Now there’s a subject that can provoke a quilter!  We all have our individual opinions about whether one should wash fabric before using it to make a quilt.  Do I prewash?  It depends on the quilt, and I thought I would share my own take on the subject, since I will soon be starting this:












Vintage Valentine, a pattern from the Vintage Spool.  Yes, this is the block of the month program that I was so eagerly awaiting.  Why did it take so long to reach me?  The package envelope got torn in transit, and Canada Post placed it in a plastic bag before forwarding it to me.  This, apparently, takes a week to perform.  I feel better about my own productivity now.  I did NOT order this from the Vintage Spool, it was another online quilt shop that I’m still not going to name because of their indifferent customer service.  Anyway, we were supposed to be talking about washing fabric, so here are my guidelines:

1.  If the fabric is Indonesian batik, I always prewash.  Most of these fabrics are colourfast, but every once in awhile there’s a bad apple in the barrel.  Better to wash it and not worry.

2.  If I am going to do hand applique, I always prewash.  This is because I use a wash-away stabilizer under my applique pieces, which I will have to wash out at some point because it contains starch (which attracts some insects).  Prewashing the fabric allows it to shrink before I make the block.  Then once I wash the completed block, further shrinkage will be minimal, and the applique work won’t pucker.

3.  If I’m using a deep red or green fabric, I will pre-test a sample.  Swishing a small square of fabric in warm, soapy water and then drying it on a white paper towel will reveal any tendency to bleed colour.  If it’s colourfast, and I’m making a pieced quilt, I will use the unwashed fabric.

4.  For any pieced quilt with fabric I am sure is colourfast, I don’t bother prewashing.  I like an old-fashioned, aged look to my quilts, and I don’t prewash my cotton batting, either.  Once the quilt is finished, the whole thing gets washed, and the shrinkage of the fabric and batting gives the quilt an attractive texture.

I’m glad that I wrote this down.  Now I can purge it from my short term memory.  I’m pretty sure it was taking up the space I need so that I can remember where I put my keys.