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Thread: washing fabric

  1. #1

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    I made my first quilt this week from my fabric stash (I make children's clothing). All that fabric had been prewashed. I'm about to start on my second quilt and want to use a jelly roll for part of it. I've always prewashed fabric when I made clothing. I'm a bit hesitant to wash this jelly roll b/c I don't want to lose 1/4 inch of it in the wash due to straggly threads. Is it necessary to prewash fabric for quilting?

  2. #2
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    Many quilters prewash. I do not cause I like the pucker look you get when you wash the quilt for the first time. I use cotton's.

  3. #3
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    it's not necessary to wash except for flannels, which ALWAYS shrink...but I do strongly encourge you to use an all or nothing philosophy to keep yourself happy - if you wash one of the fabrics in a quilt, wash all of them. If you don't want to wash fabrics, make sure none of them are washed. In your case, since you want to use a jelly roll as part of the quilt consider whether the other fabric is washed or not. If other fabric is washed, you should wash the jelly roll, but you can do it gently so you don't lose that edge to fraying...soak it thoroughtly in hot water, for example, or wash it on delicate cycle inside a laundry bag or pillowcase, etc.

  4. #4
    Super Member janedee's Avatar
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    Hi I have been quilting for several years now and have never pre-washed my fabric - the amount you loose due to shrinkage is minimal compared to having to trim off all those frayed edges plus the time it takes to do so and I am always too impatient to mess about washing!! lol

  5. #5
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    I find that if I spray the heck out of a fabric that is not pre-washed then set the iron to it that it will shrink it. It is the action of wet/heat that shrinks material. Try it on some decent muslin sometime.... (Kona).

  6. #6
    Junior Member Ardelle Coult's Avatar
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    I never prewash anything except flannel. I wouldn't recommend prewashing jelly rolls. The newer fabrics just don't fade and shrink like the older fabrics from years ago To date I have never had a problem.

  7. #7
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scifihippie
    I made my first quilt this week from my fabric stash (I make children's clothing). All that fabric had been prewashed. I'm about to start on my second quilt and want to use a jelly roll for part of it. I've always prewashed fabric when I made clothing. I'm a bit hesitant to wash this jelly roll b/c I don't want to lose 1/4 inch of it in the wash due to straggly threads. Is it necessary to prewash fabric for quilting?
    My motto: "If in doubt, steam it out." My iron can be set to a high steam, so I set the iron to cotton and steam my charm squares and jelly rolls like crazy if I am concerned about shrinking. In this case since you are combining with prewashed fabric, I would press it well. You could even measure before and after to see if there is any change. Most shrinkage comes in lengthwise of fabric anyway so I wouldn't think you would have much problem with jelly rolls.

  8. #8
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I have made several scrappy quilts with a mix of washed and not washed fabrics. After it's done I wash the whole quilt and you can't tell which fabrics have been washed and which haven't.

  9. #9
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I don't prewash either, unless it is flannel.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    I have made several scrappy quilts with a mix of washed and not washed fabrics. After it's done I wash the whole quilt and you can't tell which fabrics have been washed and which haven't.
    Me too!!

    I personally do not pre-wash, but have acquired fabric that has been washed. I just mix it in with my "regular" fabric and have never had any issues.

    The only time I pre-wash is when it is required by a group activity I am participating in or if it is flannel.

  11. #11

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    Thanks for all the replies. I hate prewashing and having to iron it before I cut anyway. This will save me a bit of time.

    And thanks for the tip on the flannel. I have some character flannel to make something for my son. I'll definitely wash it.

  12. #12
    mlaceruby's Avatar
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    never prewash either
    like the slight pucker when finished
    just too much work to wash and Iron all that fabric!

  13. #13
    Senior Member BRenea's Avatar
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    I usually don't prewash my cotton fabrics, too much extra work straightening them out again! I also think fabric that isn't prewashed has more body and is easier to rotary cut. I do steam out my fabrics, and I test very dark colors and reds for colorfastness.

  14. #14
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I don't prewash jelly rolls. I might lose a lot of fabric.

  15. #15
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    I prewash mine, but I have never washed a jelly roll, I think it might become a tangled mess!

