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Thread: Why I wash my fabrics before cutting them.

  1. #1
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    Why I wash fabrics before cutting them.

    Actually, now I "marinate" them in hot water, and then wash them in warm and dry on Permanent Press setting.

    1) Some fabrics shrink. Some more than others. Sometimes - if the shrinkage is severe - it can even pull out of a seam. I prefer a flat look to the puckered look. And even if I did want a puckered look, I would go for a batting that shrinks and get more or less even puckers.

    2) Some fabrics will bleed. (I soak like colors together - so in case something does run, it won't be a disaster.) I'd rather know sooner than later.
    I also hope that the recipient will care for the quilt, but I doubt that many of them would know to use a dye catcher or something similar.

    Babies are leaky. Sometimes one doesn't catch the leak until it's been there for a while. Sometimes color will be okay/stay put it it just goes for a quick dip, but not for a soak.

    (I know this because I had let some fabrics set while waiting their turn to go in the dryer)

    3) I like to know what the true nature of the fabric is. Is it limp? (I think using starch/sizing to make it more hefty than it is, is cheating) Using it to make it easier to handle is something else. Are the grain lines perpendicular to each other? Is it permanently off-grain?

    4) Some fabrics smell weird when they come from the store.

    5) I want to know how badly it wrinkles when it is dried. Some fabrics can be "hand-pressed" - and folded and put away. Some come out of the dryer so rumpled, they look like they were permanently scrunched - and they don't press well.

    I do try to handle the fabrics gently - which is why I go for a soak in hot water first - and dry for as short a time as possible. With only a few things in the dryer at a time.

  2. #2
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    good tips

  3. #3
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing this with us :D:D:D

  4. #4
    MarthaVA's Avatar
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    I agree. I'm new to quilting but I like all the reasons you've mentioned, and also always wash my fabric before using!

  5. #5
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    I'm right there with you.....for ALL the reasons you mentioned...good job.

  6. #6
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    I agree with you too! Very valid reasons! My dear friend has not washed a stitch of quilting fabric in years--so I decided to give it a try, too. She laughed when I told her I went back and pulled out the non washed lengths and threw them in the rinse cycle of my washer and into the dryer.
    PS I've been sewing for 40 years and was taught you always prewash fabric!

  7. #7
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Ditto to all your reasons, bearisgray, and I have one more: to remove all the chemicals added during the manufacturing process (and any other grunge that may have attached itself to the surface).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider
    Ditto to all your reasons, bearisgray, and I have one more: to remove all the chemicals added during the manufacturing process (and any other grunge that may have attached itself to the surface).
    I think some finishes are more or less permanent - but washing gets some of the excess off, anyway.

  9. #9
    Super Member sewingladydi's Avatar
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    I agree. I always wash and dry all fabric, usually as soon as I bring it in the door! And use a color catcher. Then I never have to worry and it's all ready to use whenever the mood strikes.

  10. #10
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    After reading another post - another reason to prewash -

    Who knows where this fabric has been before it gets to your home? Washing seems to remove or minimize allergens some people are sensitive to.

  11. #11
    Senior Member foxxigrani's Avatar
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    There has been many subjects on this very thing. I too wash them and iron before I use them, seems to cut down on the dreaded L strip. But I had heard from experts or I thought they were experts, that if you don't wash your fabrics and start a quilt do not mix washed and non washed. Thats all I know. Start with non washed finish with non washed.

    Rita

  12. #12
    Super Member MommaDorian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewingladydi
    I agree. I always wash and dry all fabric, usually as soon as I bring it in the door! And use a color catcher. Then I never have to worry and it's all ready to use whenever the mood strikes.
    What is a color catcher? I've heard it mentioned before too.

  13. #13
    Senior Member quilter41's Avatar
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    Guess I am the Lone Ranger never wash fabrics. Seems a waster of time and money for me. I have never had much shrinkage and never had bleeding. When I wash my quilts (seldom) I use a Color Catcher. The only bad thing is it prevents me from doing swaps, because most of them want washed fabrics.

