PreWash or Not

Today’s prompt for the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge is about whether or not to prewash fabric.

No Prewash –Yes to Test

Let me start by saying that I do NOT prewash my fabric. I only use 100% cottons in my quilts so this post will only discuss that type of fabric.  Some of my fellow bloggers may talk about using other fabrics such as linens or shot cottons, etc. 

I don’t prewash because I prefer the original sizing that is in most fabric — I like the look and feel of it.  I also don’t relish all the ironing that I would have to do if I prewashed my fabric.

However, I DO test the colorfastness of certain fabrics.   I wrote a more detailed post here about my testing process.

Here are the fabrics that I always test:

  • Older fabrics (5 years or more)
  • Red fabrics– especially older ones
  • Hand dyed fabric (always!)
  • African prints (old and new)
  • Indigo Dyed (hand made)

Be Cautious With the Steam and Starch

Since I don’t prewash, my fabrics have not shrunk at all.  Applying any water to fabric might cause some slight shrinkage.  This can be a real problem when you are precision piecing — where your blocks really do have to come out to an exact size.

However, even with improv piecing, I don’t use steam.  If some of the fabrics start to shrink, that may cause unwanted distortion when the quilt is washed.    I use a wool pressing mat and a hot dry iron when I’m piecing and it really helps make my piecing lay very flat.

Remember, steam will create some shrinkage if used too liberally.  Also, remember that all starch products have some water in them so be cautious using them as well. I apply starch or Best Press™ sparingly.

Follow My Fellow Bloggers

I invite you check out the wonderful posts by other bloggers taking this challenge.  I’m sure you’ll find lots of new information and fun conversations.


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