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Do you wash your material before you use it or do you just use the material?

I personally wash everything and of course spend hours ironing before I carefully fold and put away. My first go round with quilting - I never washed material but for some reason this time I have been.

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When I first started to quilt I always washed my fabrics. Then I started to watch Alex Andersons quilt show and I found more people didn't! But, they always said it was a presonal choice to wash or not. So far I've been lucky, but after reading all of your comments I do think I will get back into the habit of washing before my luck runs out!!
I always wash mine as well. All it takes is one disaster. I'm preparing for a quilt cruise and bought suggested kit and had it sent to my home. The other option was just getting it when I got on the ship. One of the pieces was a black which will be the background for lots of lights and brights. I have washed black in the past and it never bled as much as this one did. I rinsed it about 4 times before it stopped.

That sure makes me wonder what will happen when all those other folks who won't be able to pre-wash will be saying after they wash their completed projects.
If I know where the fabric came from, the manufacturer, etc. I make my decision based on that - I will admit that I rarely prewash my fabric but many of my friends do! I have always had good luck. Having said that, I do prewash solid red, black and navy - and I always prewash flannel. Once I have quilted and added the binding, I do wash and dry the quilt. I like that it shrinks just a tad, makes it look and feel softer.
I too always wash my fabric. I usually do not wash it when I first purchase, but wash before starting a project. I clip the corners to prevent the fraying. I also will not let the fabric totally dry in the dryer. If it is still a little damp, ironing is much easier and all the wrinkles press out beautifully. Just my way. When I have smaller quantities I might not even put them in the dryer. Just throw them over the shower bar and let air dry.
Hmmm... I never pre-wash. Unless it's flannel or Osnaburg, and then only due to the excessive shrinkage. Otherwise, I almost exclusively use Moda fabrics, and I'm not sure I've ever made a quilt without red in it, red being my favorite color...

When I'm done quilting, I toss my quilts in warm water with a Shout! brand dye sheet, and then into a hot dryer. I've never, ever had any red dye get past that Shout! dye sheet.

Have you "Tinkled" today?
I do not prewash my fabrics, If you buy jelly rolls or charm packs or kits those pieces can be way to small to wash and if you use a dye grabber sheet when you first wash the project everything works out fine.
Thank you all for your suggestions that you have on here! They are soooo helpful. I am starting to make my first quilt and I didn't know whether I was to wash my material first, so I got on here and found you all wash your material. So... I am washing my material before I get started!! Thanks for all the suggestions!!

Tena Bird
I wash all my fabrics in synthrapol which is a soap that dyers use. It binds to dye that is not affixed to the fabric and doesn't allow it to affix to any other fabric. It just washes out. I also do the rinse cycle twice. If you get synthrapol at a craft store it's expensive and you can't get much. I found it was better to buy it here...


I also used it once when I had a piece bleed. It didn't fix it completely, but it made it much better. I'm the only one who notices it now.
thanks for all the tips !! I greatly appreciate this!! I am working on my first quilt and I was wondering how do you sew your block pattern together? What do you think is the easiest way?
For instants Do you fold your edges in twice 1/2 inch each time and then sew the blocks together?
Or do you just fold it in 1/2 inch and then sew it?

I wash, put in the dryer until just barely damp, then press using spray sizing. If I have a lot of yardage to press, I take it over my mother's and use her mangle.
I've always been a "wash first" person for the many reasons listed here, but there is another reason I wash first. I've read that the sizing used to make fabric lay nicely on the bolt releases chemicals when subjected to the heat in ironing. So as you're ironing your new fabric, you're breathing in those chemicals. I also worry about the long term effects of chemically treated fabrics. We all know about fugitive dyes and lead based silks and inks used in the 1800s that have destroyed the fragile fabrics over time. I wonder about how the chemicals used on fabrics and in sprays, fusibles, marking tools, etc. will affect our quilts over time.
I have only been quilting a little over a year and have tried both ways - actually 3 ways - wash when the fabric comes in the door, wash after the piecing but before the quilting, and wash the quilt when finished. I really can't say I am "sold" on any one way. The size of the pieces is definitely an issue as one person mentioned. If I am using pre-cut pieces, I never pre-wash. Do any of you? I gathered you were referring to washing yardage.

Also, the one time I pieced a quilt made with pre-cut pieces for a rail fence quilt, I got more threads than I could ever imagine possible. I didn't know about cutting corners at that time and I had pieced the top so I thought I was ok. I will say that those pieces were terribly frayed even when they arrived in the mail. I only received pieces one other time that were that bad. What do you all do when there is a thousand - OR MORE - strings on the back of the fabric??

Thanks for any input. It will be greatly appreciated.


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