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Fabric Prep Questions?

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    Fabric Prep Questions?

    Ok...I have been reading older posts about the Prewashing debate and have gleaned the following general consensus:
    1. Prewash yardages whenever possible, particularly reds/purples or fabrics that tend to bleed.
    2. Prewash known "shrinkers" like flannel, muslin and even batting if you don't want a shrinkage effect on the finished project.
    3. If you prewash any component of a project then prewash all other components of the project.
    4. If you can't prewash any component of a project then don't prewash any other components of the project.
    5. Never prewash precut charms, jellyrolls or small cuts of fabric that will excessively fray.
    6. Always use a color blocker in the prewash and/or in the final washing of the completed project.
    7. Prewashing may not be necessary for wall hangings, runners or projects not intended to need regular washing.

    Ok that was my interpretation at least of several of the posts I read. I also liked some general tips I found in the older posts ie. try a narrow serged edge on fabric yardages prior to prewashing to reduce amount of fraying. When pressing Non-prewashed fabric components be careful with the use of steam irons since the moisture can still cause shrinkage....use a dry iron for pressing piecework.

    So as a previous sewer of clothing who ALWAYS prewashed my fabrics, I am NOT planning to prewash the precut fabric in the new charm pack I just received today from MSQC. I am planning to make either a table runner or wall hanging using the charm pack so will also not prewash the sash, border, binding or backing fabrics.

    I have read on other quilting sites that spray starching and pressing should be done following prewashing of yardages to stabilize the fabric and make sewing go more smoothly. If I do not prewash my project since I am using precuts, then here are my questions:
    1. Does anyone use spray starch on their quilt fabrics to help stabilize the material for sewing and piecing?
    2. Should I still lightly starch and press the charm squares before cutting if it has not been prewashed?
    3. Does spray starch cause colors to run on fabric that has not been prewashed?

    Thanks for any input. I'm excited about getting started on cutting wedges out of my charm pack for a Dresden Plate but want to know if there is any fabric prep I should do first before cutting?
    -its not the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away!


    Re: Fabric Prep Questions?

    I don't believe I have ever used spray starch on my fabrics. I have heard, however, that if you do use the starch that you should wash the item - perhaps once you've finished the project - cause the starch can cause some sort of bugs to get on the fabric.

    I know that 'feeling' of wanting to get started on a project once the fabrics arrive!


    What if you woke up today and the only things you had were the things you thanked God for yesterday? :icon_hug:quilting trish


      Re: Fabric Prep Questions?

      Prewashing fabric, removes the 'sizing' from the fabric which is what gives the fabric its 'crisp' feel and makes cutting and stitching a lot easier, washed fabric tends to be limp/soft and not as easy to handle or manage. So the idea of starching after washing is to put back that crispness.

      The problem with starching in relation to bugs is that 1) the sizing that we have washed out also includes a bug deterrant (stores can't sell fabric with silverfish holes in it), and we have removed that, making our fabric vulnerable, so don't prewash until you are ready to use. And 2), commercial starch generally includes sugar, a flashing neon sign for bugs of all types, so not only have we removed the original bug deterrant but we then add a bug attractor. If you are going to use starch choose one like Mary Ellen's which is specifically designed for quilting and does not include sugar.

      In relation to precuts, if you want to use precuts, and who doesn't they are great, then get used to the idea of not prewashing your fabrics. So as you noted that means any of your fabric to be used in the project.

      Personally, I have never prewashed fabric with the rare exception of some 'at risk' colours and some fabric of dubious quality which may not have been colourfast...and it wasn't. In general, the fabrics we have now are extremely good in relation to colourfastness, there should be very few that will give you problems.

      Just jump in and have fun!

      "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to's about learning to dance in the rain" Anonymous.


        Re: Fabric Prep Questions?

        I agree with Lynn. You can always use color catchers in the wash to help stop the bleeding.
        Last edited by janluna; September 15, 2010, 08:23 PM. Reason: I forgot something
        Home, where each lives for the others and all live for God! ><(((((o>


          Re: Fabric Prep Questions?

          I use the mary Ellens best press. It works great. I was also told the it helps when your sewing on the bias. I do believe thats what Jenny said in one of the tut. I cant remember which tut. Watch how much you spray because it makes it hard to square up the fabric when you go to cut. This happened to be the other day. I got spray happy and when I went to go square my fabric, it wasnt sliding nicely.
          Have a blessed day in HIS name!


            Re: Fabric Prep Questions?


            I am new. The main reason I joined was to ask about the washing. From what I am hearing here, ya'll aren't concerned about shrinkage so much as you are about color running. Why is shrinkage not a concern?

            Thank you!