All Things Andrea

All Things Andrea

Sunday, January 13, 2013

To Prewash Quilting Fabrics - Yes or No?

I'm beginning to think I'm the only quilter who prewashes their quilt fabrics any more....
Most people are machine quilting their quilts these days, and most of the quilters whose blogs I follow prefer wait to toss their quilt in the washer and dryer after completing their quilt.  They like the benefit of working with the fabric while it still has the crisp sizing in it and like how the quilt "crinkles" up after it comes out of the dryer.
But, I started quilting back in the early 90's, and have been prewashing my fabric from day one, probably a result of my dressmaking experience (it was always important to preshrink fabrics, especially when using fusible interfacings).  I had toyed with the idea of abandoning that practice, but how does one shift gears part way through their quilting career?  How would I mix prewashed and non-prewashed fabrics together in a quilt?  But, I thought it was important for me to take the leap into current no-prewashing approach.  I figured a good time to start would be when I was making a quilt from a kit - that way all the fabrics would be brand new, and I wouldn't have to worry about mixing fabrics.  I was uneasy about the idea, but figured I needed to push through the uneasiness.  My conclusion?  I don't like working with the crisp fabrics, and I'm going to stick with my prewashing approach!
1)  Because I want to be able to mix fabrics in a quilt without having to worry if they have been prewashed or not.
2)  I want to be able to use any fabric from my stash for hand applique, and prewashed fabrics do much better when using the needle turn applique method.
3)  I still do a fair amount of hand quilting, and prewashed fabrics needle much better.
4)  And, I don't like the idea of my hands touching all the chemicals that remain in fabric from the manufacturing process.  Learning that fabric directly off the bolt still contains dyes, formaldehyde, insecticides, etc. (AAAHHHH!!!) was the final data I needed to make my decision!
This means I'm going to need to go back and prewash the scraps from the quilt I didn't prewash.
The downside of this approach?  There's always a stack of fabric sitting around my house, waiting to be prewashed.  But, it's still worth it.  I decided to simply fold and stack my fabrics neatly so I can enjoy viewing them until I have time for prewashing.
Note:  While I was trying to decide what to do, I did some research on line; this was the post convinced me of my decision.

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