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Washing fabric before using

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  • Washing fabric before using

    Hello everyone

    Hope you're all well and busy busy...

    I was making a bag last night, using a new fabric I acquired the day before, a beautiful royal blue and white curtain fabric. As I was nearing the end of my creation I noticed that some of the royal blue colour had 'bled' into the white background.

    I have made a good few bags from this kind of material recently and have never had this problem.

    I was wondering if this is something anyone else has had problems with? and if you all wash your fabrics before you use them?



  • #2
    I make a lot of bags but haven't had this problem. To be fair though, I tend to use light quilting cottons, so perhaps they are more colourfast.

    This has got me thinking though - I never prewash fabric unless it is for clothing (in case it shrinks!).
    Lemur Lady's Awesome Emporium - handmade cushions, bags and accessories stitched from the funkiest fabrics around!


    • #3
      Most of the fabrics I buy say wash at 30 or 40 degrees so this has never happened.

      The fabric store have said that none of their curtain materials are colourfast but have suggested I wash it from the manufacturers guidelines, at 30 degrees. I fear this will make the colour run more tho!!


      • #4

        I make costumes and for anything that will touch the skin I always wash and tumble dry the fabrics before use - it's a pain but stops differential shrinkage and makes wardrobe care on tour much easier. If I make anything with multiple colours I add a few Colour Catcher sheets to the first wash. I hope that's a help with your bags.


        • #5
          It depends on what I am using. I usually wash cottons and wadding if I am quilting for the same reason as Lizcostume.
          God helps them that help themselves.


          • #6
            I never washed my fabrics before using and never had any problems - I'm a bag maker - and then recently I was out with my own bag that I'd made in a torrential downpour and suffered a slight colour run due to some strongly coloured cord. It only ran onto the very lightest fabric. So I've made a mental note to prewash strong coloured fabrics if being put next to light fabrics in future. I did get the colour run out easily with some colour run treatment stuff I got in the supermarket.

            Belovedly facebook group


            • #7
              I don;t tend to wash fabrics before hand, but then I tend to buy cotton/polycotton types, that have normally been prewashed at source and are not strong coloured!

              But ditto Ali above, cordurory are notiourious for running colour. Wash them first or fix with a dylon fixing agent.
              my folksy
              Kryshees Blog


              • #8
                I never wash my fabrics before use but i only make cushions and bunting etc... Do you think i should wash it? I just can't wait to use the fabrics after i receive them...


                • #9
                  Washing fabric before using it is only in case it shrinks. As you make bunting and cushions I would not have thought it necessary. I make quilts which have 3 layers of different types of fabric all sewn together, or quilted as its called. If one layer shrinks when washed after it is made it could end up all wrinkled. Hence the pre shrinking exercise prior to making.
                  God helps them that help themselves.


                  • #10
                    But be warned. Pre washing can wash out the finish of the cloth. I've not had that problem with cottons but wools and linens! OMG. what a headache they are somethines. For linens I bring out the squirty starch but sometimes it's not strong enough.

                    I do a cop out with Elizabethan doublets and bodices and tell my customers to dry clean them.


                    • #11
                      I'm really quite lazy and don't tend to wash my fabrics despite knowing that they will shrink if they are washed further down the line. It hasn't really caused me any problems yet, but I've made 2 dresses for friends/ family and had to tell them to cool handwash the dresses only. Obviously if I was making them to sell I'd do the pre wash thing.
                      Princess Prudence
                      Keep Calm and Carry on!
                      I just love to sew and make things!

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                      • #12
                        I'm relieved to see that most people seem to adopt the 'don't wash' approach! I have to confess I don't either and have been thinking for a wile that maybe I should. I use dark coloured faux suede a lot and worry a but that it might need washing. Maybe I'll test a bit and see what happens...


                        • #13
                          If you put a tbsp on regular salt in the washer before the load starts its supposed to help with colours bleeding like that. It works well for new blue jeans, im sure it'd help for that fabric as well.


                          • #14
                            I always prewash and then dry in tumble dryer. Then again, I normally make clothes so it's more important for clothes in case they shrink. Apparently, if you put 1tbsp white vinegar in the softener drawer, it helps stop colours bleeding, I've never tried it though so I can't say whether it works. I use a reusable colour catcher that I bought from wilkinsons for a few quid and it works really well
                   - my craft blog