Thursday, August 6, 2009

A response to:

To pre-wash or not to pre-wash

So, i was always told that i need to prewash my fabric before i start a project, but a freind told me that she never pre-washes her fabric. So i am asking your opinion on the subject.

I never pre-wash unless it is some funky type fabric that might bleed color into the other fabrics. I used to spend hours pre-washing and pressing (ugh...) all my pieces before using or storing until I read an article from Fons & Porter. They explained how in the past, quilt fabrics were less stable in their weaves and quality, so pre-washing was a necessity to ensure no color bleeding and even washing and shrinking after your project was done. Now, fabrics are much better quality (at least those fabrics made by leading manufacturers), dyes are a lot more stable, and while their might me some shrinking, it's usually uniform and negligible. I think the exception would be flannels. I always preshrink flannels since they shrink so much more than regular cottons. Plus, it's so much nicer to cut fabric that is 'new' and crisp with a little starch!! And a quilt that shrinks up a little bit after washing is so pretty! It gives it a kind of antique look right off the bat!

Disclaimer******With fabric you really do get what you pay for. (unfortunately....) For a quilt that is going to last long enough to make all the effort worthwhile, use high-quality fabric. Even though some stores carry 'name-brand' fabric, and might even be the same print as more expensive fabric, they are not made with the same components. It's like sheets--you can buy 700-800 thread count sheets now for pretty cheap, but if the quality of the cotton that they use isn't great, your just going to get stiff, yukky sheets. For this reason, you should be picky about what you buy. Ask every single quilter who has made quilts from both qualities of fabric. I could show you some great examples from my quilting past, but they actually fell apart and had to be thrown away. If I feel like I can't afford high quality brand new fabric, I pull from my stash, or use a coupon for the good stuff, or just wait until I can afford it. It's worth it!

( This is mostly a stab at crappy Wal-Mart fabric. Sorry if anyone uses it, but it really can not be compared to 'quilting fabric' from legit stores. I get mad when I see ladies scrambling to buy their $1-$2 dollar flannel to make into humanitarian blankets for little, sweet babies in foreign countries. Don't they know those blankets have to be washed on a rock for heck sake? Look at it sometime. It's woven like cheese cloth! You can see right through it!!) OK. Rant over.

Official advice: Pre-shrinking won't hurt, but it won't necessarily help anything either. If you get your groove on while ironing, go for it! If you have 20,000 other things to spend your time on, don't bother unless the specific fabric requires it, like flannels or wools that you want to felt.


Ella said...

Thank you! For posting that up! very Helpful info. If Tammy says it, its the word follow it to the T. You will be happy every time.

Kendall said...

perfect i loved this post!! i love this whole blog thing!!!