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pre-washing (common question I'm sure)

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Jenn posted on Thu, Sep 30 2010 5:54 AM

so prewashing

 

I have heard both, people do it and people don't

 

I learned to sew on my own, from reading books and some advise from my MIL, and everything I was told was prewash, so as soon as I get my fabrics (even precuts) I wash them.

Now I'm finding with quilting a lot of people don't pre wash....I know it's really a personal decision, but I was just wondering what everyone's thoughts were on this, what you did and what your experience has been.  

If you don't pre wash a quilt.....is there a lot of distoration after the wash with shrinking?  Thanks

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thaks Kris ,I did not know that ...Barbara

Liberty,Missouri

EAT!! SLEEP !! QUILT!!

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This has been an interesting thread!  I even took a few notes...;D  Appreciate the batting information.  I have never heard of that alternate starch either, and think I'll have to go looking for it (another excuse to visit the store!). 

Annette

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Jenn replied on Sun, Oct 3 2010 4:23 PM

wow everyone, thank you all so much!!!!!!  Ditto on taking notes, it's amazing how much you can learn from posts!

I didn't realize people prepped batting, along with some of these other ideas....thanks!

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I prewash all my fabric, but don't hink I bneed to use soap - just warm water so I can make sure the colors don't run.  This is sometimes a problem with darks, especially reds, navy, and black.  I ruined a quilt I had worked on for days because I had black sashing that bled into the blocks.  Never again will I make that mistake.  After spinning it dry in the washer, I make a medium solution of  liquid starch and water and soak the fabric in it, then spin dry again.  This gives the fabric body and makes it easier to handle.  I dry it in the dryer so if there is shrinkage, that will take care of it.  Have you ever been in a fabric store and your eyes begin to burn?  That could be because of the chemicals in the fabric.  A friend told me that fabric has formaldahyde and other chemicals in it, so I feel better about washing that out rather than breathing it in my sewing room.  I used to iron the fabric after washing/starching when I was putting it away, but another friend suggested waiting to iron it when you are ready to cut.  Simply smooth the fabric as much as possible, fold it neatly, and stack it with the others in your stash until you are ready to use it.  It will save you some time.

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Almost all of my quilts are wall hangings and I tell people to "fluff" them in the dryer (on low) once a year.  I don't pre-wash because I like to sew with the crispness of the fabric.

The fun bed quilts I made for my grandchildren didn't get pre-washed either and they are still hanging in there after five years.

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Joanne replied on Mon, Nov 15 2010 6:09 PM

I tend to prewash but have ended up with problems with flannel. It does get distorted and I have gotten very frustrated as a fairly new quilter.  So I think I may skip the prewash at least with flannels. I have also had the flannel fade quite a bit which also was a lesson learned on where to go and buy the flannels!

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Suggested by JDKruse

I pre-wash when I am using polyester fiberfill but not when using cotton.  I do it with poly fill because the poly fill won't shrink with the cotton fabric.  With cotton fill, I like to let the fabric shrink with the batting for that old look.

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I like the hand of fabric that hasn't been washed and I find that pieces don't distort as easily as they do after washing.   If the colour is a dark red or dark blue I might test to see if it will run and if it does, then I'll prewash it.  Just toss colour catchers into the washer and you don't have to worry about colours bleeding into surrounding fabrics.           Janie

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Answered (Not Verified) Linny t replied on Tue, Nov 16 2010 12:47 PM
Suggested by David

I just test a swatch to see if it's color fast or shrinks a lot.  I only pre-wash if it runs on the test or shrinks a lot.  I like the effect of the slight shrinkage that happens on the wash after the quilt is done.  I think it makes the quilt look more like an old quilt.  Of course I hand quilt, so I'm sure that could make some difference.  Plus, I like the stability of new unwashed fabric for piecing.  I do steam press before cutting, though.  I think it makes the fabric "stick together" better for cutting.

I know, to some I must be lazy, but so be it.  At least I'm honest about it :) 

Linny T

 

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Had quilt teacher who used to work in a fabric store tell us that fabrics are treated with chemicals to protect them from insects and rodents.  She got quite sick working there.  I pre-wash all mine in warm water and detergent and hate to even handle them alot before washing.  I have had a couple of allergic reactions when fabric shopping and quilting alot and can't trace it to anything else.  I wash on gentle cycle and can also check then if there is any bleeding before I use a fabric and ruin a project!  A little spray or liquid starch can bring back the crispness you need for accurate piecing.

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I will test a fabric to see if it runs and if it does I don;t use it. One of my friends washed all her fabrics then made a Mariners Compass king size quilt and the colors still ran. So now ifd I find a fabric runs a lot I don't use it. I do wash and dry flannel quite a few times and then toss it is the dryer again and again so I can be sure it won't shrink once the quilt is made

Other than that  I just use it as it comes as I like the crispness of the fabric but we are all different and have to go with what suits us best.

Hampshire, England

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As much as I hate to bother with pre washing...I know it's best to do it. For sure prewash fabric with any kind of red because red loves to fade all over your new quilt, especially loves to turn your whites a nice, faded pink!

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I am just waiting for a quilt to dry in the dryer right now..burgundy, dark green and white..this is the first time the fabric has been washed and once again I have no problems with fabric...I guess I'm one of the fortunate ones as..never had a problem in 20+ years quilting

Ontario, Canada

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Nana replied on Thu, Nov 18 2010 10:50 PM

Helly

I have never had any problems either.  Haven't prewashed in years.

Vinton, Virginia

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gini replied on Thu, Nov 18 2010 11:30 PM

well, all i can say is nana and helly, you  are skating on really thin ice or the fabric fairy loves you.   helly, how are you, you've been busy?     gini

gini in north idaho

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