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Thread: washing fabric

  1. #26
    Super Member Pinkiris's Avatar
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    I wash all fabrics before I take them to my sewing area, but I don't iron anything until I'm ready to use it. I figure that it's just going to get fold lines from being in my fabric cabinet while it's waiting to be "chosen"!

    sue

  2. #27
    Super Member IBQUILTIN's Avatar
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    Sometimes you want that shrinkage for effect. So it is always a matter of choice. I always prewash with a grab-it sheet to make sure colors won't run

  3. #28
    Super Member annette1952's Avatar
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    I have always wash mine too but it is up to you! You could try it both ways & see what is right for you!

  4. #29
    Super Member Annya's Avatar
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    I found that it is not all the dark colors that bleed. I have had pale blues, yellows, as well as some patterned fabrics have bled. So now I wash every thing in HOT soapy water. Yes hot---if it is going to bleed it will then. Not every one washes in cool water and by doing it in hot I can make sure that once in a quilt I will not have any problems once made up. I add vinegar and salt to the water and let it cool that way it sets the dye. I starch and iron it before putting it away. I usually store unwashed in a container until I have enough fabric to wash.

  5. #30
    Super Member Psychomomquilter's Avatar
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    It is one lesson I learned, I didn't pre wash some fabric and what I sewed came to pieces! I had to re do what I was doing and washed, pressed then sewed again! so all fabric I get will be pre washed and pressed before I do anything! and yes some of the fabric smells cause its been alid up for so long! need to work with clean fabric.
    Mary

  6. #31
    cjr
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    Super Member cjr's Avatar
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    How much vinegar? how much salt?

  7. #32
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjr
    How much vinegar? how much salt?
    Vinegar or salt will not set modern chemical dyes. They are mordants for organic dyes.

    Lots and lots of people will claim a fabric stopped "bleeding" after they washed it with vinegar or salt. It would have stopped "bleeding" anyway since it was just excess dye that washed out.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Quote Originally Posted by cjr
    How much vinegar? how much salt?
    Vinegar or salt will not set modern chemical dyes. They are mordants for organic dyes.

    Lots and lots of people will claim a fabric stopped "bleeding" after they washed it with vinegar or salt. It would have stopped "bleeding" anyway since it was just excess dye that washed out.
    So what do you use, to set batiks? Do they use modern dyes?

  9. #34
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonwolf23
    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Quote Originally Posted by cjr
    How much vinegar? how much salt?
    Vinegar or salt will not set modern chemical dyes. They are mordants for organic dyes.

    Lots and lots of people will claim a fabric stopped "bleeding" after they washed it with vinegar or salt. It would have stopped "bleeding" anyway since it was just excess dye that washed out.
    So what do you use, to set batiks? Do they use modern dyes?
    Yes, they use modern dyes for batiks. Batiks tend to have a lot of unset dye left in them because they're boiled to get the wax out and they don't always get them rinsed really well.

    The only way you can set a modern dye is with a chemical mordant. Retayne is a chemical mordant.

    One of the things to keep in mind, is even if a fabric "bleeds" and it's picked up by another fabric that dye isn't set and will generally wash out in one or two washes.

    Also keep in mind that the vinegar you buy in the grocery store is only 5% vinegar to start with at the most. When you put a cup of vinegar in a washer that holds several gallons of water you're dilluting it to less than a 1% solution.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Quote Originally Posted by moonwolf23
    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Quote Originally Posted by cjr
    How much vinegar? how much salt?
    Vinegar or salt will not set modern chemical dyes. They are mordants for organic dyes.

    Lots and lots of people will claim a fabric stopped "bleeding" after they washed it with vinegar or salt. It would have stopped "bleeding" anyway since it was just excess dye that washed out.
    So what do you use, to set batiks? Do they use modern dyes?
    Yes, they use modern dyes for batiks. Batiks tend to have a lot of unset dye left in them because they're boiled to get the wax out and they don't always get them rinsed really well.

    The only way you can set a modern dye is with a chemical mordant. Retayne is a chemical mordant.

    One of the things to keep in mind, is even if a fabric "bleeds" and it's picked up by another fabric that dye isn't set and will generally wash out in one or two washes.

    Also keep in mind that the vinegar you buy in the grocery store is only 5% vinegar to start with at the most. When you put a cup of vinegar in a washer that holds several gallons of water you're dilluting it to less than a 1% solution.
    So how many washes would you do for Batiks then? The last time I did rinsed my batiks, they were still bleeding a little in hot but not cool.

  11. #36
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonwolf23
    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Quote Originally Posted by moonwolf23
    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Quote Originally Posted by cjr
    How much vinegar? how much salt?
    Vinegar or salt will not set modern chemical dyes. They are mordants for organic dyes.

    Lots and lots of people will claim a fabric stopped "bleeding" after they washed it with vinegar or salt. It would have stopped "bleeding" anyway since it was just excess dye that washed out.
    So what do you use, to set batiks? Do they use modern dyes?
    Yes, they use modern dyes for batiks. Batiks tend to have a lot of unset dye left in them because they're boiled to get the wax out and they don't always get them rinsed really well.

    The only way you can set a modern dye is with a chemical mordant. Retayne is a chemical mordant.

    One of the things to keep in mind, is even if a fabric "bleeds" and it's picked up by another fabric that dye isn't set and will generally wash out in one or two washes.

