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Thread: What's the protocol for.....

  1. #1
    Junior Member conniemaried's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    NE Texas

    What's the protocol for.....

    What's the protocol for prewashing fabric? I've read so many threads about fabric bleeding and all the products to use or not to use, that I'm confused. Also, I have a front loading washing machine. Can I use that? How do you go about prewashing precuts? Please tell me what your secrets are. Thanks
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  2. #2
    Junior Member SallySaidSew's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Methow Valley in Washington State
    I don't prewash precuts, but I do prewash my yardage cuts. I have started using Shout Color Catchers in my front loader to help corral any errant dyes. I run my washer on the shortest cycle and then into the dryer they go. I do have a batik quilt that I didn't prewash because I didn't have the Synthrapol (or was it Retayne?) for the prewash when I was ready to start. I have both now along with the Shout Color Catchers so I am in good shape from here on out.

    I know some people don't prewash, but I prefer to do it so I don't have to deal with uneven shrinkage when the finished quilt does go through the wash cycle. Just my preference.
    ...cuz I said sew! www.sallysaw.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    The middle of an IL cornfield
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    There is no agreement on this issue. You will just have to read all the advice and make the best decision you can make. Some people are adamant prewashers. Others never prewash. Some have never had a bleeding problem. Others seem to have them frequently.

    There is also much argument as to products that set dyes. Some swear by them. Some say they are uncessary.

    One thing for sure. If the quilt is made to be washed, washing the fabric first won't hurt anything. It may cause you to have to iron a bit more, though.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    New Jersey
    I wash everything. I am a new quilter, but I have been sewing for over 20 years. I have always washed as purchased so that everything is ready to use when I want it. I wash precut fabrics in a big bowl with a little detergent. I let them soak and then rinse well and wring out. I then dry them in the dryer and I have never had a problem with them coming apart. I would much rather have the fabric shrink before I use it to make something.

  5. #5
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    Here's a good link for an explanation of Retayne and Synthrapol. It's their order page but they give a great explanation of when to use either one of them. http://www.softexpressions.com/softw...eProd.html#res I printed it out for future reference and I happen to be one of those dreaded folks that don't prewash

  6. #6
    Super Member Helen S's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Vancouver, Washington State
    I prewash all yardage and remnants. I haven't used precuts yet, although I do have some. I will wash them before using also, when I have time. I find there is often enough shrinkage that the cut ends can be off by as much as 6 inches once dried. That alone tells me to wash everything.

    I can't imagine giving a quilt as a gift and having the recipients totally disappointed once they wash and dry it, only to find that the quilt either shrunk or that the dyes in the fabrics have run. How embarrassing! I want to feel confident that they will have no issues with it after all my hard work.
    Being skinny isn't easy, so I gave up and opted for being sexy instead. (aunty acid)

  7. #7
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
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    I have a front loader that drains into a laundry tub. I wash like colors together and watch the color of the water as it is expelled. If something bled, I treat it with Retayne in a bucket per the instructions on the bottle. I had a top loader and the first time I used a color catcher in the front loader, it deposited all the color it caught onto a light pillow case that was in the load. I failed to read the instruction that said not to use them in a front loader. Oh, well. I also wash precuts in the kitchen sink and spin them in a salad spinner.
    Retayne has worked 100% of the time for me, even on a dk blue that had shed die the first 3 times I washed it, however, I will say that most of the fabric I've washed has not bled, but almost all of it has shrunk. The shrinkage was selvedge to selvedge not along the length.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  8. #8
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    Outside St. Louis
    I always prewash all my fabrics. I don't prewash kits or jelly rolls, I only had one kit and one jelly roll, I haven't used the jelly roll yet.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member batikmystique's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
    Killeen, Texas
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    I always pre-wash fabric cuts from the bolt. If it's a batik fabric, I prefer to use Synthrapol to help remove any excess dye. If its a fabric color, such as red or purple, which usually tends to bleed easily then I use Retayne in the wash. I have a front-loading washer after owning top-loading ones for many years. The agitation of the top-loaders are so hard on the fabrics and finished quilts-even on the gentlest cycle due to the twisting motion. For those to whom I give quilts, I suggest taking them to a laundromat that has front-loaders. It's well worth the few dollars to give the quilts the tender loving care they deserve. In the Retayne washes I also throw in a color catcher just as a double check. I wash as many times as needed until the color catcher comes out without dye on it.

    As for pre-cuts, those are easily washed in special netted laundry bags which were intended for use when washing lingerie and other delicate items. The Retayne and Synthrapol washes apply here as well. It does take extra time to iron all of the pieces but the peace of mind regarding shrinking of the fabric and bleeding is worth it.
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