  14. #14
    Super Member justwannaquilt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilter41
    Guess I am the Lone Ranger never wash fabrics. Seems a waster of time and money for me. I have never had much shrinkage and never had bleeding. When I wash my quilts (seldom) I use a Color Catcher. The only bad thing is it prevents me from doing swaps, because most of them want washed fabrics.
    LOL Neither do I.
    Reasons I do not prewash fabric....
    1. I am lazy.
    2. I have to much other laundry to do, fabric would never make it to the wash, leaving me with nothing to sew.
    3. I am lazy.
    4. I don't care about staph infection.
    5. I am lazy.
    6. I never remember to take it out of the dryer while damp.
    7. I am lazy.
    8. I hate ironing out, what seems to be, permament wrinkles due to reason 6.
    9. I am lazy.
    10. Just because it is worth repeating. I am lazy!

    Washed or unwashed I think the bottom line is the fabric will still make a beautiful quilt!

    P.S. I did the recent strip swap (first fabric swap) and bought fabric just for it. I washed it and I think it will be the last time I do a fabric swap! I like scrapbook swaps. No washing required. However, I understand why some people need the fabric prewashed.
    I didn't want anyone that participated in that swap thinking my fabic was unsanitary!

  15. #15
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    What is a "scrapbook swap"?

    Guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about the prewashing.

  16. #16
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    Sometimes I washed, sometimes not, until recently when I completed a top with gorgeous yellows and blues. A few of the blues bled into the beautiful pale yellow background color. I was crushed. I managed to get the worst of it out, but the background is kinda dingey now. So sad.

    Never again will I chance it. It's just not worth it. I'm washing!

  17. #17
    Senior Member quilter41's Avatar
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    Just use color catchers when you wash the quilt. They are in the laundry isle at the grocery store.

  18. #18
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    I agree with you I dont wash either

  19. #19
    Super Member misseva's Avatar
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    it's a piece of non woven fabric that looks like a dryer sheet and it's called Shout Color Catchers made by S. C. Johnson (the Pledge people). you find them near the detergent. you can wash red, white, etc together and they don't fade on each other. i live alone and never have a full load of whites or colors. just wash all together.

  20. #20
    Super Member misseva's Avatar
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    you go girl!!! i use the same reasons - just never wrote them down.

  21. #21
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    I really wish that they made a "Color Catcher" that was unscented, I bought one and it had so much perfume in it that it was unusable. I'm asthmatic and have bad allergies to perfume.

  22. #22
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilter41
    Guess I am the Lone Ranger never wash fabrics. Seems a waster of time and money for me. I have never had much shrinkage and never had bleeding. When I wash my quilts (seldom) I use a Color Catcher. The only bad thing is it prevents me from doing swaps, because most of them want washed fabrics.
    Me neither. I always did wash but then precut fabrics came out (other than fat quarters) and I love those so I just don't wash anything anymore. It's a challenge keeping track of what is and isn't washed but once I use up my washed stash it'll all be the same.

  23. #23
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    I didn't worry too much about washing until I did a swap one time. I had washed a red fabric and thought it was fine. I ironed it and made my blocks. I set them on the ironing board not realizing that there was a damp spot on the ironing board. They sat overnight...the red ran all over the white in the blocks...all 11 Dear Jane 5 1/2" blocks with a cazillion pieces. I tried and tried..couldn't get the stain out...they were pink and red now. Ruined. Never again...I thouroughly wash everything now. My time is worth more than a little time to throw fabric in with the regular laundry.

  24. #24
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    I have always pre-washed fabric for the above reasons. A couple of days ago, I decided I wanted to take a break from a very complex quilt and do a simple, easy fast project that was waiting in the wings. I needed some solid black, just 1/8 yd, so I found a large piece in my stash and cut some off. I so badly wanted to just start in on it and not prewash, but because it was black I decided to wash for fear of it bleeding. I stuck it in my sink to soak for a few minutes, then went back to rinse it out. It kept bleeding and bleeding, so I kept rinsing, as I squeezed I noticed some pieces of fabric that were loose from the whole piece. When I opened it up, the fabric was riddled with holes and tears, it was disintegrating in my hands! I am so, so glad I didn't get it sewn together and then have that happen! I don't remember anything about where, or when I got that fabric. I only buy good quality fabric and have always, so maybe someone gave it to me. I took the whole large amount and tossed it in the garbage. I doubt if I will ever be able to skip the pre-wash step after this!

  25. #25
    Super Member C.Cal Quilt Girl's Avatar
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    Blacks Reds and navys/dark blues get a bubble bath all others Don't worry so much about, unless it has been around for a while. most gets pressed before cut, don't care for the little fold bumps.
    But some of the above reason make this rethinkable.

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