Tuesday, June 9, 2015

HELPFUL FABRIC WASHING HINT

It's uncommon to find a piece of fabric in my stash large enough to back a quilt!  Apparently, I've been saving it for?!?!

I need to be sure the fabric is colorfast since the finished quilt is certain to get washed.  Of course there are commercial products to stabilize dyes......and I plan to use one.  But here's an additional test I also use.  I safety pin a small piece of muslin onto the fabric.  Wash and dry as usual.....if there's any dye residue on the muslin......I can decide if it needs further washing/treatment, etc.

Generally I do this on every washable piece that enters my house......but by the pristine look of these folded 6 yards, I didn't test it.


9 comments:

Julie Bagamary said...

Great tip Mary. I wash everything that comes in.

Nancy said...

Good tip- thanks. I don't always wash, but some colors are less trustworthy than others, like reds and blues.

Robbie said...

That is a great idea! Although, I don't make quilts for others anymore...mine are all hung on a wall or laid on tables...hence, I don't remember which I've washed and which I haven't with the exception of my hand dyes. But, again, thanks for the tip!

The Idaho Beauty said...

I never think to do that, although I've heard it suggested many times. I do sometimes do the damp press over a piece of muslin or paper towel to check. Sometimes the heat will show up a problem that just being damp next to each other doesn't. Dark blues and reds - never trust 'em!

margaret said...

I too am a washer of fabrics when I buy them, can be a pain in the winter getting them dry as I do not have a dryer, yesterday I came home with 14 metres and all washed now I need to iron them, will do that when I have cahght up on all the blogs.

Karen Thurn said...

Thanks for the good tip. I've read some blogs that say don't pre-wash and others say do. So it can be very confusing. I generally don't pre-wash unless the fabric is red, purple, or black. I've also found that the newer fabrics hold their colors better than my older stash. And if I have any doubt, I just soak it in the sink and let it hang to dry.

The Inside Stori said...

Mary here.....just wanted to pop in and thank all of you for your thoughts on this subject. I too had given up making quilts other than for the wall....BUT.....now with retirement and expanding family and friends.....I've found I'm back doing lap quilts....sigh.

One thing I wanted to point out.....it isn't JUST the washing one has to worry about.....sometimes dye will transfer from abrasion/rubbing against itself in the dryer....and dye can transfer EVEN IF the water was running clear during the rinse cycle! Thus muslin always tells the tale for me!!

The Idaho Beauty said...

I might add for Karen that there's another reason quilters have been cautioned to wash fabric before putting it in a quilt. There can be shrinkage & the amount can vary. This might be an issue if you mix pre-washed pieces with unwashed in the same quilt, one not meant for the wall. I think it would only really effect designs with larger pieces or long borders. Overall, I think there's very little shrinkage in good quality quilting cotton but quite a bit in muslin. Another reason to prewash is to remove any dirt/dust & finishes from the manefacturing process. As a general rule, I wash all fabric before adding it to my stash just to be safe (and consistent) . The few really long cuts like Mary's I often wait to wash until I need them but I clearly mark that they have not been washed by pinning a note to one end. I know most quilters just want to get on with it but it only takes one disaster to make one wish one had taken the time...

The Inside Stori said...

Thank you Sheila for your insightful information.....we do tend to think only about the stability of dyes....BUT.....shrinkage of the fabrics can also have such a detrimental effect on a piece!