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  • Prewashing Pre-cuts

    I just purchased my first layer cake. I have always prewashed my fabrics but did a little research before washing these precuts. The overwhelming majority said not to so I did a little experiment and washed and dried 3 squares as a test. Fraying wasn't a big issue but all 3 had shrunk to 10 inches by 9.5 inches.

    If I sew a quilt top without washing the rest of the precuts, what will happen to the finished product? Will it shrink that significantly? I am also planning on combining some fabric (prewashed) that was not included in the layer cake. Will that be a problem?

    Thanks for any help. Precuts are new territory for me!

  • #2
    Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

    I don't know the answer for you, but my son recently used a layer cake and while he did not prewash it, he did starch the squares before subcutting. He had to use 4.5 inch squares instead of 5 inches due to the same shrinkage.

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    • #3
      Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

      NO! Don't wash pre-cuts!!! Some layer cake squares just barely are 10" when they're unwashed.

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      • #4
        Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

        When you wash your finished quilt, you will have shrinkage. Part of the shrinking is going to be from the batting.
        I have used both washed and unwashed fabrics in quilts with no obvious problems.
        If you feel the need to wash your layer cake don't do it in the washing machine, gently in the sink and lay flat to dry. You will probably have some shrinkage so take that into account when you chose a pattern.

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        • #5
          Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

          That seems like a lot of shrinkage, but it's also possible that they weren't exactly 10" to start with - that's happened to me before, so I measure all the squares before I star cutting just in case.

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          • #6
            Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

            Thank you for the responses! I'm mostly concerned that if I don't prewash the fabric my quilt will look weird and puckered when I finally do wash it once it's finished. It's for a baby quilt for a friend and I don't want to mess it up!

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            • #7
              Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

              Your batting will control shrinkage. This may shock some, but I NEVER prewash fabric before using it. I prefer the stiffer feel of the unwashed fabric. I could accomplish the same thing with washing and starching, but I just don't like to take the time to do that. I have also mixed fabric from used sheets/clothing with new, unwashed fabrics and not had a problem. (I made a small test block with poly/cotton, cotton and 100% poly with batting, quilted and washed it) I use 80/20 cotton batting and the batting shrinks about 3%. Go with what you are comfortable doing. I have also learned that I prefer quality fabric over the big box stores as it behaves so much better than the cheap stuff.
              https://www.etsy.com/shop/FaintlyArtistic
              https://www.pinterest.com/FaintlyArt...shed-projects/

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              • #8
                Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

                I wouldn't prewash. Probably the new mom will before she uses it with her precious little (totally germ free) bundle of love. This way, it will look more crisp and new when opened.

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                • #9
                  Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

                  If I'm gifting a quilt to a new baby, I always pre-wash the quilt.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

                    Funny you brought this up. I just hand washed some five inch chatprms for a hexie quilt I'm working on and put them in the dryer in one of those mesh bags. Oh my. They did shrink and as it was suggested above, I suspect they didn't all start at five inches to begin with. Most are about four inches now. This was a reputable fabric line. And the strings and lint. Wow! Enough for a sparrow nest. I will say they are much softer now. I'll still be able to use them but it was an eye opener. Reminded me of how much flannel shrinks.
                    I also would wash the quilt before gifting it. It'll be clean for the baby and you'll know how the fabric reacts.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

                      I never pre-wash pre-cuts. I did it one time a few years ago and it was a disaster. I never have since and have never had an issue. The shrinkage you get when you wash the finished quilt makes the quilt look all the lovelier.

                      I have also mixed prewashed yardage with non prewashed precuts and not had any issues with the finished quilt. Once the quilt is made and washed you can't tell which fabrics were prewashed and which weren't. It all comes out fine.
                      Courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne

                      Quilting is my passion . . . chocolate is a close second!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

                        So I made the quilt without prewashing the fabric. After finishing and binding I washed it and I was pretty surprised by the amount of shrinkage. I lost 5.5 inches in length and 4 inches in width. It's not the worst thing but if I was making a quilt that needed to be a specific size I would have been in trouble! Thanks for the help!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

                          I prewash everything! I use mesh bags to pre-wash and then I iron them dry, I don't put them in the dryer and it works for me. Although I usually prefer not buy anything smaller than 10" squares for this reason. They do shrink but I'm OK with it as I'm expecting it.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

                            Originally posted by VicY View Post
                            So I made the quilt without prewashing the fabric. After finishing and binding I washed it and I was pretty surprised by the amount of shrinkage. I lost 5.5 inches in length and 4 inches in width. It's not the worst thing but if I was making a quilt that needed to be a specific size I would have been in trouble! Thanks for the help!
                            Did you measure the finished quilt before washing? Remember you lose some because of 1/4" seams, if your seams were bigger you lose even more. But it seems 5.5" is quite a bit, that's like losing a whole row of charm squares, never had that happen and I never pre-wash and do mix fabrics a lot.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Prewashing Pre-cuts

                              This is just for information: I had purchased 10yds of muslin, knew it would shrink. Put the whole piece in the washer and dryer and then measured it again, it shrunk only 9" for the 10yd piece, so that was less than 1" per yard, not bad.

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