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Thread: Washing

  1. #1
    Member Pommom's Avatar
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    Do you always wash your fabrics before you begin a quilt?

  2. #2
    Super Member UglyCook's Avatar
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    Nope, never unless it's for a swap

  3. #3
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    It's up to you, really. About half do and half don't here. This subject has been discussed before, and that's about how it comes out. Different people have different reasons for which way they go. I wash them because it seems to help my allergies, but some people prefer the crispness of new fabric. Flannel is the one time you should ALWAYS wash before sewing. (Precut I don't wash)

  4. #4
    kasmitty1's Avatar
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    BTW- I love your pom(s) pic for your icon.

    I never used to wash, but after a quilting class I recently took, I'm washing it now. Fabric mostly comes from overseas, and in containers and they have to use chemicals to keep pests from it. That just kinda freaks me out not knowing what's really on the fabric I'm cutting, handling, etc. But then I won't eat at salad bars again because I saw a guy sneeze into his hand, then grab the tongs for the lettuce. Just me.

  5. #5
    Member Pommom's Avatar
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    I'm with you of the yucky stuff! I think I will wash....

    And thanks; the poms are my "assistants" with everything I do around the house!

  6. #6
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    I think if I had all the stuff for that quilt and it was all yardage or fat quarters, I might. But a lot of the stuff I buy isn't earmarked for any project and I'd hate to wash it and then later, decide to use it in a project with something like jelly rolls or charm squares. Because it's really not practical to wash those.

  7. #7
    Super Member SherriB's Avatar
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    No. I usually wait until I have finished the quilt before I wash it. I kind of like the wrinkled, old look a litte bit is shrinkage gives to a quilt.

    If I am in a swap and it is required, then I will wash them with a gentle soap and dry them without fabric softner.

  8. #8
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    I never wash it until after it has been used and therefore needs a wash.

  9. #9
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pommom
    Do you always wash your fabrics before you begin a quilt?
    Flannel, always yes, other fabrics, maybe. It depends on how I am going to use it. For kids stuff, usually. For table runners and decorative things, no.

  10. #10
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    No, not now, but I used to. I think it's basically a personal choice.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Sewsweet's Avatar
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    No, but if it is a red I do a test.

  12. #12
    Super Member kriscraft99's Avatar
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    I asked this same question last week ~ the response was pretty much 50/50.... some people do, some people don't..

    but with flannels and batiks.. always wash!!

  13. #13
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    I do prewash all my fabrics. 1. To remove all the chemicals used for finishing the fabric. 2. Preshrink it. Fabrics will shrink at different rates than others even if they are from the same manufacturer.

    My main reason is to remove all the chemicals. I have developed a "formaldhyde intolerance". This is one of the main chemicals in fabric finishing.

    I had noticed that sometimes my hands and arms would itch when handling fabric. I just thought it was from the lint and didn't think much of it. One day I woke up and noticed my eyelids were very red and swollen and itched like mad! Again, didn't think much of that except maybe allergies were acting up a bit. I was working on a king sized quilt for a wedding gift and really needed to get it done. So I kept plugging away. In the mean time, I kept scratching my hands and arms and rubbing my eyes to somewhat "soothe" the itch. After rubbing my eyes, sometimes I would find an eyelash or two, hmm no biggie, keep going.

    After two weeks, the quilt was FINISHED! YAHOO, in plenty of time for the wedding. All this time, I still had the red angry swollen eyelids. One day I took a very close look at my eyelids. Almost ALL of my eyelashes were gone! What eyelashes remained were misshapen and going in all different directions. Okay, time to call the doc.

    He took a strong look at my skin and my eyes. Then he went and got a dermotologist and opthomalogist and brought them into the room. By now I was feeling like a specimen in a petrie dish. The eye doc looked at my history and asked me several questions. He took out a "dry sanitizer" from a drawer, held it close to me and BAM the itchies came on in a fury. That was 2 years ago.

    The skin is healed but we are still working on the eyelids. I have to wash my eyelids with baby shampoo, rinse completely and apply external antibiotics. I am just starting to see some progress. It is slow healing because eyelids don't have a whole lot of blood flow.

    If anyone is getting the itchies from being around fabrics, the formaldehyde is causing it.

  14. #14
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashnquilt
    I do prewash all my fabrics. 1. To remove all the chemicals used for finishing the fabric. 2. Preshrink it. Fabrics will shrink at different rates than others even if they are from the same manufacturer.

    My main reason is to remove all the chemicals. I have developed a "formaldhyde intolerance". This is one of the main chemicals in fabric finishing.

    I had noticed that sometimes my hands and arms would itch when handling fabric. I just thought it was from the lint and didn't think much of it. One day I woke up and noticed my eyelids were very red and swollen and itched like mad! Again, didn't think much of that except maybe allergies were acting up a bit. I was working on a king sized quilt for a wedding gift and really needed to get it done. So I kept plugging away. In the mean time, I kept scratching my hands and arms and rubbing my eyes to somewhat "soothe" the itch. After rubbing my eyes, sometimes I would find an eyelash or two, hmm no biggie, keep going.

