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Prewashing Fabric: How to Decide Which is Right for YOU!

Jackie Vujcich fabric bleeding fabric shrinking prewash fabric

Products to combat excessive dye in the wash As I mentioned in part 1 on the debate of whether to prewash fabrics or not, I’d give some pointers on quilt products on the market relating to washing.  It’s helpful to know what to use when and if you really want to spend the money for a product before you know what it can do for you. 4 Quilting Products to Consider When Washing Fabric Quilt Soap: insert A very gently soap Dye trapping sheets: [insert dyecatcher1.jpg] As mentioned in part 1, link these sheets trap loose dyes from the fabric that have been released during the washing process.  At the end of the cycle just toss the sheet away.  With dark colors (especially reds and purples) if the sheet is totally saturated with color, that’s a sign to repeat washing and adding a new dye trapping sheet to the cycle. [insert dyecatcher2.jpg] As you can see, both brands removed quite a bit of loose dye as compared to the original (white) sheet.  So, in this case, I washed the load a second time. There are numerous other brands on the market besides the two in the picture.  These two brands are readily available to me and that’s why they are pictured here.   Retayne: [insert retayne.jpg] Use this product to 'fix' dyes in commercially purchased cotton fabrics (the kind you get from Colorado Creations Quilting or your local quilt shop) to prevent color bleeding during washing.  In other words, the product helps dye to cling to the fabric. Water should be cool.   Synthrapol: [insert synthrapol.jpg] Use this product to get out any remaining, unfixed (excess/loose) dye in your hand-dyed fabrics. Washing in hot (140° F) water is recommended for this product to get out the dye that doesn’t attach to the fabric.  You do risk some fading when using hot water.  You can also use it to prewash the fabric before you start the dying process as it removes the sizing which allows for a more even dying process.  It’s recommended that even PDF (prepared for dying) fabric be pre-washed with Synthrapol.  If the quilt is already made, consider using Quilt Soap insert which is a very gentle soap for your precious quilt. Granted this is not every product on the market, but it’s what I use on a regular basis for a reason. Test for bleeding With great quilt shop quality fabrics today, bleeding is considered negligible by some. If you don’t prewash fabric, you may want to try a colorfast test on the fabric before piecing your quilt. Number list 2 Put a test swatch (approximately a 2” square of fabric will work) of your darker colors in a sink of water with a little bit of gentle soap such as Quilt Soap.  Remove the soapy water and replace with fresh. If after 20-30 minutes you find that the water is clear all should be good.  On the other hand, if the water is colored you may need to prewash your fabrics and use one of the products that I mentioned above.  If you need to go this route, you might as well prewash all the fabric for your quilt project so that the shrinkage is consistent.  Items to consider whether you prewash or not Number list 3  Be consistent.  If you’re washing fabric, do it when it comes in the door so that you don’t have to guess which is washed or not washed.  If you’re still debating whether to prewash fabrics, at least wash all fabrics for a given quilt project. If you prewash there is no guarantee that there won’t be any further bleeding.  So, I suggest that if you suspect this may happen with any future washings of the finished quilt, consider using Synthrapol or a dye trapping sheet product. Although I advocate for prewashing your quilt fabric (I tried not to be biased!), there are reasons why you might not (see part 2 of this series).  Link I don’t personally think there is a right or wrong answer-it all boils down to personal preference.  Make it an informed choice!  There are no quilt police to force either option upon you!  [insert noquiltpolice.jpg] Thanks for joining me for some prewashing fabric education. Quilty Quote of the Day: “In the end that was the choice you made, and it doesn't matter how hard it was to make it. It matters that you did.” ― Cassandra Clare, City of Glass Do you a product related to washing quilts that I haven’t addressed here?  feel free to share this blog (or ColoradoCreationsQuilting.com web site) with others. Until next time, Happy Quilting, Jackie Vujcich

A blog series on pre-washing quilt fabric:


Products to Combat Excessive Dye in the Wash

As I mentioned in part1 on the debate of whether to prewash fabrics or not, I’d give some pointers on quilt products on the market relating to washing.  It’s helpful to know what to use when and if you really want to spend the money for a product before you know what it can do for you.

