Do You Wash?
How many quilt shows have you been to? Have you ever noticed whether or not the quilts in the show have had the fabrics pre-washed? I have been fascinated by this question lately and finally took the plunge for the first time pre-washing my fabric. It was very intense ironing out the fabric afterwards, but it softened up so very nicely. My only issue with this was that I could never seem to get the wrinkles out of the fabric no matter how much I ironed!! I’ll wait to see what it looks like after quilting though.
Part of the five quilts in nine days that I mentioned in a previous post had three of the same patterns, but with different materials. So on the first quilt I prewashed all fabrics and the second quilt I didn’t. I’m not going to make a final determination until after they’re both bound and washed again. My first impression however, it’s impressive how soft and manageable the pre-washed fabric was. The unwashed fabric was stiff and hard to manage. It would slip and slide while I was working with it, which is good and bad. It seemed to slip a little more while on the sewing machine as well, where the pre-washed didn’t.
As I was sewing the pieces together, they just seemed to fit better. When piecing the non-washed fabric, I felt like a wrangler on a ranch trying to herd the fabric to its proper position. It may have been perception and not fact, but I could have sworn the pre-washed fabric wanted to go together correctly!
I am against pre-washing fabric because it makes it too wrinkly to work with. It becomes stringy afterwards and I find myself having to iron too much just to be able to make my cuts straight.
I’m too new at this to know. But the next time I think I will try to pre-wash.
Please let me know how it goes and what you end up like/hating about it.
Due to the nature of my quilts, washing the quilt top fabric is a required step in making the image(s) colorfast. Ironing after the wash also part of my process so I don’t mind it. But washing really does soften the fabric.
I didn’t realize how soft it would make the fabric! It was so nice when I sewing it though. I have yet to try images on the quilts but the ones I saw on your blog are fantastic!!
Thank you for you kind words, I plan to have may more online shortly.
I look forward to seeing them!!
I don’t pre-wash my fabric. My art quilts are appliqued and the quilting is not random patterns but things like fish, animals and guitars. Washing the fabric for the first time when the quilt is finished gives my appliques and quilting more texture and definition.
Appliques are my nemesis… But I keep doing them as much as possible in hopes that I’ll get better with time. But I agree with you about washing after the fact when there are appliques involved.