PSA wash your fabric before you use it

I finished this scrappy top a few weeks ago Scrappy quilt top finished and I had in mind a dark back that would also make a nice border to frame it.
When I was rummaging through my stash I found a lovely navy mottled cotton, with a raised pattern. I don’t know how long it’s been in my stash but it’s at least ten years or so.

Knowing that in the past I’ve not always been meticulous about washing fabric before I add it to stash, I thought I’d better wash it in case there was shrinkage.

I hadn’t realised there was a (formerly) white tee in the washing machine (on the right below) I washed it a second time and threw in a peach coloured microfibre towel. That’s on the left below. The picture doesn’t even show how much dye has run. :scream:

Imagine if I hadn’t prewashed it. I can’t trust it now, so I’ll use something else. But the moral of the story is prewash!

Edit: so I followed some online recommendations to fix the colour. Soaked it overnight in water with a cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup salt. I washed it again (wash number three!)

It’s still throwing out colour, this is it hanging beside a formerly white tea-towel. I added it in to check.

This fabric is getting relegated to the naughty pile

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Wow. That’s a lot of dye run. Your scrappy quilt would’ve had a whole new look to it.

Good reminder to us all.

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Good reminder! I always toss a couple color catchers in when I wet finish my weaving, now I’ll make sure to toss a couple in with quilting projects as well.

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thank goodness your instincts told you to wash it! Older fabrics are not set the same way as modern ones, especially reds and blues!

I always use colorcatchers when I wash my quilts. I learned how to make them so that is the habit I got into from washing a red quilt with white (now pink) sashing!

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Colorcatcher?

We currently have the twin-sized one of a pair of hand-made quilts my mother bought that are in deep reds & blues w/ a white back & bleed like crazy.

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You can buy them but they can be pricey…Shout Color catchers

or you can make your own…DIY Color Catchers

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Good thinking to pre-wash your fabric! It’s something I almost never do… but I should learn from your lesson!

@AIMR, did you make your own colorcatchers? If so, I think you need to teach us how!

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I never prewash my fabric for quilts because I like working with them crisp. I’ve never had cotton run either. Are you sure it was 100% cotton?

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Unless it’s specialty material like silk or velvet, I always wash & dry fabric on high/hot so the worst thing that could possibly happen already has. But how many times have new jeans turned everything blue? Ugh. I’ll look into colour catchers, not sure I’ve seen such a thing here in Canada.

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@AIMR thank you so much for that link to colour catchers. That’s a brilliant solution.

@Homerof2 pretty sure it was. I know what you mean about working with crisp cotton, it’s definitely easier for quilting. But it’s a risky thing. It can shrink up to 20% once it hits warm water and the problem is different levels of shrinking in different fabrics. On the same quilt top. This can really skew things. Prewashing, drying, and ironing with spray starch will give you back a crisp fabric. Takes time and effort, it is a pain tbh. These days I never put new fabric straight on a shelf, I always toss it into the washing machine first-i know if I don’t do it straight away, I won’t do it at all. And I want my quilts to be at least hand-washable.

@Magpie I try and do the same, the very first item of clothing I made for myself (that wasn’t a school project) I was 14, it was a white dress with a sailor collar that I trimmed with red ribbon. When it came out of the first wash it was ruined, the red had unevenly bled across the collar- I was heartbroken.

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Excellent advice! I do this, too. I’ve had too many projects ruined by uneven shrinking.

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You have them there. Dr. Beckmann Color and Dirt Collector. I believe some of my friends in Canada have found them at grocery stores, but if not Jane Stafford Textiles sells them online.

https://janestaffordtextiles.com/product/color-dirt-collector/

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Cool, thanks. I’ve never seen them in any shop here. I’ll start looking & will buy some next time we’re in America. I’ve seen the colour laden sheets used in crafts afterwards as well.
Before I do that though, does anyone know if they are fragranced? I’m so allergic to those sorts of chemicals.

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that is why I started making my own…too many fragrances in stuff…I use Arm & Hammer since most of their stuff has no fragrance…but I think there is a brand for babies that is much gentler…my mom used it to wash…borateam or something like that…I just remember it had an advert with mules?

I bet if you never saw them in Canada, there is something in it that is banned…ha ha…it is amazing how much stuff we have here that is banned in other countries, especially cosmetics and food! No wonder we have a health crisis…

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Doesn’t the fabric shrink a little once it is washed though? Couldn’t it affect the look of the final piece?

Do you mean Borax? Also there is Dreft that people with babies use for the clothes that is supposed to be gentle.

I actually like it when the fabrics used for quilts shrink a bit, it gives them that crinkled look of old quilts. I need to wash the one on my bed and I’m hoping it crinkled up a bit :crossed_fingers:

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I quilt because I love that look as well…what I don’t want is the running of colors! ugh…I wash all of the quilts I give just to let the recipients know these are meant to be used and washed!

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I’ve never had a problem. I think with all the quilting, it wouldn’t pull things out of place.

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I still like the naughty fabric!!

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