Fat quarters for quilting: should you pre-wash?

I guess not, based on this experience.  At least not in a washing machine/dryer.

I know for garment sewing, you really, really do need to pre-wash fabric (or calculate shrinkage).  And yes, I’ve heard of hemming fabric before you wash it (and even done it, for a few precious fabrics). But fat quarters? They’re so small, I thought hemming before washing was a bit other the top.

So what do you do in quilting? Not worry?  Maybe I should have cut with pinking sheers?

By the way, no sympathy needed: I don’t mind detangling and they’re all separate and neatly folded now.

6 thoughts on “Fat quarters for quilting: should you pre-wash?

  1. I’m really divided on this. My mother and other longstanding sewing friends vow never to wash. No need. Others say only those really concerned with the outcome of their projects will wash. I’ve been doing it for all garments. I’d hate a dress to shrink after I’ve made it.

    I haven’t done it for bags. I figure they’re never going in the washing machine anyway.

    I have tried overcasting with zig zag stitch before washing to save the edges but found it still crinkled up a lot.

    But I think pinking shears could be a good investment.

    Basically I’m taking a better safe than sorry approach with washing. It’s not much of a drama. I’m washing all fabric as it comes into the house, drying on the line and putting it away for later.

  2. I agree with the better safe than sorry approach. And if these fabrics become cushions (as I plan) they definitely will need to be washed again – spills!

  3. Oh I’m a fanatical pre-washer so I always run things through the overlocker first. I’ve had too many things ruined from fabric shrinkage (especially when it only shrinks in one direction) so I tend to wash and dry several times before I use the fabric. Plus the fat quarters I buy are usually quite special (Heather Ross, off etsy for instance) so I’d rather take the time to prepare well and get a final product that doesn’t go wonky after the first wash.
    On a sidenote I recently bought some stretch fabric that shrank by 30% during pre-washing. Outrageous! If I hadn’t bought it online I would have taken it back to the shop to complain.

  4. Mmm, overlocker, I’ve been dreaming about one of those 😉 I think I’ll try the pinking sheers next (on unimportant fabric), and look forward to when I can leave my sewing machine set up all the time.

  5. I only learnt recently that this was a good thing to do! but I think it requires me to be a lot more organised! often I get a spark of inspiration and you just go get the fabric and start…and forget about washing the fabric…sometimes it isn’t necessary! hope it goes well! AND happy blogtoberfest!

  6. I am somewhat lazy when it comes to new fabric – I swish it around in a tub of slightly sudsy water for a bit (with my hands) and then rinse it the same way and hang it on the line. It all takes about 3 mins. I have read about people either over locking their fabric or pinking it, but that just takes more time than I am willing to put into it.

    Happy stitching 🙂

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