Friday, May 27, 2011

To Wash Or Not To Wash...

...that is the question.  There are 1.72 gazillion different thoughts on this (I've studied the issue in depth, can you tell?) but here are mine:  I pre-wash my fabrics.  UNLESS I'm using a jelly roll, charm pack, or some other kind of special pre-cut.  Until lately, I ALWAYS pre-washed ... then I fell in love with charm packs (pre-cut 5" squares that you can have all kinds of fun with!) and now am on to jelly rolls.  But the question is "why" pre-wash.

Here's my partial list:

  • Pre-washing removes excess dye.  Don't just think in terms of dyes bleeding when you do wash your finished project, think about skin irritation, too.
  • Pre-washing removes any odors.  (Not to sound picky, but sometimes fabs that have been in a shop a while get a wee bit musty...)
  • Pre-washing = pre-shrinking.
  • Since I always let my Guide Dog for the Color Blind check my new fabrics, pre-washing also removes any Sibe fuzz that may have transferred over.
  • Pre-washed fab feels nicer to me.  And I love the smell of fresh laundry.
  • My top reason:  my quilting mentor told me to.  Hahahahaha!  But seriously, she did and it made sense, so I do.  Fabric, except those pre-cuts, is not allowed into my Studio until it's been washed.  Here's how I do it!

To help prevent tons of unravelling, trim the corners off -- just about 1/4 of an inch in:

DSCN1508 Cutting corners
The extremely cool fabs I won from Fabricworm being prepped for the wash

You'll still have a little fraying, but not as badly as if you don't trim the corners.  No, I don't count fat quarters as pre-cuts.  They get washed.  Always.  Throw it in the washer and dryer, using normal cycles.  Give it a work out!  And give it one of these in the wash:

DSCN1510 Color Catcher sheets
This is an un-paid product endorsement

Toss one sheet in when you wash your fabric -- or if you don't pre-wash, make sure you toss one in when you do wash your project. You'll be so glad you did; the sheets soak up excess dye to prevent bleeding over onto other fabs.

Those are my thoughts on washing fabric.  In other news, Jill's Super Shopper is DONE and in the mail; I'll post pix of the finished bag tomorrow!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great tips! I don't sew but everything else made of fabric that we buy is pre-washed before wearing/using for many of the same reasons you mention. As for dog and cat hair, we've given up on trying to get that off fabric!

  2. I didn't pre-wash the fabric I used to make Steve and Kat's crate cover. Let's just say that it used to be a perfect fit. The thing is, it shrinks more every time I wash it so now I'm not sure what to do with the fabric that I will eventually buy to make them a new one that will hopefully be a perfect fit... and not just until I wash it the first time!


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