To wash or not wash?

August 30, 2010 § 7 Comments

I know that many quilters wash all their fabrics the moment they get them home. I’m afraid I’m not one of those and one day it could end in tears I know. However, when I was learning to appliqué we were instructed to wash our fabrics first and I did so. Since then I haven’t and you know I think it’s harder to appliqué without washing it. The fabric is stiffer and doesn’t form curves as nicely as it does when it’s been washed. So, I’m afraid I’m going to have to become a washer of fabric – if only before I appliqué. What do you do?

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the boidies is?

I don’t know where that comes from but my mother used to say it. Well it might not be officially spring in Australia for another day but my garden is certainly showing the signs and today is a little warmer than the last few days too.


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§ 7 Responses to To wash or not wash?

  • KK Batte says:

    That was a commercial in the 1960’s.
    “Spring has sprung
    The grass has riz
    Ben Peabody’s where the good tire’s is!”

    What is the first plant? It grows like crazy in pots here in south Texas.


  • I don’t wash. So far I haven’t had a problem. I use color catches when I do was, just in case. I like the way fabric handles when it hasn’t been washed. I know…I may be sorry some day…

  • I wash, cause it is softer to applique too, as well as already had my turn being sorry one day! I have also seen the results of what has happened to others. (And a few times have refrained from sayin ‘I told you so’ to people I had warned about dark reds.)

    If you like the new fabric feel to work with starch the fabric after washing, but I find a good iron with plenty of steam makes the fabric crispy enough for me.

    And yes the first pant is a bromeliad, but I don’t know which one either …. but it grows well in lots of places.

    Judy B

  • Holly says:

    I used to be one who washed all her cottons before cutting them. But then I learned that my friend Lynne, a graduate of FIT and a much better quilter than I, never washes her fabrics first.
    I always wash my quilts in cold water. Maybe that’s why I have regretted this change.
    And I applique and don’t find it difficult. Hmmm.
    Yesterday was very hot and a bit humid. Summer is still with us.

  • sylvia says:

    I wash! When I teach my accuracy in quilting class, I show them why I wash! It’s the last quilt I ever did that I didn’t wash my fabrics first. Two reds ran into the surrounding muslin and it’s been a reminder to me ever since. 🙂

    Once the fabric has been washed and dried, I then spray it with warm water, fold it to allow the water to sink into the fabric, then iron it dry with a hot iron. This gives the fabric a body all it’s own that in my opinion is equal to starching. But still allows the fabric to move. To be manipulated, like for piecing in curves, hand applique, anytime you need the fabric to be “movable”.

    If you simply must use a crisper fabric, I recommend Light Body, Magic Sizing. It’s a spray product here in the states that doesn’t scorch, or flake. I use it mostly for making KKB’s perfect circles.

    We used to say: Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the flowers is. Isn’t it funny how they are similar? lol

  • Doris says:

    Wash, wash, wash! 3 important reasons

    1) To check for bleeding & especially crocking for applique
    2) To eliminate the very real possibility that the fabric was stacked (stretched) during finishing.
    3) To remove the industrial sizing (chemicals)

    Other reasons, perhaps less important
    A soft relaxed fabric is easier to hand stitch whether it’s applique, piecing, or quilting. And as Sylvia pointed out manipulate.

    Some markers will react with the industrial sizing.

    Unlike Sylvia, when I want stiff (unlikely) or to “glue” layers together for cutting I use starch. For the “gluing” I VERY lightly spray one of the fabrics then iron together. It’s barely there. I usually mix my own starch so I can control the strength. The starch versus sizing controversy in unending with each side replete with experts.

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