Sunday, April 8, 2012

My First Quilt - Prewashing and Ironing Fabric

There are two schools of thought regarding preparing fabric when making quilts. Some quilters prefer to prewash and other's use the fabric without prewashing. I'm making this for my granddaughter and assume it will be well loved. I'm also concerned about sizing and chemicals used in manufacturing processes so I'm prewashing!

It was lying upside down on my ironing board and I can't find a way to flip it! I would like to do fussy cutting but I'm not sure for a first quilt if I'm up to it.

These are the other fabrics I chose:

The fabrics lying flat on my ironing board have been ironed but not starched yet. The fabrics folded on top I purchased on another day and haven't been prewashed.

How I Chose to Prewash

I'll be honest with you. I read everything I could find on the internet for preparing fabric for quilting. I read both schools of thought. Some prefer to use the fabric unwashed because it's easier to work with and/or it will be a display quilt. I chose to prewash.

I filled my kitchen sink with the hottest water possible and placed the fabric in it to soak for 30 minutes. I added about a tablespoon of detergent. No bleeding! That pleased me! After rinsing, I squeezed out the water and hung it in the bathroom over towel bars to dry.

A few hours later I checked on it and it was dry! I couldn't believe it! I used a dry iron and let me tell you - it was difficult to get the wrinkles out. Mind you - I haven't ironed 100% cotton in a long time! Each piece of fabric is a yard and a half and it took some muscle! I finally put water in a squirt bottle and it made it easier to get the crisp look I prefer. Half way through I remembered that starching the fabric might make it easier to work with when sewing! Great - that means I'll be ironing it again!

What I've Learned

I would have chosen more contrast in the colors, different sizes in the prints and possibly added some turquoise to the overall color scheme. I still might add a border of turquoise but we'll see.

I ironed the fabric instead of pressing which may have pulled it off grain. I found it difficult to get all the wrinkles out because I let it get too dry. I didn't realize 100% cotton would dry so fast! All I can say is thank goodness for permanent press fabrics because it was a bear to get all the wrinkles out. I'm sure as I get more experience, it will all be easier. Next time I'll catch it before it's completely dry and use spray starch. I've read that to prevent scorching it's better to spray one side and flip it and iron on the other so I'll be trying that.

If you read this post and have tips for me, please leave a comment! I have a few books that I'm using and I've researched on the net but I'm a complete newby at quilting. Fifteen years ago I attempted a wall hanging quilt. I had no prior knowlege and it was a disaster! I didn't know to baste the layers together and when I started quilting through it, the layers shifted. Yes, it was a wadder and I never finished it. Practice makes perfect, right? This time, I've read everything I can about quilting and will be using my references frequently. Hope it turns out right!

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