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To Prewash Background Fabric or Not?

by Donna

Hi & Happy New Year!

I'm working on a toddler shirt project for my sister. I would not normally do this, as it's not my fav project. I've made 1 t-shirt quilt in my long quilting life & that's plenty enough for me.

I have a dozen button-down woven toddler shirts all prepped for appliquéing down into big blocks. Should I pre-wash the background fabric that I'm attaching the shirts to in order to quilt them? My initial thought is this: I know the shirts are all pre-worn & pre-washed, so I'm guessing the background fabric should also be pre-washed as well. This will hopefully prevent any pulling-away of the shirts from the background & also provide equal (minimal) shrinkage through out the quilt top???

Normally I don't pre-wash the backing fabric & allow that to shrink together with the batting. I've always loved the soft bubbly look of the finished washed quilt.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations.

Donna Simoneaux

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Jan 10, 2022
Prewash Background Fabric
by: Rebecca

Hi Donna,

I always prewash all of my fabrics. I do this for multiple reasons. First, is because I don't want any colors to run and bleed into my other fabrics. Second, is the different rates various fabrics shrink. Pre-washing helps prevent this. Third, is that you can tell if the fabric will truly hold up over time. Some fabrics become quite thin after washing and it is best to know before putting in all the hard work piecing them together.

Long story short, I believe the way that you are thinking would encourage to prewash the background fabric. It would make the project more stable.

Happy quilting,

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