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Thread: Why am I doing this?

  1. #1
    Super Member Gail B's Avatar
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    Why am I doing this?

    I always wash my fabric before adding it to my stash. The other day I thought "Why do I wash the fabric & not the batting?" I know prewashing helps with fabrics that will bleed - reds etc and if the fabric is going to shrink it will do so before you cut it. The finished quilts still get the crinkled look when laundered because the batting shrinks a smidge so why bother washing fabric unless there will be a bleeding issue?

  2. #2
    Power Poster gabeway's Avatar
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    I feel that depending on the tightness of the quilting the batting shouldn't bunch that much plus some Battings are better for looser quilting. We always prewash material not just for bleeding but for shrinkage. Besides batting and material do shrink to different degrees. Not sure this help but think you're doing the right thing.
    Wayne & Gabriele, the married quilters.

  3. #3
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i wash the fabrics for the shrinkage and to remove the chemicals and starches used in the manufacture. my batting does shrink, but only minimally.
    Nancy in western NY
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  4. #4
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I stopped prewashing both fabric and batting. The only time I prewash if I do not trust fabric. I now wash the finnished quilt on warm with color catchers and then dry on medium because I like the crinkled feel.I never prewash batting because I feel it would damage the integrity of the batting since it is not meant to be washed unless quilted.
    Anna Quilts

  5. #5
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    I washed the batting Once-- delicate, no soap, air dry-- thought I did all the right things. Now I have batting that has only has a few useable places for small projects

  6. #6
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    I prewash all my fabrics not only for shrinkage but to remove the chemicals in the fabrics, most importantly formaldehyde. Also, fabrics from different manufacturers will shrink differently. Some shrink lengthwise more than crosswise and vice versa. Prewashing fabric makes it much easier to reset the straight of grain for the fabric as well. If I use a cotton, cotton blend, bamboo, wool or any other natural batting I will preshrink the batt. I will spritz it very well with a water bottle and then put into the dryer with a wet towel and dry on my highest setting. Batting will shrink in all kinds of directions, and I don't want my finished quilt to look strange after it's first wash.

    I am a very strong supporter for prewashing fabrics. This will not happen to most people but this is something I think we should all be much aware. Most woven fabrics have a finish that is applied before it is rolled onto a bolt. This is to prevent the fabric from rubbing holes into itself while on the bolt and being handled. It is also to prevent dirt and oils from hands discoloring the fabric in the stores. That finishing solution has a lot of formaldehyde in it. The formaldehyde prevents the fabric from attracting bugs, and kills any larvae that may still be in the threads. Formaldehyde can cause reactions in people, i.e. light coughing, running nose, stuffy nose, itchy eyes and in rare cases skin rashes. There are other more severe reactions but those are pretty rare. In my case, it is my eyes, actually more my eye lids. The scratching has caused all my eyelashes to come out, (i have actually scratched them out) and my eye lids are very swollen. I have to wash my eyes with baby shampoo 3 times a day (no makeup for me) then apply one drop of medicine in each eye, and apply an ointment to my lids.

    Sorry to be so windy, but I really want others to know.
    Crashnquilt


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  7. #7
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnNan View Post
    i wash the fabrics for the shrinkage and to remove the chemicals and starches used in the manufacture. my batting does shrink, but only minimally.
    This is my method also.

  8. #8
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    I washed the batting Once-- delicate, no soap, air dry-- thought I did all the right things. Now I have batting that only has a few useable places for small projects

  9. #9
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Mostly I prewash to remove the chemicals because I have sensitive skin. Another good reason is because fabrics can shrink at different rates. I do not prewash batting. I don't mind if it shrinks a bit and crinkles up. If I needed a quilt to be a particular size, I'd make it over-sized to accommodate shrinkage.

  10. #10
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    If you don't want the crinkled look, why not just use a batting that won't shrink if you don't want any shrinkage. Quilters Dream and Hobbs both make wonderful polyester batting that won't shrink and do not beard like the old fasioned poly's used to. They also give lovely definition to your quilting. Hobb's Heirloom 80/20 blend has minimal shrinkage. Like so many others, I actually like that slight puckering you get around the quilting stiches after the batting has shrunk a tiny bit.

    I don't prewash my fabrics so much for shrinking as I do to remove the factory applied sizing and chemicals and to flush out bleeders. I also prefer to work with washed fabric. I don't always starch my fabric. Not only that but the process of prewashing and then ironing to put in my stash allows me to play with my fabric and closely inspect every bit of it for any problems.

  11. #11
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    if you do choose to wash your batting, do not let it agitate AT ALL. just soak it in the tub of your top loader machine, laundry tub or bath.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  12. #12
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I remember in my youth buying some of the most beautiful fabric and looked so long for the perfect pattern. I worked so hard on it and loved it when it was finished until I washed it. It shrunk so bad it was awful I was in tears. DM cut it up for quilting and I have always bought extra and washed it as soon as I get it home. Lesson learned the hard way.

  13. #13
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    I don't trust fabric to shrink equally in all directions, so that's part of why I pre-wash fabric. Plus there's a smell to fabric when I first bring it home - it must be the chemicals others have mentioned (though thankfully I don't seem to be sensitive to any of them).

