Sometimes you run across something quite by serendipity, and it turns out to be brilliant. I was browsing around youtube last week as I was curled up in my chair with a quilt waiting for the anesthetic to wear off from the dental work I had to have. I hate that miserable feeling and it usually takes several hours to recover, but my teeth are important and I want to keep them as long as I can. So, I was trying to distract myself with quilting videos. I ran across a Kaye Wood video with a brilliant tip for washing fabric. I tried this later in the week, and was amazed at the results. I am a dedicated fabric washer, I like that it removes any sizing and preshrinks the fabrics. But, it usually makes a mess both in strings and knotting from raveling (no, cutting the corners never works for me) and twisting up the fabric, plus it creates creasing in wrinkles that are difficult to iron out.
The idea came from Mary Jane Holcomb in Denison, Texas. Begin by opening up the fabric and refolding it. You need the selvedge edges on the ends. This is really important to be sure that the next steps don’t damage the fabric. So, open it up and refold it in an accordion or fan-fold. I went the extra step of putting the cut ends into a fold, like the picture above.
Now, using clean safety pins, pin the edges in several places going through all the layers, every few inches. I used the quilting style pins with the bend in them. One of the comments on the video complained of rust, but I think that person must have used pins with existing rust inside. As long as your pins are clean or new, without rust, this shouldn’t be an issue.
I used just three on each end, next time I think I’ll do five. Both ends are pinned through all layers through the selvedge edges. It is important that the pins are in the selvedge ends, if you don’t refold the fabric, the pins could make holes in the fabric.
I washed the piece with a couple of towels to make sure it could stand up to the abuse. It came out of the washer like this.
Then it went into the dryer, still with the pins in place. It came out like this. No hard wrinkles, no twisting!!
Removing the pins, and laying out the fabric, it doesn’t need any pressing at all. Amazing! Mary Jane says she washes up to 12 yard pieces with no wrinkles, twisting, or raveling!! Of course, you’d need larger safety pins for a thicker folded piece.
Do you pre-wash your fabric yardage?