A blog series on pre-washing quilt fabric:
- Part 1: 8 Top Reasons QuilteWhy Quilters Should Prewash
- Part 2: 8 Top Reasons Quilters Don't Need to Prewash (Read below)
- Part 3: Prewashing Fabric: How to Decide Which is Right for YOU!
Reasons why not to prewash
You don't want your precuts' size to change. Precuts (jelly rolls, charm packs, layer cakes, fabric panels etc.) will unravel or get distorted and no longer be the standard size due to shrinking if the fabric is prewashed. (If you’re a “prewasher” I suggest hand washing in the sink. I didn't and now this 42-piece charm pack now measures 4 3/4" x 5".)
FREEBIE- BTW, I am giving this (prewashed) charm pack. I'll choose a person from the 1st 50 people that sign up for my newsletter and mention that you saw this in the post!
You want to be able to use the kit you purchased. Kits, including block-of-the-months (BOMs),
generally do not have much more fabric than what is required to complete the pattern (yes, even mine-they will be on coloradocreationsquilting.com soon). So, if you pre-wash, the pieces might shrink enough so that you won’t be able to cut that 4 ½” square called for in the quilt pattern.
- You want to keep the sizing in the fabric to aid with cutting and sewing the fabric. (This is my one personal exception to prewashing fabric. I don’t prewash fabric when I am making or teaching a One Block Wonder or Stack N’ Whack-type quilt or class where I need that crispness to make fussy cuts.) If you don’t know what a fussy cut is, check out my upcoming tutorial to investigate “Fussy cut, Messy cut, Confetti cut - What’s the Difference?”
- You don’t want to deal with fabric that frays with prewashing. If you find that you do end up having to wash, to minimize the fraying you can treat the fabric’s edges with one of these methods: use pinking shears, serge or zigzag the raw edges prior to prewashing the fabric.
- You want your “rag quilt” to fray, you will need to make the quilt and then wash the completed project to get the soft rag quilt look. Generally, if your project isn’t intended to be a rag quilt, I’d definitely suggest to prewash flannel because of the fact that flannel does fray / shrink excessively.
You don't want to wash your art quilts or wall hangings. These types of quilts generally don’t get "wear and tear" and therefore don’t need pre-washing. Yes, but read step 3 under the Reasons to Prewash section first.
- You don't want to wait to start that next quilt or craft project. Just too eager to start and don't have time to prewash! OK, I get this one.
- You don't want to spend time ironing after prewashing the fabric. For those that hate to iron - Get a MANGLE! (I really love this thing!)
See Part 1 of this blog series to find out more about mangles.
Well that's my two cents’ worth and I'm sticking to it!
Tune in to my next blog post to discover solutions like Retayne and Synthrapol and a helpful colorfast test. Also, if you missed the other side of the debate check out part 1 of this blog series.
Let me know if you prewash fabric or not and why. Do you have a compelling reason to either wash or not that I haven’t addressed here? Comment below and feel free to share this blog post (or my web site) with others.
Until next time, Happy Quilting,
Jackie V (‘cuz my computer hasn’t learned how to spell Vujcich)