Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Shrinking fabric

Working on the crumb quilt inspired me to go through  my scraps. As a result I made this handful of blocks that will go into samplers for church and one rolling stone block for my Cheddar quilt.
I have 2 more blocks to make and I can put the Cheddar quilt together. First I need to preshrink the cheddar. I am a firm believer in preshrinking.  Not sure why I bother with the antiquey fabrics cause to me, the puckers are part of the old look.

The best way to preshrink is often debated. Some quilters don't shrink at all cause they like the puckered look or the sizing in the fabric when they cut and sew. Some just prewash a regular laundry cycle and hope to get any excess dye out at the same time. Some believe that you simply have to get it wet and it will shrink.  And some think that it needs the heat when it drys. Maybe it's time for an experiment.

I give it a short cycle in the washer and dryer and hope to get it out of the dryer before too many wrinkles set. I DO like to iron but I am not nuts. And WHY do I believe in preshrinking. It's simple, I don't like surprises. It probably goes back to my youth when I made a beautiful red crepe blouse. Mom washed it and it shrunk. Not happy with mom. Maybe if I hung it on the hangar long enough, it would stretch out and relax like the bridesmaid dress of my daughters. It shrunk, but the lining didn't. Shrunk by at least 5". Months later the dress and the lining were the same length again.  I wouldn't expect that to happen with cotton fabric, but still, I just prewashed the back for the raffle quilt. Starting with a big 108" square hunk of fabric it shrunk only 1" in width AND 7" in length! making it a mite too small. I've also seen 44" cotton fabric shrink 4" in width. So today I shrink the cheddar.


Glenda in Florida said...

What a timely post. I have a dilema--my sister bought a panel and fabrics for a large wall hanging, and handed me the bag and the pattern book. Do you think I should pre-wash the whole lot? Normally I would, but the panel does not appear to have any excess fabric from what they want you to trim to--I'm already worried, as the store didn't cut it exactly on the dotted lines. I really dislike printed panels, as they are often not printed square. I can accomodate a bit of shortage by increasing the first border. So, would you prewash in this case or not? Thanks for your help

Heather said...

I have watched fabrics shrink on the ironing board. A piece was cut to size but it got wrinkled, so I spritzed a bit of water on it and then set the hot iron on it. The 9 1/2 inch pieces shrunk almost 1/2 an inch. I pre-shrink everything now.

Gayle Bong said...

Yes, Glenda, I would shrink all of it. Then I would add a border all around that could be trimmed to make the panel square - even if it ends up only being 1" wide in places. then you could carry on with any other piecing or borders.

Gayle Bong said...

Heather, I took a class once where the teacher/shop owner had a student (me) preshrink the just bought fabric by steam shrinking it with the iron. Yes, you could actually WATCH it shrink. Thanks, I'd forgotten about that.