    After two weeks, the quilt was FINISHED! YAHOO, in plenty of time for the wedding. All this time, I still had the red angry swollen eyelids. One day I took a very close look at my eyelids. Almost ALL of my eyelashes were gone! What eyelashes remained were misshapen and going in all different directions. Okay, time to call the doc.

    He took a strong look at my skin and my eyes. Then he went and got a dermotologist and opthomalogist and brought them into the room. By now I was feeling like a specimen in a petrie dish. The eye doc looked at my history and asked me several questions. He took out a "dry sanitizer" from a drawer, held it close to me and BAM the itchies came on in a fury. That was 2 years ago.

    The skin is healed but we are still working on the eyelids. I have to wash my eyelids with baby shampoo, rinse completely and apply external antibiotics. I am just starting to see some progress. It is slow healing because eyelids don't have a whole lot of blood flow.

    If anyone is getting the itchies from being around fabrics, the formaldehyde is causing it.
    A number of years ago I was doing a lot of home dec sewing and found that every timed I pressed the fabric with the steam iron I would end up with a terrible headache. I talked to a patient at the dentist office I worked at, who was a doctor and he mentioned this same thing to me. Well, I spoke later to the manager of the fabric store where I got the fabric and he told me they had outlawed the use of formaldehyde because it has been determined to be a carcinogen (cancer causing agent). Now I don't know how true this really is, but have been told this a couple times since then by fabric (experts). I don't have as much of an issue as I used to, though. Now supposedly they are not allowed to use it in the manufacture of clothing apparel and related products.

  15. #15
    Super Member Fabaddict's Avatar
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    I always do because I am allergic to formaldhyde

  16. #16
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    I always do,too.

  17. #17
    Super Member Minda's Avatar
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    Formaldehyde is one of the most largely produced chemicals in the world, because it's cheap. It, along with many other chemicals, is used by many large manufacturing companies, including those that make plywood, paper, plastic, fabric, and cosmetics. :shock:

    Sadly, if formaldehyde is outlawed, it will probably just be replaced with another chemical just as unhealthy for us. Since most items are now manufactured overseas, regulation is difficult. U.S. companies also import products to use in their manufacturing. (Remember when dog food was killing our pets.) :cry:

    Chemical-filled products are much less expensive to produce than natural and eco-friendly products. As long as we are willing to keep buying products manufactured with chemicals, companies will keep making them.

    I'm now stepping down from my soapbox. :roll:

    Oh, by the way, I wash my fabric unless it's a precut kit. :-) :-)

  18. #18
    eleu16's Avatar
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    yes....I do...

  19. #19
    community benefactor stevendebbie25's Avatar
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    The upper line of fabrics are 'cured' in a hot steam rm, sealing in colors, preshrinks fabric, is what I was told at a Quilt Retreat Sharon Shamber taught the class. Moda, Hoffman, etc. The other fabrics are not heat/steam sealed.
    Again, 50/50 with most quilters, most fabric swaps want pre-washed as you don't know what your getting. Lower end fabrics always prewash. But if you want that antiqued, loved look, quilt first, wash afterwards. Some will spray starch constantly pre-washed or not, keeping fabric crisp for tidy 1/4" strait seams, and lay flat finished seams.
    I agree also, depends upon the project. A baby blanket getting washed a lot, I'll buy blends, they wear longer, fade less, or a toddler blanket. Cottons for 99% of my projects. Prewash high fade fabrics for color run, reds, dk blue, black, hot pink. I also use Woolite for black or color, helps seal/save from fadding, and Quilters Soap for very nice projects. When folding quilts, do not fold in halves, but in 1/3s and refold if in storage, some do every month when cleaning, or quarter, or special day of year. Some roll on big fabric tubes you can get free, put a sheet over it, store them under a bed or closet floor, no fold lines. Never store in plastic, let fabric breath. Hope it helps

  20. #20
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I only wash if it is for a swap or RR or if it is flannel.

  21. #21
    Junior Member Laura1557's Avatar
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    I generally prewash because I'm leery of having a shrinkage disaster with the completed project if I don't wash it till it's done. Unless it's made with charm squares or something that isn't too practical to wash.

  22. #22
    Power Poster Mariposa's Avatar
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    I wash mine, due to chemicals. I also will use vinegar in the rinse water. Fabrics come out nice and fresh!! Really!

  23. #23
    Super Member UglyCook's Avatar
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    Kind of interesting, I Googled "Formaldehyde in quilting cotton/fabric" and found endless discussions about it in quilting groups, but not so much that might be considered factual.

    After reading many of the articles, I'm more inclined to wash my bed sheets a dozen or so times than my quilting cotton! LOL

    A couple of studies say that it takes multiple washings to actually remove the Formaldehyde and that polyesters contain far higher levels than cotton...stuff like curtains, sheets, carpets, etc.

    So don't be breathing deeply anywhere in your house! Yuck!

  24. #24

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    I always wash my fabric as soon as I get in the door.
    I have allergies and washing removes excess dyes and chemicals.

  25. #25
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jitkaau
    I never wash it until after it has been used and therefore needs a wash.
    you mean after someone has wrapped up in it? If you gift a quilt, do you wash it before giving it away? I can't imagine wrapping myself or my kids up in brand new never washed fabric. I do prefer sewing on unwashed but I wouldn't use it as a quilt until it's been washed.

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