Why do you wash your fabrics.

Why do you wash your fabrics?

These are the answers from some students

1. When I first began quilting I was told to always wash my fabric as soon as I purchased it.
2. I like to see it neat on the line.
3. It’s a habit.
4. It will shrink.
5. the color will come out and spoil the rest of the fabric in the quilt.

So lets think about this. How many fabrics do you have in your stash.?
I personally have over 6000. (and before I get challenged over that statement…..I have over 80 baskets with no less than 80 pieces of fabric in each basket…. so that’s how I know.) 🙂
Each fabric has been tested for color fastness and shrinkage.) three fabrics have not met the standard and don’t remain in the studio. I threw them out with a flourish….. In fact they were fabrics that I had for some time.

The nature of the quilting I do is raw edge appliqué. I need the sizing in the fabric to enhance the overall appearance of my appliqué pieces and also because I use pigmented ink, not paint, on the fabric the illustration with Drapplique works much better on unwashed fabric. Washed fabric tends to let the ink bleed a little.
At the first wash of a piece of cotton you loose 30% of the body of the fabric. I want my quilts to last. Therefore they will be pristine.

I search the antique malls for unwashed vintage fabric.

So it’s your choice, I’m just giving you some options and answering the question why I ask students in my class not to wash their fabrics.

I wonder how many of you know how a fabric is printed…? I have studied it for some time and have lots of information but I suggest you go to

How fabric is Made

read it and it will give you a lot of information on the most basic of supplies that we need to make a quilt. !!!!    FABRIC

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for that link, Pam – very interesting. I wash my fabric because I WANT to decrease the stiffness and finish! I enjoy hand applique and free machine machine embroidery and I really like the ravelly edges that I get on washed fabrics. If I need to make the fabric stiffer for a special project then I can starch them, I guess – but I’m usually after the most fluid, drapeable hand I can get. Horses for courses, eh?!

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  2. Janet Cumming says:

    I agree with Caitlin. I love to free machine quilt, and enjoy the change in texture that occurs as the quilting progresses. I also expect that my quilts will get washed during use, so washing up front is good.
    I find the pigment ink works fine if you use some spray starch on the fabric before you apply it.
    And heavy quilting often means the fabric gets quite grotty during the quilting process. My quilts are often washed the first time before the quilting is finished. I also sometimes use rinse-away for the quilting template, so even more washing.

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