    Also keep in mind that the vinegar you buy in the grocery store is only 5% vinegar to start with at the most. When you put a cup of vinegar in a washer that holds several gallons of water you're dilluting it to less than a 1% solution.
    So how many washes would you do for Batiks then? The last time I did rinsed my batiks, they were still bleeding a little in hot but not cool.
    I don't pre-wash batiks. I don't want to spend my time washing fabric. I want to sew.

    I just use a color catcher in the wash with a finished quilt and if I give it away I send some color catchers with it.

  12. #37
    Fancy Nancy's Avatar
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    yea that is what i do - add a color catcher and send some along with it with quilt washing instructions.

  13. #38
    Power Poster RedGarnet222's Avatar
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    I am one of the yes I do pre wash now. It is heart breaking to finish a quilt with lots of hand work and find it is not color safe when you wash it.

    I just spent a whole month washing and pressing fabric. I am very close to being finished now. But, I love the whole different smell of my room. I wish I had done this as I went along.

  14. #39
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    I also use color catchers but I wash my fabrics with the family laundry. If I don't have a full load I add a couple of pieces of fabric. thanks for metioning not ironing until ready to use that will save me some time. Also how do you wash large pieces with out having a tackled mess

  15. #40
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SewSewGal
    I also use color catchers but I wash my fabrics with the family laundry. If I don't have a full load I add a couple of pieces of fabric. thanks for metioning not ironing until ready to use that will save me some time. Also how do you wash large pieces with out having a tackled mess
    That has been my dilemma. I like to keep the fabric in one piece so that I can cut the length for borders and bindings.

    BHW, I like the idea of adding fabric to the laundry.

  16. #41
    Senior Member QUILT4JOY's Avatar
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    I recently washed a dozen 6" blocks. I put them into a lingerie bag and safety pinned them @ the 4 corners. They were 6 layers thick. It worked great. If I had made the bag to fit them securely it would worked even better. I can visualize wrapping the jelly roll tightly in a bag. Dry it in the dryer that way also.
    Quote Originally Posted by Helen20906
    Always wash my fabrics before using. Recently made a baby quilt and reached into the drawer and snipped fabric from a fabric collection that was tied together with a ribbon and tag. Didn't occur to me that I hadn't washed nor used any of my charm packs or jellyrolls because they are put together in such a tidy package. Also, had used adhesive spray to baste the quilt (it was great) and decided to wash the quilt when completed because it was going to a newborn -- that unwashed fabric bled. So sad. Still haven't figured out what to do with the jellyrolls, etc. because they will be difficult to prewash.

  17. #42
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    I posted this in a thread called "Flannel quilt - very very newbie" so if you've already read that skip this:

    I just finished the top for a flannel quilt and did not prewash. I'm so new at this I probably squeak! Now what do I do? Go ahead and wash the top and backing separately? Try to zig zag the seams and then wash the top? Start over???? (I was getting good help on the thread I started, but since this was all about pre-washing I thought I'd try here for more.) The answer I WANT is, "Oh Honey, it'll be perfectly fine!" So far, that one's not out there. :(

    I started sewing again this summer after 25 years or so off. I made a pillowcase from the monkey material for my 2-year-old grandson for practice. He loved his monkeys and that's where the idea came from. My daughter picked out the fabrics. I know now that the brown blocks are too dark for the rest of the light fabrics. Live and learn!

    All flannel - none prewashed. Pooey!
    Name:  Attachment-106010.jpe
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  18. #43
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinkiris
    I wash all fabrics before I take them to my sewing area, but I don't iron anything until I'm ready to use it. I figure that it's just going to get fold lines from being in my fabric cabinet while it's waiting to be "chosen"!

    sue
    Me too...

  19. #44
    Super Member watson's mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanTx
    I posted this in a thread called "Flannel quilt - very very newbie" so if you've already read that skip this:

    I just finished the top for a flannel quilt and did not prewash. I'm so new at this I probably squeak! Now what do I do? Go ahead and wash the top and backing separately? Try to zig zag the seams and then wash the top? Start over???? (I was getting good help on the thread I started, but since this was all about pre-washing I thought I'd try here for more.) The answer I WANT is, "Oh Honey, it'll be perfectly fine!" So far, that one's not out there. :(

    I started sewing again this summer after 25 years or so off. I made a pillowcase from the monkey material for my 2-year-old grandson for practice. He loved his monkeys and that's where the idea came from. My daughter picked out the fabrics. I know now that the brown blocks are too dark for the rest of the light fabrics. Live and learn!
    I would take the top by itself and soak it in hot water, no agitation in the machine, when the water cools down, I would wring it out by hand and tumble dry it on warm. Putting it in a mesh wash bag would probably help. I would not sew it togeher without shrinking the flannel first. IMO

  20. #45
    Senior Member QUILT4JOY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GailG
    Quote Originally Posted by SewSewGal
    I also use color catchers but I wash my fabrics with the family laundry. If I don't have a full load I add a couple of pieces of fabric. thanks for metioning not ironing until ready to use that will save me some time. Also how do you wash large pieces with out having a tackled mess
    That has been my dilemma. I like to keep the fabric in one piece so that I can cut the length for borders and bindings.

    BHW, I like the idea of adding fabric to the laundry.
    I've heard 2 main things concerning prewashing fabric. First there is advice to refold the fabric lengthwise instead of selvage to selvage. It supposedly helps to keep the fabric from wrapping round the center shaft in the wash machine. the other was from a lady who serged the ends which totally stop the fabric raveling & tying itself in knots of threads. I haven't tried it yet but a zigzag stitch would probably work as well.

  21. #46
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Yes, I've done both -- zigzagging and serging.
    I like the idea of folding the fabric as suggested above. I will try it next time I have fabric to wash.

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