You may have noticed that lately....I have a few red quilts out there.
And there are lots and lots of pretty red fabrics in your local quilt shop.
I have received more than a few emails asking about whether or not to pre-wash all of this red fabric.
Do I pre-wash? Is it safe? Will the dye run??
That is an age old question, and I thought perhaps, with all this red fabric out there, that I should address this question.
First, let me share what I do. I don't pre-wash anything.
If you'd like to pre-wash...go right ahead. There are exceptions to that rule, however. I don't recommend pre-washing quilt kits unless you know for certain you have plenty of fabric. Also, I wouldn't pre-wash precuts like 5 or 10 inch charms, or jelly rolls, and the like. Many of the patterns using them use every inch and every thread, so you don't want the shrinkage that comes with pre-washing or you may find yourself short of the needed fabric.
I don't pre-wash because I like the sizing the fabric has when it comes off the bolt. When I'm about to work with fabric to make a new quilt, I add starch or sizing to my fabrics before cutting them!!
Having stiffer fabric to work with aides you in many ways throughout the piecing process. Because the fabric has more body, it behaves better thru cutting, piecing, and pressing. To me, working with washed or un-sized fabric is like trying to style your hair with no conditioner or any helpful hair care product. No mousse, no gel...just limp, unconditioned hair. (You wouldn't want to see my hair without that stuff!! Eeekkk!!) Sizing and starch give the fabric a lot of body, and the difference is amazing!
But...what about the red dye?? If you wash the quilt without pre-washing the fabric, will the dye bleed and ruin your quilt?
The answer to that question is.....with quilt shop quality fabric from a major, well-known manufacturer, you should not have any problem. You would not need to pre-wash any fabric.
That said, when in doubt, TEST! Test some swatches for yourself to be sure. No manufacturer gives a guarantee because so many factors are at play. What type of water do you have? Hard, soft, well water? How does it mix with the detergent you're using? Any number of things can be happening, and because a fabric company has no control over that, they cannot give a guarantee. But honestly, I trust the quality of really good quilt shop quality cotton.
Does that make you feel any better? Maybe...a little. That's not good enough! So, I did a test with one of my quilts so I can share the results with you.Prairie Gathering Quilt of the Quarter program. It's made of all the same red prints in the Prairie Gathering fabric collection. The fabrics were never washed, but were heavily starched, then cut up, sewn and quilted. The quilt has never been washed.....until now! Notice I will use my everyday detergent and not a mild quilt soap. I wanted to see what would happen when I washed it.
I added a color catcher to the wash to see if it would pick up any dye that was released into the water during the wash.
It has loads of suds!
This is a close-up of the quilt center after drying the quilt in the clothes dryer. The quilt has that nice crinkle to it (LOVE that!!) and looks great.
I hope this helps you feel more confident in using Marcus Fabrics. Again, when in doubt, please test for yourself.
The folks at Marcus Fabrics have a bit more to add on this subject on their blog today. So, click here to visit the Marcus blog and read a bit more about this.
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