Washing Fabrics- Do I or Don't I ?


Ok! You have just got home from the Quilt Shop with some beautiful 

fabrics and you are keen to cut them up and create something amazing. 

Well before you rush into your project consider 'pre-washing' them,

and for good reason!


Pre-washing all new fabric before using them in a Quilt ensures that there

will be no uneven shrinkage and no transfer of colours when the beautiful 

Quilt you make is laundered.  Oh yes, how sad it would be to see one 'red'

square 'bleed red' into your lovely 'white' squares. All that time and effort 

and it's destroyed. I really do not want anyone to make this mistake!  At the end of the day to wash or not to wash your fabrics before you used them is really a personal preference amongst quilters. Personally, I wash most fabrics as a rule and I definitely wash my 'dark' fabrics.


How to wash your fabric?

If you have a few fabrics to wash unfold them and seperate them into piles e;g white, yellows, reds,  oranges, light-blues, greens, dark blues and so on.


Light Fabrics

I wash 'light' fabrics in luke warm water with a small amount of phosphate free detergent. I like to use 'wool-wash' as it is a gentle detergent. If you have a large amount of fabric to wash you can wash them in the washing machine on a gentle wash. Or, wash them by hand in a bucket of luke warm water. Agitate the fabric with your hands, then rinse them in cold water. You can 'spin' them in the washing machine to get excess water out.

Dark Fabrics

Not so fun! Sadly some fabrics are more prone to 'bleeding' (the colour runs) then other e.g. reds, blacks, navy, purples, browns. If you have a good quality Quilting Fabric 100% Cotton, they are less likely to 'bleed' however some still do. So regardless - wash it! 


You will need to seperate dark coloured fabric individually, e.g. reds, blacks, dark greens.  Add a little wool-wash in a bucket of cold water, agitate the fabric with your hands and leave for a good 10 minutes. When the time is up go back, tip out your water and fill the bucket again, leave for another 10 minutes.


When you go back the second time before you rinse out the water, grab a sample of the water in a glass and hold it  up to the light. Look through the glass- if the water looks 'clearish' tip the water out of the bucket and spin your fabric in the washing machine to get rid of excess water. If the water is 'unclear' (it still holds quite a bit of the colour), you will need continue the washing and checking the colour of the water. Worst case, the colour still 'bleeds' from the fabric after several soaks just don't use it. I know it sounds harsh but you cannot afford to destroy all your hard work.


                                                                            To Tumble Dry? or Not to Tumble Dry?Tumble fabrics almost dry,                                                                                   then remove them from the dryer and press with an iron. 

                                                                            Pre-Cut Samples- Charm Packs, Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls

                                                                            Should not be machine washed and  tumble dried! If there are 'darker'                                                                                  fabrics in amongst the 'Charm Pack' or 'Layer Cake' and you are                                                                                         worried about the colours 'bleeding', carefully soak them in some cold                                                                                 water and repeat until the water runs clear. Try not to overhandle the                                                                                 small pieces of fabric. Place the patches on a towel or white paper towl                                                                               to dry. Press with an iron.



Now you are ready to create something beautiful!




Sew Handmade

for the love of handmade