keep the colors separate at this stage to see what they do. Just discovered a green I bought recently is spilling - the same green print I had bought earlier seemed to be okay. Now I need to find it again to recheck it before I go any further with that project.

    The spray sizing is helpful - especially if working with bias pieces.

    Some fabrics don't spill a bit of color - some pieces just won't stop spilling color - they might as well be discarded. Why risk ruining a whole quilt to save a few dollars?

    An example of why prewashing/preshrinking is a good idea: I acquired a cute skirt that had appliques on them - when washed, the appliques shrunk and the adorable skirt is now only okay. The new owner said she wrestled the appliques into better behavior with an iron.

  11. #11

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    Yes, some fabrics do not play well with others. When getting the reds I'm using in my current project they where running red even after 4 washes, but seeing as the quilt will be red and white I had to get the red to stop, or else the entire quilt would have been ruined in just one wash.

    I like the prunded, wrinkled, smooshed look of a quilt that wasn't prewashed, but so far I haven't been willing to ruin the quilt to make one.

    Also while I work I do regular checks to make sure my quilt is "growing" to be the size I want it to. It would be very upsetting to me to think I had grown it big enough only to wash it and discover it was now to small, put post quilting and binding there's not much I'd be able to do about it. :(

  12. #12
    Super Member beachlady's Avatar
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    I prewash everything and have been happy with the results. Just started using the color catchers and they are great. My first teacher said to wash all fabric and I guess I still listen to what she said.

  13. #13
    reneebobby's Avatar
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    I do both just depends on what I'm working on I guess. I haven't found major shrinking yet knock on wood.

  14. #14
    Power Poster
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    I bought some fabric to make pillowcases - glad I didn't cut it BEFORE I shrunk it - it shrank almost 1.5 inches in width.


  15. #15
    Margandi's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your replies everyone. I guess i will continue to wash. Also the tips on the sizing & color catcher are great. will look for the color catcher on the next shopping trip.

  16. #16

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    I also prewash and use the Shout color catchers..They are great..I like the crisp feel of the fabric too, so I also use spray starch when ironing to crip it back up..So much easier to work with.

  17. #17
    Margandi's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for all of your answers. I guess I will continue to prewash. The ideas for the color catcher & spray sizing are great. I was to the supermarket a little while ago & bought the color catcher.

  18. #18
    Margandi's Avatar
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    OK I will use the color catcher only for new fabrics. I too like Oxi-clean. With several grandchildren, it sure is a handy thing to have around the house.

  19. #19
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    I am with Lovemy2bts...I use shout color catcher in the wash. i make exceptions for certain fabric :D

  20. #20
    Senior Member justme's Avatar
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    I usually do not pre wash, but the quilt I making now I did. It is a baby quilt and it will be washed many times, and most likely with hot water... so I did not want anything to happen to it. I always consider the use of the quilt. It seems like this is the most asked question about quilting. As always, I enjoy reading all opinions and learning!


  21. #21
    Super Member 3incollege's Avatar
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    I pre-wash using a dye catcher and a sizing. I make my own.
    Never use a pencil to mark

  22. #22
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I usually don't prewash. I like to use cotton batting and love the look of everything shrinking together. I do tend to buy the more expensive fabrics and will prewash reds if I am using them with whites (I don't use many reds) I always, always prewash flannel fabrics because even if you buy the real expensive ones, they all shrink differently. I also use the color catchers when prewashing or washing a finished quilt. I wash all quilts after finishing before I give them away. (exception would be wall hanging that usually never get washed) I prefer working with unwashed fabrics.

  23. #23

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    About the color catchers, depending on what your washing sometimes you need to use TWO. At least that's what they told me when one outfit ran all over my brand new towels.

    When I prewash I always wash the new fabrics by themselves in color groups. Blues together for instance. Thousands of bolts tells you not to wash them together, but sometimes I feel a little blending of the "blues" for instance, all going into the same quilt wouldn't hurt.

    And last thing, my mom swears by putting a cup of vinegar for prewashing and then later into the load with a new quilt.

  24. #24
    Super Member SaraSewing's Avatar
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    I'm not a prewasher. Haven't regreted it yet, but I can see the advantages for strong colors. I like the body and feel of off-the-bolt fabric.

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