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Forum > Quilters' Corner > Do you always pre-wash your fabric? ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Do you always pre-wash your fabric?
dollydolittle
dollydolittle
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Date: 6/9/12 3:17 PM

One of my friends does a lot of patchwork and quilting and she says she never pre-washes fabric she buys from quilting shops, just cuts it up and sews it together. She says she has never had a problem.

I always pre-wash, but it is a pain especially with FQs and smaller pieces because they fray. I'd hate to make a quilt and have it shrink unevenly on the first wash, but surely people who buy charm packs and jelly rolls don't pre wash?

So who does and who doesn't?

GrandmaNewt
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Date: 6/9/12 3:25 PM

I usually dont prewash fabrics intended for quilts, clothing fabrics is a different story.

The only time I will prewash quilting cottons is the occasions where I am worried about colors running, like if I have a lot of red and white combined in the same quilt.

Jennifer Hill
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Jennifer Hill
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Date: 6/9/12 3:38 PM

I seldom pre-wash quilting fabrics. My only exception is the stuff I get from kinda dodgy sources - garage sales, thrift shops, etc. Oh, and I do wash flannel, several times. Flannel is the only quilting fabric I've yet used where differential shrinkage can be an issue. In my 30+ years of quilting, I have yet to make anything where shrinkage was an issue. And that is LOTS of quilts....

I would NEVER pre-wash pre-cut pieces - F4s, F8s, jelly rolls, charms, etc. It's not worth it to me considering the unavoidable losses due to fraying.

While shrinkage isn't much of an issue, colour transfer occasionally is. But if you have fabrics whose dyes tend to run, pre-washing WON'T fix the problem. They will keep running every time they get wet. If you suspect an unstable dye, you must treat the fabric with a fixer BEFORE you cut it up and sew it into other fabrics. The common one in use for cotton fabrics is called Retayne. But modern cotton dyes are extremely stable - the odd misbehaving one is usually the result of a manufacturing boo-boo, and should be labeled as a "second".

Jennifer in Calgary

threaddy
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Date: 6/9/12 3:41 PM

Do a search about this topic. It has been discussed a lot as it is an important issue. We seem to discuss it a lengh every few months...you can get a lot of info in past posts.

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"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
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Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

AminaHijabi
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Date: 6/9/12 4:10 PM

Yes, but its not exactly washing, and I don't get loss to fraying. Collect fabric, put in gently cycle set to last cycle only (soak + rinse and spin) add some retayne then put in dryer for shrinking. Loss to fraying is really minimal and I don't like the sizing whatever you they put on fabrics at the store. Then when I'm ready to cut I starch, iron, find the grain line and cut. That seems to be working for me so far and my strips are nicer than when I wasn't washing and trying to find the grain line. I like buying scraps and remnants too.

dollydolittle
dollydolittle
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In reply to threaddy <<


Date: 6/9/12 4:44 PM

I did search this board and found only one other thread with 4 or 5 opinions on it.

My apologies for raising it again.

dollydolittle
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Date: 6/9/12 4:48 PM

Thanks everyone. Seems my friend is probably right then. I shall skip this step from now on.

AminaHijabi
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Date: 6/9/12 5:41 PM

Its probably a 6 vs (0.5 * 12) type personal preference thing. My reasons for pre-washing are not necessarily logical.

dollydolittle
dollydolittle
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In reply to AminaHijabi <<


Date: 6/9/12 5:48 PM

I agree about not liking the sizing, but I don't have a dryer so can't do exactly what you do, and of course when I wash I end up with FQ's drying everywhere.

I would never sew clothing without pre washing, though.

Sharon1952
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Date: 6/9/12 6:17 PM

I agree with the others- unless it's going to run I don't prewash. If I have a doubt about hand dyed fabric that is precut in fat quarters or smaller I just soak it in warm water- no wash cycle.

I have only had one problem. I made a wall quilt with 16 hearts that were all different in some way. It got dirty and I washed it- now one (and fortunately only one!) of the hearts is bleeding!

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Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness. ~Author Unknown

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