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To Wash or Not Wash......your fabric

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Bev Posted: Wed, Oct 2 2013 8:58 AM

From the first time I asked this question until now it has been about 50/50 and it has seem to be just a personal preference.

i will say that I have washed fabric for some quilts and not washed it for others (in the interest of science ..lol )

Now I am wondering since I have  washed and unwashed fabric scraps mixed together should I ever want to make a postage stamp quilt or just a really scrappy quilt if I might have a problem with shrinkage, etc.

It does make me wish I had just not been wishy-washy about it and decided on one way or the other.

 

Just my thoughts, now I need have some coffee....

  from TN

 

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Dara replied on Wed, Oct 2 2013 10:29 AM

Bev,

I know what you mean.  My scraps are also a combination of washed & unwashed.  Personally, I prefer to wash first but my daughter prefers the more old-fashioned crinkled look that comes from not washing. So the scraps from quilts I make for her are unwashed.  It is also not practical to pre-wash precut strips and charm squares, so more scraps that have not been prewashed.  I've decided that my charm and scrap quilts will probably have some uneven texture, but since they are made to be used and not for show, I feel it won't matter....

    Mineral Wells, West Virginia

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Someone suggested using a salad spinner for washing those small pieces.  Haven't tried it, but that might solve your problem...

stitcheraz

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Or you can use a lingerie bag in the washer.  The ingredients in the sizing are unknown to me so I have started pre-washing my fabrics. Since I buy quality fabrics I don't worry so much about bleeding. When I get ready to use my fabrics I starch them with heavy starch.  Lately I've used 50/50 Sta-flo starch and warm water.  It works great and makes your fabrics much easier to cut without any stretching. The only thing I didn't starch was my RR center from RR3 (mistake because the background fabric was very light weight and starch would have helped). I used a very light weight fabric during the current RR but I put an iron on light weight stabilizer and starched too. Tip, when you put an iron on stabilizer on a fabric, starch the stabilizer on the back but iron from the front. If you iron on the starched stabilizer directly it turns brown in areas. Lesson learned from experience, ummm .... Last week. ROTFL

aka Grandma Sunshine

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Marge P replied on Sat, Oct 5 2013 1:55 PM

Maggie aka Grandma Sunshine:
Or you can use a lingerie bag in the washer.

I would be lost without my lingerie bags when pre-washing fabrics.  I always put 4-5 FQ's in one bag and end up drying them in the bag also.  Usually leave them a bit damp so they are easy to press.  I have also did this with a jelly roll once - they really didn't ravel much at all.  They were a pain to press though as I had to be careful separating them even though they had each been opened up before being put in the lingerie bag.  So decided to just use unwashed jelly rolls and charms in the same quilt along with unwashed fabrics. I always use a couple color catchers in every fabric wash load.

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Ramona replied on Sat, Oct 5 2013 4:36 PM

Color catchers are great. I use Warm and Natural batting and it shrinks when washed/dryed. So unless I pre-wash/dry my batting, I get shrinkage anyway,  I also like the old time look so I don't wash the batting, not even when I've pre-shrunk my flannel. I usually just wet my fabrics good in rinse mode. Just long enough to get them wet and if they agitate at all, I have it set on a hand wash setting. The drying/heat is what they say does the shrinkage. Now, if you're thinking one of the fabrics may run, then the color catchers work because pre-washing would certainly need to be considered.  Sorry there is no steadfast answer to your question. Sometimes it just comes down to personal preference.  Me, I take the short cut whenever I can. :-)

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Agnes replied on Sat, Oct 5 2013 6:47 PM

I can safely say that I have now combined washed and unwashed fabrics in the same quilts for at least four years and never had a problem. I use Warm and Natural equivalent batting and always wash the quilt after it it is quilted and before using. I was a pre-washer until I moved to a laundromat situation and stopped because I had very little control over what the machines do. As Marge P has generously shared fabric with me that portion is washed and the rest is unwashed. 

Agnes in NW Ontario

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Christine replied on Mon, Oct 14 2013 9:05 AM

What has your experience been with brand names?  I'm thinking higher quality brands, such as Moda or Marcus Brothers, wouldn't bleed.  Have you found this to be the case?  

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Agnes replied on Wed, Oct 16 2013 2:45 AM

Christine:
I'm thinking higher quality brands, such as Moda or Marcus Brothers, wouldn't bleed.

There is a difference between bleeding and crocking. Let me explain. Bleeding means that a fabric  releases dye in the wash water. Crocking means that a fabric picks up the dye from the water or from being in contact with the wet fabric. In the attached quilt, which was a variety of scraps, washed and unwashed, there were only two fabrics that caused a problem. With the exception of those two fabrics the fabrics were all quilter quality. The two problems: The red in the border, which I also used as backing, was a cheap poly cotton broadcloth which I prewashed several times because I suspected it might bleed. In the star piecing there were a number of background pieces that were muslin. How I wished I had taken a photo post washing. The red bled again. The only fabric affected was the muslin which were quite a nice shade of pink. So the red bled and crocked only onto the muslin. The reds in the piecing were quilt quality.

Agnes in NW Ontario

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Bev replied on Wed, Oct 16 2013 6:05 AM

Thanks for call the good advice everyone.  I had to research color catchers and saw this link on how to make your own and found it interesting.

The link  is. 

www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/.../make-your-own-laundry-color-...in case someone wants to make their own.

  from TN

 

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Bev replied on Wed, Oct 16 2013 6:19 AM

Thanks Maggie and Marge P. for the info on using a lingerie bag for small pieces.  I could not find mine so I made one with some muslin.  I have now kind of separated my washed and unwashed scraps but do plan on making a very scrappy quilt just for me to use it all of my scraps. 

What I really need to do is quit buying any more fabric and kits until I finish the 30 or so that I now have taking up space in my closet, under bed,and stacked in containers.

If I ever get to that point I am definitely just going to have 1 project at a time.   

  from TN

 

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