A friend recently asked me the fabric washing question. I thought I’d share my response here on the blog…
- Fabric bleeds. How much it bleeds has a lot to do with the water chemistry where you are. There is a lot of variation in water chemistry.
- Fabric shrinks – and not all at the same rate. In my opinion it’s better if fabric is shrunk before being sewn into a quilt.
- I think prewashed fabric behaves better for both applique and piecing. And, no, I don’t add starch or sizing back into the fabric.
- Fabric directly off the bolt has chemicals in it in addition to the sizing – formaldehyde being the one I dislike the most. There are also pesticides sprayed on merchandise as it enters the US and that may be in the fabric as well. I much prefer to wash those chemicals out of my fabric before I store it in the closet or sew with it.
So, I wash with Orvus Paste. I add a color catcher (made by Shout) if I am worried about bleeding. I also have Synthrapol and Retayne on hand (the bigger guns for controlling bleeding). I wash in the washer in cold water. I dry fabric in the dryer. I fold it and put it on the shelf until I’m ready to use it. Then I iron it.