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Andrea, if you have enough fabric, you could cut off a small piece to test for color fastness. Put it in the temperature water you would use to wash the quilt, shake it up & see if it bleeds. If you want to be able to wash the quilt once it's made, I would wash all the fabric so it shrinks before...
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.
Thea, you're right! And I can't find the original discussion on this through the search function. Ah, well. Maybe some other people will add their opinions here! I've had quilters tell me they always wash everything, they never wash anything, or it depends on the project. I consider myself...