    Batting...I like the crinkle and so far I haven't noticed batting shrinking more in one direction than another, so I don't bother to pre-shrink. If it's something I don't want to crinkle I use poly batting. But usually I sort of depend on the crinkle to help distract from quilting boo-boos! ;-)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Annaquilts View Post
    I stopped prewashing both fabric and batting. The only time I prewash if I do not trust fabric. I now wash the finnished quilt on warm with color catchers and then dry on medium because I like the crinkled feel.I never prewash batting because I feel it would damage the integrity of the batting since it is not meant to be washed unless quilted.
    Me too!!!!

  15. #15
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i never wash my batting- but always my fabrics. it removes sizing, oils, grim, smells (lots of people fondle bolts of fabric before you buy it)
    if i have a bleeder i know right away- if i have a (sub-standard) fabric that frays or separates- i know; i just feel better about handling it once it's been laundered & is ready for what ever i want to do with it. I generally purchase bolts of batting- or packaged ones that have not been (fondled) by the general public before i get them- so i wait until the quilt if finished/quilted & bound- then launder the finished product- that's when my batting gets washed.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  16. #16
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    Quilters Dream battings have only minimal shrink. Only Dream Orient mentions a 3% shrink.
    Cheryl Robinson
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    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  17. #17
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    I wish I had pictures of the condition my hands and legs were in before my dermatologist and I figured out that the chemicals in fabric processing caused a severe flare up. I looked like a burn victim. I have a yet to be named autoimmune disorder that when exposed to those chemicals sent my immune system in overdrive. I have a special cream that I have to apply after fondling fabrics in a quilt or fabric store. I have an injection that I self administer twice a month and I have a large dose of steroids I take weekly. I will have to be on these medications the rest of my life. This is why I pre wash everything.
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  18. #18
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    I prewash all my fabrics and then dry in the dryer without fabric softener because I make mainly baby quilts and don't want to cause any skin reactions. I also want to preshrink and prevent color migration.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  19. #19
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    I discovered that prewashing the batting not only shrank it a bit, but also made it thicker. I got a thicker quilt, but less crinkly, when I prewashed my cotton batting. So now I decide if I want a thicker, less crinkly quilt, or a thinner, very crinkly quilt? That determines if I prewash the batt or not. I always pre-wash the fabric, unless it's small pre-cuts, to get rid of the chemicals in it.
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  20. #20
    Super Member Gail B's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your comments. I will continue to prewash my fabric. I am so happy to be part of this board - so many wonderful people willing to share.

  21. #21
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    Before I start to cut any fabric, especially with colors that are notorious for bleeding, I snip a piece off and put it in a glass of fairly warm water, let it sit for awhile or until I get back to it, then I stir it around in the glass. If the water stays clear after all of that, I go ahead and use without washing.

  22. #22
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    I prefer not to wash cotton fabrics, but it is better to wah flannels since they all can shrink at different rates.

  23. #23
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    I don't wash my fabrics. I did one time because I was new at quilting and someone of authority told me I had to. It turned out to be a nightmare to iron. I figured she could wash her fabric but I didn't have to listen to her. She wasn't my boss. I have never had anything shrink too much or bleed or any other problem and I've been quilting since 1992. I am allergic to grass and gluten and a whole lot of other things and have to use 3 different nose sprays every day and an inhaler but the fabric doesn't bother me a bit! I was put on the nose spray and inhaler when I had a 3 year break in quilting, so it is not the fabric. Thank God!!
    Last edited by jcrow; 01-19-2013 at 05:30 PM.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member rush88888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashnquilt View Post
    I prewash all my fabrics not only for shrinkage but to remove the chemicals in the fabrics, most importantly formaldehyde. Also, fabrics from different manufacturers will shrink differently. Some shrink lengthwise more than crosswise and vice versa. Prewashing fabric makes it much easier to reset the straight of grain for the fabric as well. If I use a cotton, cotton blend, bamboo, wool or any other natural batting I will preshrink the batt. I will spritz it very well with a water bottle and then put into the dryer with a wet towel and dry on my highest setting. Batting will shrink in all kinds of directions, and I don't want my finished quilt to look strange after it's first wash.

    I am a very strong supporter for prewashing fabrics. This will not happen to most people but this is something I think we should all be much aware. Most woven fabrics have a finish that is applied before it is rolled onto a bolt. This is to prevent the fabric from rubbing holes into itself while on the bolt and being handled. It is also to prevent dirt and oils from hands discoloring the fabric in the stores. That finishing solution has a lot of formaldehyde in it. The formaldehyde prevents the fabric from attracting bugs, and kills any larvae that may still be in the threads. Formaldehyde can cause reactions in people, i.e. light coughing, running nose, stuffy nose, itchy eyes and in rare cases skin rashes. There are other more severe reactions but those are pretty rare. In my case, it is my eyes, actually more my eye lids. The scratching has caused all my eyelashes to come out, (i have actually scratched them out) and my eye lids are very swollen. I have to wash my eyes with baby shampoo 3 times a day (no makeup for me) then apply one drop of medicine in each eye, and apply an ointment to my lids.

    Sorry to be so windy, but I really want others to know.
    i am curious as to where you got this information. also, i would think that this would apply to off-the-rack clothing.
    "perfection is the enemy of done."
    "the secret to having it all is knowing you already do."

  25. #25
    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
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    This subject has been discussed many times, here and elsewhere. I think we all need to accept there is no wrong or right way, just different ways. Do whichever suits you.

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