Fabric Care – How to best prepare fabric BEFORE quilting

It is always a good idea to pre-wash all new fabrics(metre cuts and/or large pre-cuts) before using in a quilt to ensure there will be no uneven shrinkage and no transfer of colour when a quilt is laundered. It can also help ensure no bad reactions when using marking pencils. You’d be surprised how much chemical residue can be left on fabric from the production process and this can interfere with the way  marking pens work.

Here are a few tips from Claudia at Quilt Essentials in Queensland ( – a new Sewline stockist.

Wash light colours in lukewarm water with mild detergent in washing machine or by hand.

Soak dark colours individually in cold water for at least half an hour to set dyes and then wash as above.

Fabrics may be tumble dried until almost dry and then press with iron on cotton setting. To avoid wrinkling, do not add more than 6 metres of fabric to the tumble dryer. Small pre-cut fabrics from kits should not be machine washed or dried. Gently hand wash, or soak to avoid over handling. If colour bleeds, continue rinsing until water runs clear. Place fabric pieces on towelling or white paper towels to dry.

For best results, please follow the above instructions before using fabrics. Quilts made with both light and dark coloured fabrics should only be washed in cold water. Many quilters suggest the product ‘Colour Catcher’ when washing quilts with fabrics that may bleed. Colour Catcher is available in the laundry section of your local supermarket. Follow the manufacturers instructions.

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Fabric image – from Riley Blake at