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Topic: To Wash or Not to Wash  (Read 1164 times)
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« on: January 16, 2013 10:34:18 PM »

Hi, I've never finished a quilt before though I've made countless blocks. So, here's the deal. A few years ago I made my first quilt top (basic squares) but I forgot to wash the fabric before cutting and sewing the pieces together. It has been hanging in my closet for some time and I finally bought fabric for the backing. All the fabric, including the top, is 100% cotton quilting fabric. Should I wash the backing before attaching it to the top? Should I wash the top pieced together? I really don't want to rip the seams, wash the pieces, and then resew the thing. I'm hoping someone more experienced will know what to do.
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2013 01:18:44 PM »

If it were me I would gently handwash the quilt top and hang it up to air dry. You could wash the backing regularly with a washing machine so then both the top and bottom would be preshrunk.

But I've always heard you could also leave both the top and backing unwashed. Then wash the quilt when the quilt's all finished and sewn together. The fabric will shrink a little bit, but it will only have a slightly puckered look that many people think looks homey and cozy.

I hope that helps! Cheesy

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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2013 12:21:27 AM »

I never pre-wash my fabric. It's personal choice, but with unwashed fabric, after you quilt and wash and dry it, it gets a lovely wrinkly texture that I like. It also is very forgiving regarding any puckers or issues from the quilting.

If you don't pre-wash, it's a good idea to put some Color Catchers in the first time you wash it in case any of your fabric bleeds.

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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013 07:52:34 AM »

i used to prewash everything, then i got super lazy. ( tho i like nothing more than seeing a line of fat quarters fluttering on the line in summer) now some stash is washed. some isnt.  since i make scrappy quilts mostly. i haven't found any issues. most cotton of my battings dont get pre-washed. so. i figured stuff will shrink or not as its wont. im not gonna worry about it. Smiley

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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013 06:30:15 AM »

Depends on the colour. Will the backing colour bleed all over the quilt? Then you probably will want to wash it. Otherwise you don't really have to, and it's better not to if you haven't washed the fabric you used to make the top yet. If they are washed for the first time together (as a finished quilt), any shrinkage will happen more evenly. Absolutely do not rip it apart to wash it!

I usually don't wash unless it's a red and white quilt or a hand dyed fabric or something. I quilt, zigzag the edges shut and then wash the entire quilt. Once it has been dried and washed, I can see any unusual behaviour and trim it to square before adding the binding. That said, I hate doing binding so I have a few quilts that still only have zigzagging on their edges after years.
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