6 May 2012

Sunday Stash - Pre-Washing Fabric

Below is the culmination of about two months worth of stash enhancement, lots of loads of washing and many, many hours of ironing!! There is no one designer or range for these fabrics, many are quite old or from no name brands.

I know alot of people don't pre-wash their fabrics, and I think that that choice is happening more and more with the popularity of pre-cuts like jelly rolls, layer cakes and charm packs. However, my decision is always, where possible to pre-wash all my fabrics.

My reasons for washing are pretty simple. Firstly, I don't want to spend hundreds of hours making a quilt, to have it ruined because a fabric decided to run. This is a potential issue with any fabric, irrespective of price. If you've had this happen, you REALLY don't want it to happen again!!

Secondly, I want to get as much shrinkage, chemicals etc out of my fabric before I use it. Again, I don't want any surprises the first time I wash a completed quilt. I use a variety of qualities of fabrics in my quilts, some shrink more than others. I want that minimised as much as possible before I start cutting and sewing.

One argument put forward for not pre-washing is that the fabric is easier to work with when straight off the bolt or out of a pre-cut pack. This might be true, but you can get the same feel and workability by putting in a bit of elbow grease and spray starch if these are big issues for you.

There is no right way of doing this. Some people like the wrinkled look that comes from unwashed fabrics shrinking during their first wash. Others aren't as concerned about colour bleed. But for me, the extra hours I put in before I start cutting and sewing are worth it in the long run.