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Thread: washing fabric

  1. #1
    Fancy Nancy's Avatar
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    i have noticed from the threads on "how neat are you" that many prewash and iron new fabric before using. the only fabrics i have done this with are ones that i am afraid will run like black, red, purple etc. is it really necessary? what if 1/2 of fabric in quilt is prewashed and other pieces are not. will it "shrink" unevenly? I am just curious b/c I have been told both ways - wash and not wash.

  2. #2
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    I always wash my fabric.

  3. #3
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    My older fabric was all washed; not so fabric bought in the last few years.
    Have used them together, no problems.
    If I'm making a dark quilt, I don't even bother prewashing fabrics I know will bleed.

  4. #4
    Super Member Melinda in Tulsa's Avatar
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    I'm too lazy to wash my fabric! It's all I can do to keep up on the laundry.

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I would either prewash everything or nothing. I would hate for some of the fabric to shrink and not the others after the quilt is completed.

  6. #6
    Member Helen20906's Avatar
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    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.

  7. #7
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    I always wash my fabric.

  8. #8
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    Don't bother to wash my fabric unless it is a batik.

  9. #9
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    Its really depends on the look that you're going for. If you really like the old antique look then don't wash. More shrinkage = more puckering. I do also like that look, but still wash and let the cotton batting then do the puckering for me. Still a little bit of pucker which is enough for me.

    I wash, dry and fold - I don't iron or starch until I'm ready to use.

  10. #10
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    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.
    Try retayne. Was it "home" dyed fabric? I bought some yrs ago and am scared to use it eventhough I treated it with retayne.

  11. #11
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I did not realize that you should not prewash if you like the wrinkled look. I do like that look. So the first couple of yrs when I quilted I faithfully washed and shrunk everything but now I faitfully do not unless I purposely don't want that look. I might also be more prone to wash cheap fabric and muslin because they might shrink an abnormal undesired amount.

  12. #12
    Super Member natalieg's Avatar
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    I love the antiqued wrinkled look for my scrappies! But, an allergy to the formaldehyde in the fabrics has forced me to go through all my stash and prewash it!
    After 647 yards, I now will be one of those that recommends it to everyone!

  13. #13
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melinda in Tulsa
    I'm too lazy to wash my fabric! It's all I can do to keep up on the laundry.
    I'm with you Melinda. I only wash for a swap or RR

  14. #14
    Senior Member theoldgraymare's Avatar
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    I test dark colors to see if they are colorfast. If they are not, I will prewash all fabric for that quilt. Otherwise, I do not prewash. Too much like doing laundry -- not my favorite thing!

  15. #15
    Power Poster Mariposa's Avatar
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    I wash my fabrics first because they smell. Gets rid of excess chemical odors!

  16. #16
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I've mixed washed and unwashed in the same quilt. I couldn't tell them apart after the quilt was washed.

  17. #17
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    I always wash mine too!

  18. #18
    Super Member watson's mom's Avatar
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    I always wash mine to remove the chemicals in them. Don't want to give someone (baby?) a quilt with toxins in it or insect eggs or whatever. Fabrics coming from some countries come here in huge containers and are sprayed for insects when the container is opened. That's why I wash. If I want it to look puckered I will just have to be satisfied with the batting doing the shrinking for me.

  19. #19
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I don't pre-wash my fabrics with the exception of flannels. Always, Always pre-wash flannel fabrics.

  20. #20
    Senior Member cindyg's Avatar
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    Always always always wash fabric and then use lots of Mary Ellen's Best Press to press. I had colors bleed onto white fabric one time - made me sick after all that work. So unless the pattern tells me to use unwashed fabric, it gets washed. Also there is formaldahyde, bug chemicals, and dye chemicals that I just don't want to be handling. It is a little more trouble but I think it's worth it.

  21. #21

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    Wash all fabrics before using them in a quilt. They have excess dyes and chemicals. Each fabric shrinks differently when washed. Its best to preshrink all fabrics so this does not effect the quilt when it is washed for the first time.

  22. #22
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancy Nancy
    i have noticed from the threads on "how neat are you" that many prewash and iron new fabric before using. the only fabrics i have done this with are ones that i am afraid will run like black, red, purple etc. is it really necessary? what if 1/2 of fabric in quilt is prewashed and other pieces are not. will it "shrink" unevenly? I am just curious b/c I have been told both ways - wash and not wash.
    I made a D9P quilt this winter when it was snowing and I just wanted to get started. Some fabrics were washed, some not. I quilted it in a meander, with wool batting, and when I washed it, I could not tell which fabric was washed and which was not. It was just fine! Washed it with a Shout "color catcher' and nothing ran, either.

  23. #23
    Super Member quilt3311's Avatar
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    When I use jelly rolls etc. I wash the quilt with synthrapol and toss in a couple of the dye magnet sheets. That usually takes care of any bleeding from the unwashed fabric strips.

  24. #24
    cjr
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    I WASh EVERYTHING BECAUSE OF ALLERGIES

    Jellyrolls - Bought my first one last week. Leave as purchased with tie on.I washed it by soaking in the sink with soap for a couple of hours. Because there is such a mass of material I wanted it all to get wet. As it was soaking bubbles came up from the center,much like a potted plant does when very dry then watered. Took out of water and rolled to squeeze water out. Repeated with double rinsing. Then I left in sink on a strainer so it was a little higher then sink, till most of moisture dripped out. I dried by laying strips flat on table outside. Very little raggy. Don't know if that is right word, but only way to describe. No distortion of color. I did use hot water.

    I think it was a little time consuming but it is what I need to do. I did this in bathroom sink, so everytime I went in I did next step. I usually cut my own strips. There was a lot of little pieces in the sink, mostly points from pinking.

    Hope this helps others.

  25. #25
    Super Member greaterexp's Avatar
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    Washing first will set the color, get rid of the icky "new" smell, pre-shrink, and allow you to know exactly what you're putting into your quilt. It doesn't take long to press and starch it, and I think it's really worth it since you're going to put an awful lot of time and effort into the rest of the quilt.

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