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Quilting with Flannel - Prewash?

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    Quilting with Flannel - Prewash?

    Hello,

    My name is Nikki and I am new to this board. I am also relatively new to quilting having only completed two quilts so far. The other day I found the most adorable flannel squares in a store and decided to quilt a baby blanket for my colleague who is expecting.
    When I bought the backing today, the lady at the store told me to make sure to prewash the flannel since it shrinks quite a lot. However, the squares came with a tag that says "Don't prewash". So now I am a little bit confused as to what I should do, since I have never worked with flannel before.
    I am a little worried that if I prewash the squares they will shrink and change shape. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of buying precut squares? I am also a little bit worried that if I only wash the flannel backing but not the squares for the front of the quilt, the quilt will shirnk quite unevenly once it gets washed for the first time.
    Do you have any advice for me?

    Thanks in advance!

    #2
    Re: Quilting with Flannel - Prewash?

    I would not pre-wash either of them personally. I really only pre-wash when I'm concerned if the backing colour will run a lot. There's some shrinkage but it's not bad.

    Terri

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      #3
      Re: Quilting with Flannel - Prewash?

      Was she telling you to prewash the flannel backing? Did she know you got flannel squares earlier?

      Here's what I think, for what it's worth. If you were using flannel backing on regular quilter's cotton, I would say to wash it first. But since you are using it with flannel, which will shrink a little, too, at least it all will shrink about the same when you wash it after completion. The batting will most likely shrink, too. I know the Warm & Natural or Warm & White does.
      I don't think you would want to prewash the squares (certainly not in the washer). You would end up tearing your hair out trying to iron them straight afterwards.
      Now, if the flannel for the backing is pretty inexpensive, and the squares were very high quality, you might find enough difference in the shrinkage to make a difference. If that is the case, you might want to do a test square, measuring precisely before and after laundering.

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        #4
        Re: Quilting with Flannel - Prewash?

        Thanks for the advice so far.
        The store lady told me to prewash the flannel backing and I asked her if she was sure, since the squares said otherwise. I had picked up another pack of squares when I bought the backing and I showed them to her. And she responded: "Always prewash all flannel twice in really hot water." That advice did not sound right to me when it comes to precut squares and so, I thought I would double-check in an online forum...
        Both the squares and the backing were in the same price class, so I don't think there is a big difference in quality.
        The backing is white with a really light grey chevron pattern. I don't think it will run.

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          #5
          Re: Quilting with Flannel - Prewash?

          No, I would not wash it. I have made totally flannel quilts with very little shrinkage at all. Most are in constant use by my GKs and they get washed and dried a lot.
          If you read the end of the bolt most, if not all quilting fabric tells you to wash in warm and tumble dry on low.
          “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world, is and remains immortal.”

          ― Albert Pine

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            #6
            Re: Quilting with Flannel - Prewash?

            I think you need to use a 1/2 inch seam with unwashed flannel.


            Jeannette

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              #7
              Re: Quilting with Flannel - Prewash?

              My experience with flannel as a backing: I prewashed and dried. I lost width and 6" of length. I was piecing the back and putting it on a large cotton top, so I was glad I did.
              You may not have the same issue since top and back are flannel, and you will likely quilt it before you wash it.

              I wouldn't prewash the pre cuts either.
              Be who you are and say what you feel
              because those who mind don't matter,
              and those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Seuss

              http://www.toggpine.wordpress.com

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                #8
                Re: Quilting with Flannel - Prewash?

                So, it is decided: No prewash, then! Thanks for all the advice. I will also make sure to leave a 1/2 inch seam.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Quilting with Flannel - Prewash?

                  Also, in addition to 1/2" seams you might want to adjust your stitches to a shorter length. Flannel is a little stretchy so be careful pressing, use an up and down pressing motion not back and forth like ironing wrinkles out of a shirt. One last thing, flannel is very dulling on your sewing machine needle so be prepared to put a fresh needle in after you finish your flannel project.

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                    #10
                    Re: Quilting with Flannel - Prewash?

                    Flannel yardage is is always pre washed because it will shrink.
                    Since the flannel was already cut, pre washing will
                    probably distort the squares. Flannel is a loosely woven
                    fabric and frays easily. I would not prewash precut squares,
                    But make atleast a 1/2 inch seam, so when the finished quilt
                    is washed the seams won't fray.
                    I gave even stitched flannel seams with 2 seams a small
                    distance apart so they don't fray.
                    Good luck on your quilt.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Quilting with Flannel - Prewash?

                      Originally posted by toggpine View Post
                      My experience with flannel as a backing: I prewashed and dried. I lost width and 6" of length. I was piecing the back and putting it on a large cotton top, so I was glad I did.
                      You may not have the same issue since top and back are flannel, and you will likely quilt it before you wash it.

                      I wouldn't prewash the pre cuts either.
                      I had the same thing happen with my backing. Shrank up a full 6". If you don't pre-wash it, be prepared to have a very "crinkly" effect on your quilt - it may happen. It's also my belief that they may have put "don't prewash" on the squares, as flannel tends to unravel very easily. You could have very well ended up with a laundry load full of threads and knots. Good luck with this!
                      Tenacity: The quality or fact of being very determined; determination.

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