Christa’s Soapbox – To Prewash or Not?

To pre-wash your fabrics or not – that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler to dive in and start sewing or suffer the agony of a ruined quilt….

To pre-wash or not? That is the question! In a word – yes!

I am a big advocate of pre-washing my fabrics before, during, and after the quilting process. I pre-wash the fabrics before I use them in a quilt; I soak the quilt to block it and remove any marked quilting lines; and I wash my “utility” quilts after they are finished and have been well loved and used. I’ve just had too many accidents to not pre-wash, especially when working with batiks!

Now, I do have to make a disclaimer here – I sell a ton of Moda precuts and it’s not practical to pre-wash them since they are small cuts. However, so far (knock on wood) I have not had any accidents with them. But, I still want to do some more of my own testing, and research what others’ experience has been.

I washed and blocked my Lil Rascals charm quilt after quilting with no problems, and I plan on soaking my Bungle Jungle modern quilt to remove all the blue pen marks. I’ll keep my fingers crossed with that one because there is so much white in it!

Bleached Quilt BackRuined Jewel Box Quilt

Here is one of my ruined quilts – a jewel box made as a teaching sample over 10 years ago.

Much to my horror, the blue batik fabric ran all over the white background when I sprayed it with water to remove quilting lines. I had to bleach the blue spots with a toothbrush to remove the marks, which left a really light discoloration on the back. The saving grace was the light-colored quilt backing. Now I use this quilt as a teaching tool in a different way!

Need to Prewash FabricsHere’s another one of my ruined beauties, my Hugs & Kisses quilt I made which I was so proud of! It was my first machine quilted blue-ribbon quilt!

The reproduction red fabric bled like crazy when I washed the quilt. Interestingly enough, the two orange batik fabrics right next to it didn’t run at all!

So it just goes to show why my quilting mantra is to pre-wash my fabrics whenever possible, especially when using lots of white in a quilt!

It was tough to dig these pictures out for the world to see. Now, onto the next quilt with crossed fingers that I won’t have any more accidents like these in the future!

2 thoughts on “Christa’s Soapbox – To Prewash or Not?

  1. Sylvia Youngblut says:

    Hi Christa! My local quilt shop sells a product called Retayne that one can use to soak a quilt top that has been made with non-prewashed fabrics like precuts. It works great!

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