4 Quilting Products to Consider When Washing Fabric

  1. Dye trapping sheets:            Image shows 2 dye trapping sheet products
    As mentioned in part 1, link these sheets trap loose dyes from the fabric that have been released during the washing process.  At the end of the cycle just toss the sheet away.  With dark colors (especially reds and purples) if the sheet is totally saturated with color, that’s a sign to repeat washing and adding a new dye trapping sheet to the cycle.

    Dye trapping sheets shown are saturated with color from washing fabric by Colorado Creations Quilting 

    As you can see, both brands removed quite a bit of loose dye as compared to the original (white) sheet.  So, in this case, I washed the load a second time. There are numerous other brands on the market besides the two in the picture.  These two brands are readily available to me and that’s why they are pictured here. 
  2. Retayne:              Bottle of Retayne used to prewash fabrics for quilting by Colorado Creations Quilting
    Use this product to 'fix' dyes in commercially purchased cotton fabrics (the kind you get from Colorado Creations Quilting or your local quilt shop) to prevent color bleeding during washing.  In other words, the product helps dye to cling to the fabric. Water should be cool.
  3.  Synthrapol:             Bottle of Synthrapol used when washing fabrics for quilting or dyeing by Colorado Creations Quilting
    Use this product to get out any remaining, unfixed (excess/loose) dye in your hand-dyed fabrics. Washing in hot (140° F) water is recommended for this product to get out the dye that doesn’t attach to the fabric.  You do risk some fading when using hot water.  You can also use it to prewash the fabric before you start the dyeing process as it removes the sizing which allows for a more even dyeing process.  It’s recommended that even PDF (prepared for dyeing) fabric be pre-washed with Synthrapol.
  4. Quilt Soap:        Image of Quilt Soap product Colorado Creations Quilting
    If the quilt is already made, consider using Quilt Soap which is a very gentle soap for your precious quilt.

Granted this is not every product on the market, but it’s what I use on a regular basis for a reason.

Test for bleeding

With great quilt shop quality fabrics today, bleeding is considered negligible by some. If you don’t prewash fabric, you may want to try a colorfast test on the fabric before piecing your quilt.

  1. Put a test swatch (approximately a 2” square of fabric will work) of your darker colors in a sink of water with a little bit of gentle soap such as Quilt Soap.  Remove the soapy water and replace with fresh.
  2. If after 20-30 minutes you find that the water is clear all should be good.  On the other hand, if the water is colored you may need to prewash your fabrics and use one of the products that I mentioned above.  If you need to go this route, you might as well prewash all the fabric for your quilt project so that the shrinkage is consistent.

Items to consider whether you prewash or not

 

  • Be consistent.  If you’re washing fabric, do it when it comes in the door so that you don’t have to guess which is washed or not washed.  If you’re still debating whether to prewash fabrics, at least wash all fabrics for a given quilt project.
  • If you prewash there is no guarantee that there won’t be any further bleeding.  So, I suggest that if you suspect this may happen with any future washings of the finished quilt, consider using Synthrapol or a dye trapping sheet product.
  • Although I advocate for prewashing your quilt fabric (I tried not to be biased!), there are reasons why you might not (see part 2 of this series). 

I don’t personally think there is a right or wrong answer-it all boils down to personal preference.  Make it an informed choice!  There are no quilt police to force either option upon you!               No Quilt Police sign Colorado Creations Quilting

Thanks for joining me for some prewashing fabric education.

Quilty Quote of the Day:           In the end that was the choice you made, and it doesn't matter how hard it was to make it. It matters that you did.” ― Cassandra Clare, City of Glass


Well that's my two cents’ worth and I'm sticking to it!

Tune in to my next blog post to see how beneficial it can be to surrond yourself by creative people!

Do you know of a product related to washing quilts that I haven’t addressed here?  Feel free to share this blog (or ColoradoCreationsQuilting.com web site) with others.

Until next time, Happy Quilting,

Jackie Vujcich



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