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Should You Pre-Wash Your Fabrics For Quilting?

April 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 161

Everyone has their own ideas on whether you should pre-wash your fabrics for quilting or not. Most quilters are in agreement that the strong vivid colors of reds, purples and navy's should be checked to see if they will bleed. No quilter wants to go through the time and expense of constructing a beautiful quilt, wash it, and what was once a red and white quilt is now red and pink.

There are a few quick and easy bleed tests that you can do to prevent such a heart break from happening. Method number 1, cut a small piece of the questionable fabric, place it in a small container of warm water with the detergent that you use when washing your fabric. Swish it around and let it set for 10 minutes to see if the water becomes discolored. Method number 2 is to immerse a piece of fabric in warm water and then place it on a piece of paper toweling to dry. If the fabric has bleeding tendencies it will leave the paper toweling discolored. To be sure of the test results, repeat either test on the same piece of fabric to see if the bleeding stops with one washing. If the water or paper towel is still colored after two attempts, at this point it is suggested not to use the fabric. If it is important to use this fabric, another option is to use a fixative called Retayne, which makes the dyes in the fabric more permanent.

As a precaution, if there is concern about color fade in a fabric, there is a product on the market called Synthropol. It is an agent that you put in the water, that does not allow color dye residue in the water to deposit on other fabrics when washing them. Synthropol will not however stop color wicking from one patch to another when the blocks are sewn together. Most companies today that manufacture fabrics for quilting, try to produce fabrics that don't bleed, but to be 100% sure, take the time and do a bleed test.

Another reason for taking the time to pre-wash your fabrics for quilting is to make sure it is clean and to remove the sizing, protectants and chemicals from the manufacturing processes along with pre-shrinking the fabric. If you do wash your fabrics for quilting, use a spray starch or sizing when ironing to put the body back into the fabric, making it easier to cut and piece with.

For those of you who like the look of the old vintage quilts that are puckered after many years of washings, it is not recommended to pre-wash your fabric before piecing. During the fabric manufacturing process, the cotton is stretched and straightened and then sizing is added for it to be crisp. So then, if you wash your fabric after it has been pieced and quilted, the cotton strands relax back to their original state causing the fabric to shrink 3-5% which gives you that puckered look.

There are "Pros and Cons" to pre-washing your fabrics for quilting. Take into consideration your quilting project, could the colors bleed, do I want it to be clean and chemical free for a baby or is it just going to hang on a wall? Pre-washing is a personal choice.

At http://QuiltAddict.com we have created a learning and gathering place website for Quilters of all skill levels. Our blogs and articles are easily read and enjoyed by established quilters and "newbie" Quilters just getting started. The Goal at QuiltAddict.com is to promote the art of Quilting with the best quilter supplies and fabrics for quilting to our website visitors. Live Life to the fullest and enjoy Quilting...it's "A Great Habit"!

Source: EzineArticles
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