  16. #16
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    I pre-wash everything except pre-cut strips/squares. When I use those, I don't wash any part of the quilt top until it's finished. Then I baste muslin on the back to cover the seam allowances to catch loose threads and wash with color catchers. I'm nearly finished another top that has unwashed Bali Pops 2-1/2" strips in it, so it will get the muslin backing/color catcher/wash in the next few days.

  17. #17

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    I always pre wash my fabrics. I am allergic to formaldhyde and need to wash the excess dye from the fabrics.
    I have never purchased the 'jelly roll' so I am not sure about washing them. It seems they would become a tangled mess with a lot of raveling. Maybe placing them in a lingerie bag would solve these problems. (?)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ardelle Coult
    I never prewash anything except flannel. I wouldn't recommend prewashing jelly rolls. The newer fabrics just don't fade and shrink like the older fabrics from years ago To date I have never had a problem.
    I disagree. Unless you mean less than three months ago.

  19. #19
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    I am totally confused. I prewash because I puchased some Kona cotton which was orange and I purchased some navy blue Kona. The bleed on the orange in places. So I had to get that out and then wash the blue two times before it would not bleed. All of this is 100% cotton.

    I do not know what to do about the jelly rolls. I am like the ladies above, I would not wash it either.

  20. #20
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    I have made several scrappy quilts with a mix of washed and not washed fabrics. After it's done I wash the whole quilt and you can't tell which fabrics have been washed and which haven't.
    Me too! And I waited the whole time for the quilt police to show up, but they never did. The only problem I've had (and it was pretty slight, barely noticeable to anyone but me) was if my backing wasn't prewashed and most of the blocks were, so that the backing shrank more overall than the top.

    I did a test doll quilt with unwashed and washed fabrics, just to make sure before I tried it on a bigger quilt, and you couldn't tell a difference.

    You might pre-test some of the deeper colors to make sure they aren't going to bleed, though.

    A lot of my scraps are from clothing projects, which I always prewash for, but then if I buy a FQ or charm pack, I usually don't prewash, which I why I have a mixture of washed and not washed fabrics, plus of course scraps others have given me, and I never know if they've been washed or not.

  21. #21

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    It's usually best to wash dark colors separate because of the possiblity of bleeding. Just like clothes, separate the lights and the darks.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by pieces
    It's usually best to wash dark colors separate because of the possiblity of bleeding. Just like clothes, separate the lights and the darks.
    Which is why the black and white shirt is always in the "don't know which load to put it in" and ends up being a left-over that I eventually wash by itself.

  23. #23
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    I always end up putting the 'don't know which load' clothes in the darks. I figure I'd rather ruin one shirt than a whole load of whites. I think only one has gotten dingy on the white parts-it was a shirt that was like the layered look with a black tshirt over white sleeves. DD doesn't even care-she wears it anyway.

  24. #24
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    It depends on what your concern is ...is it shrinking or is it running.
    If you like the puckered look and are not concerned about running ... nope no need to pre-wash.
    If you are worried about running/bleeding , soak in a sink and rinse ( unless batik then pretreat with Retayne) , then you can dry on a hanger or rack.
    If you do not want the Puckered look and want the quilt to be as flat as the day you ironed the blocks , yep you need to get the strips completely wet , blot dry on a towel , then use a dryer delicates bag to dry. I would not use the washing machine for get them wet , the agitation will cause raveling.
    If you are concerned about finishes the manufacture puts on the fabrics ... hand wash/soak using 1 gal water with 1/4 cup white vinegar and luke warm water. Rinse twice and line dry.

  25. #25
    Super Member shequilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktbb
    it's not necessary to wash except for flannels, which ALWAYS shrink...but I do strongly encourge you to use an all or nothing philosophy to keep yourself happy - if you wash one of the fabrics in a quilt, wash all of them. If you don't want to wash fabrics, make sure none of them are washed. In your case, since you want to use a jelly roll as part of the quilt consider whether the other fabric is washed or not. If other fabric is washed, you should wash the jelly roll, but you can do it gently so you don't lose that edge to fraying...soak it thoroughtly in hot water, for example, or wash it on delicate cycle inside a laundry bag or pillowcase, etc.
    I agree. Use the all or nothing rule.
    Karen

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