To Pre-Wash, or Not to Pre-Wash?

Pam Buda A Prairie Gathering Quilt - PreWash

Do you generally wash your fabrics before you begin a quilting project?

Every once in a while the question comes up, and now seems to be a good time to address it again, especially with so many rich, vibrant colors found in today’s fabric collections.  Concerns about dye loss  or possible color migration can increase when you’re blending deep reds with light ground coordinates, similar to those found in found in A PRAIRIE GATHERING by Pam Buda.

We chatted with Pam about her preferences and best practices for pre-treating quilt fabrics.  She routinely tells her students & quilting friends:

“I never wash my fabric.  I actually add a lot of sizing to my yardage to make it stiffer before I cut anything out, so washing would remove the sizing already in the fabric from the manufacturing process, and I add more.”  (Pam firmly believe that sizing and adding the extra body/stiffness aids tremendously with everything from cutting, piecing, and pressing, making your piecing more accurate!)  “That said, when my reds are wet with the sizing (and I really saturate the fabric with sizing!) I have not had any issues with the red, or any other color, running.  In all the years I have been quilting with quilt shop quality fabrics, I have never once had an issue with dye running,” she explains.

The decision to pre-wash fabric or not is largely a personal preference that could depend in part on what you’re making with the fabric.  A quilt that will be used and washed often should probably be made with pre-washed fabrics, while a decorative wall hanging can be made with non-washed fabric.

Thankfully, there are so many fabrications and production methods available to quilters today, including batiks and hand-dyed fabrics!  So, like Pam, we always advise taking the time to do a wash test whenever you are in doubt.  Marcus’ standard for overall quality speaks for itself over the years, including colorfastness, as Pam can attest to since she began designing with us. There are products like Retayne and Dye Catcher if you’re concerned about running.  Check out Pam’s impressive wash-test results – no dyes were released in the wash, as shown by the completely clean color catcher sheet after laundering.  As you probably know, deep reds like these are notorious for at least some color loss in laundering.

Pre-wash fabrics for quilts, Marcus Fabrics, Pam Buda

Pam Buda’s A PRAIRIE GATHERING quilt, before washing

with a dye magnet sheet such as Shout Color Catcher

Pam washes the quilt with a dye magnet sheet such as Shout Color Catcher

Pam Buda - pre-wash quilt dye magnet

Pam’s quilt and the dye magnet sheet, completely free of any dyes!

What are your tricks and tips for pre-treating your quilting fabrics?  Do you, or don’t you?  Like Pam, I’m not inclined to pre-wash.  But I might for a baby quilt, to remove any lingering chemicals or finishes on the fabric before it comes into contact with the baby (of course, I don’t sew many baby quilts…).  So again, the circumstances will help to dictate your pre-washing decisions.

Thanks for the photos, Pam!   ——  lisa s

 

 

Congratulations, Mechelle!

MechelleAtWork2Many of our customers have had the pleasure of working with Mechelle Bacon, our administrative assistant — please join us as we take a moment to applaud Mechelle for completing the coursework toward her Bachelor’s degree in International Business! Mechelle has spent the last six years attending Queens College – CUNY full-time, even as her full-time responsibilities here at Marcus have also steadily increased since she joined us in 2007.

She says, “My next step is to learn Chinese, in order to be a good candidate for the global economic industry. I’m also interested in E-commerce and S-commerce, but for now I just want to take a nice break from school.” Sounds like a great plan! Congratulations, college graduate, we’re all so proud of you!

September is National Sewing Month!

Celebrated officially in the US since 1982, National Sewing Month is a perfect opportunity to indulge ourselves in our collective passion for sewing, quilting and all things FABRIC! Visit your local quilt shops and fabric stores, visit or join your local guild, or just gather a few friends to share some creative time…the National Sewing Month website has project ideas and more for you!

Booth 2335 – So Far, So Good…

Booth setup is moving along well…catch this sneak peek of current collections, made up in gorgeous children’s dresses.  These include #LRRH, Precious Beginnings and American Bouquet among others.  Behind them are previews of our new The Seasons on Pomegranate Lane BOM, a mix of prints and felted woven wools by The Quilted Crow Girls (photo 1, left), and Sidewalk Cafe (photo 1, right and last photo).  Photo 2 finds Indra, our Customer Service Manager, peeking out from behind a shipping crate, and photo 3 shows off a quilts featuring Molly B’s Basics. You’ll find them all in our Fabric Gallery.

photo 1-1  photo 1 photo 3-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo 3-4

The Power of PAISLEY

Paisley’s timeless appeal is unmatched in the world of textiles, with a multicultural history that encompasses Iran, India, Uzbekistan, Scotland and beyond.  The familiar teardrop design is popular all year long, making it a transitional favorite for home decor, fashion, and of course, quilting and crafts!  A quick survey of our current online collections turns up a wealth of gorgeous paisley design, from reproduction to modern…enjoy!

PaisleysCOMP2014-small

Lar’s Civil War Tribute Quilt

We received this note through Judie Rothermel, from quilter Lars Rune in Norway.  He recreated his own very unique version of Marcus Fabrics’ Civil War TRIBUTE quilt.  He wrote to Judie and submitted this photo, explaining:

“I think a quilter has the right to personalise the pattern to make it his own, so I took the Tribute BOM quilt and adapted it to tell a story from my own life. With truly great fabrics from many of your Civil War era prints collected, and information from your Civil War Quilts book, I had enough inspiration to tackle my first quilt project. Judie-AltTributeQuiltIt’s machine pieced and hand quilted — I really love hand quilting. I used YLI hand quilting threads and auditioned the thread to match the prints as best as possible. 
I quilted all pieces either 1/4 inch or 3/16 inch from the ditch. I didn’t want the quilt design itself to take away from the prints or blocks. Your ruler was a great help in both cutting the pieces and marking the quilt lines.  All 43 Chronicle prints and 48 Tribute prints are used in this; altogether, approximately 225 of your prints are included.”
We at Marcus congratulate Lars on his beautiful rendition of the Civil War TRUBITE quilt!