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TOPIC: 2009 BOM--prewash or not?

24 Feb 2009 12:47 #32762

I don't usually prewash my fabrics. I dont' think that today's quilt shop quality fabric should shrink or run, especially for the price we pay for it. I've tested many of these new fabrics and have had no problems. I will test reds and other dark colors for color fasteness. The big problem with shrinkage occurs in the dryer. I hand wash my quilts, spin in the washer to get the excess water out and lay it flat to air dry. Never will they go in the dryer. So that would be how I would prewash fabric.
With all the said and done, I still worry about the red dyes running and to some extent shrinkage. I think that when we pay ten dollars a yard for fabric, the manufacturer should ensure colorfastness and shrink resistance. Remember years ago when jeans used to shrink a couple of sizes after washing. Jeans don't shrink like that any more. Quilt fabric should not shrink either.
However, after reading Sue's instructions, I have to admit to pause and rethink my no prewash habits. Most posters are prewashers, I'm definately in the minority. I like the crispness of new fabric that washing takes away. Some washers have told me they spray starch the fabric, but doesn't that encourage bugs that eat the fabric? Or is that an old wive's tale?
In the end after all this rambling, I am hand washing the fabric, no dryer, just to be sure. I measured before and after, and nothing shrunk.
Last Edit: by Amethyst.
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Pre-Wash 03 Feb 2009 12:14 #31845

As a rule of thumb, I do not prewash. If I am using dark purple batcks or reds, I MIGHT pre-wash. If I am concerned, I cut a small swatch and place in a cup of water and microwave it. Then I sitr it around and remove it from the water and lay it on a paper towel. If the water in the cup changes color or the paper towel changes color, then I will pre-wash that fabric.
Last Edit: by lakekids.
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To wash or not to wash? 03 Feb 2009 05:49 #31835

  • PosyP
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I am thinking of washing my fabrics, when I say wash I mean that I lay the pieces out as flat as I can in my bath and with the plug in then pour over 1-2 kettles of boiling water, top up with hot tap water and using a wooden spoon or similar rub through the fabric to expel air bubbles. Go and do something interesting while it cools, drain out water then hang up to drip dry. The fabric does not get screwed up and requires far less ironing. When dealing with calico(muslin) I usually repeat until the water is clear.

Embroideress Extrordinaire & Mad Hatter
Last Edit: by PosyP.
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to wash or not to wash? 18 Jan 2009 21:15 #31140

  • magnus
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i washed all my fabric for this one to get rid of the sizing because i hope to hand quilt it next year
Last Edit: by magnus.
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18 Jan 2009 19:12 #31136

I prewash all my fabric when it comes in the door. I have bought 3 entire bolts in the last month or so and I washed them all as well, then ironed them and rolled them back onto the bolt. I do us mostly batiks so there can be a dye issue, but I really want all the excess chemicals off the fabric. The only time I don't wash the fabric is when I know that I will be using it for a Buggy Barn pattern, not sure why I decided I did not want to pre-wash for those. Oh and I don't pre-wash wash jelly rolls/ bali pop or charm squares.
Last Edit: by Oats520.
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Block of the Month 18 Jan 2009 14:11 #31121

I do not prewash and so far....knock on wood....I haven't had any problems. I am not going to prewash for this project. I will wash the quilt when it is finished.
Last Edit: by kclily.
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09 Jan 2009 09:57 #30828

For me it depends on what the quilt is for. I am prewashing for this quilt because I know the one will be used for a bed quilt for sure. I am making 2 - one for my mother and one for myself. Mom's I am not sure if she will hang on the wall in her log home or if she will put in on the bed. I honestly hope that she hangs it - she has 2 cats and 3 dogs and they tend to destroy things sometimes. Hers is coming from my stash though, and all my stash fabrics are prewashed before I put them there. The other will be for my own use and I am definately putting it on the bed in my new bedroom, so that one all gets washed too. If the quilt is for a wall hanging though - like an art quilt, then I do not worry about prewashing the fabric as I figure the quilt will never be washed.
Last Edit: by mandysilk.
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08 Jan 2009 13:49 #30794

I also, wash all of my fabrics before putting them into my stash. I do not like to work with the chemicals in the fabrics. I wash with either Orvus or Syntrapol in the kitchen sink. Once I am sure they have no more loose color I put them in the washer to rinse and then to the dryer. I try to iron before putting away and then they are all ready to be put into a quilt. I have found that the fabrics have not changed much in their handling after washing with either of these products and I don't have to worry about color bleeding.

Sandy in Phoenix
Last Edit: by Quiltlovr1.
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Block of the month 08 Jan 2009 10:28 #30787

  • fudsy
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For this one I am pre-washing my fabrics. My good friend Sherry and I are going to try and keep each other going this year to finish our BOM
Last Edit: by fudsy.
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08 Jan 2009 08:11 #30781

Depends - if I'm using fabric from all one shop or range that I've bought for 1 project then I tend not to wash as I like the crisp fabric and I also like the slight shrink-factor when made up. But if it's bright red, etc then I wash it after zizagging the edges to prevent fraying. Then I just fold it and only press when ready to use. I don't like using spray starch unless i absolutely have to and have found freezer paper can be a good way to stabilise fabric that won't otherwise behave - and I can reuse the shapes! :)
Last Edit: by tigsowner.
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14 Dec 2008 00:11 #29626

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I always prewash because of the chemicals.
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11 Dec 2008 15:06 #29556

I knew this would be a matter of personal preference and we don't appear to have any quilt police on board so do what is best for you. In fact, water content is different in different parts of the country so some people have more problems than others.

I've decided to prewash because I am using a lot of dark reds, greens, and blues--potential troublemakers.

I have added my fabric selections to my profile--I'd love to see what the rest of you are planning to use! It will be a great new year!


North Alabama, USA
"I am a part of all that I have met" A. Lord Tennyson
Last Edit: by bbquiltmaker.
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11 Dec 2008 12:41 #29550

I always prewash unless it is a wall hanging that I know will never be washed. There are still some fabrics, like reds, blacks and batiqs that like to bleed and I don't want to risk ruining a quilt.
Last Edit: by MontanaGramma.
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11 Dec 2008 12:12 #29549

After a bad experience many years ago, every fabric that comes into my house gets washed and dried in the dryer. It's not allowed in the fabric cabinets until after that. I don't iron it until I use it, and then I use spray sizing on it unless I want it really crisp and use industrial-strength spray starch or liquid starch instead.

Pat in Rockport, TX
Last Edit: by pknord.
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