Update: Prewash or Not?


What's Your Style

My series What’s Your Style explores topics related to sewing and quilting. This is my fourteenth edition. On December 17, 2017, I published a post called Wash or Not?  In the article I shared that I didn’t pre-wash my fabrics for these reasons:

  1. I disliked the fact that the fabrics got all wrinkled and
  2. I wasn’t fond of the threads that unraveled and twisted the fabrics together.

After reading the responses to my question I went on a mission to learn even more. Through that research I found a wealth of opinions and techniques. One lady was frustrated with her struggles to achieve a properly sized finished block. To explore the possible reasons she did a detailed experiment. During the discovery process she learned that the heat from her iron was shrinking her fabrics. I had personal experience with the same situation during my 100 Modern Quilt Block challenge.

Pre-Wash or Not?
Oh the Tangles!

After reading the articles I decided to change my philosophy. I now pre-wash all of my fabrics and have resigned myself to dealing with the labor intensive process. Hopefully this will head off future potential issues with fabric bleeding, block shrinkage, etc.

Now I sort all of my fabrics by color. Anything other than hand-dyed and batiks are washed in warm water and dried in a hot dryer. If I’m concerned about bleeding I toss in a color catcher. Some of the hand dyed fabrics I wash individually with Dawn in a bucket of super hot tap water. The process is repeated until the water comes out clear. Next I rinse them in clean water to remove any remaining soap residue. The fabrics are then gently squeezed and spread on top of cotton towels to absorb excess moisture. Once the fabrics are damp to the touch I either draped them over a hanger or tossed them into a dryer to finish the drying process.

If I remove the fabric from the dryer right away I can avoid excessive wrinkling. After removing them from the dryer I sometimes iron them, fold and stash them away. Then other times I skip the ironing (depends on the condition of the fabric when it comes out of the dryer and/or my mood).

I must admit that I’m much happier now with my pre-washed fabrics because they are softer to the touch and seem to be much easier to work with. They are also less apt to bleed colors and experience excessive shrinkage.

So there’s my update! Any thoughts?

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Relaxation


What's Your Style

This is the thirteenth entry in my series What’s Your Style? In our everyday lives, we all have our own way of doing things; quilters are no exception to this trait. Even though there are standardized techniques to follow, when creating items with fabric, many of us choose to do our own thing. This series explores those individual habits. Let’s see what today’s question is.

Do you ever get sore muscles when you sew? I’m serious! After spending an extended time at your sewing machine do you ever develop sore muscles in your neck, shoulders and upper back? Well, I do. This is what I do to relax my tired muscles:

  • Roll my shoulders forward and backwards.
  • Raise my shoulders in unison toward my head and one at a time.
  • Head tilts, forward, backward and side-to-side.
  • Cross my right arm up and over my head to the left and then repeat with my other arm.
  • Basically I do stretches that are commonly practiced when I exercise.

Do your muscles get fatigued? What do you do to relax your muscles?

Now it’s your turn to share your opinion by adding a comment.

  • Don’t be bashful!
  • Nobody will judge you!
  • The quilt police will not come knocking on your door. 🙂
  • Let’s have some FUN!

Thank YOU for participating in this fun survey!

P.S. Are there questions you would like to discuss in future editions of this series, if so, share them in a comment.

Cindy Anderson
Cindy Anderson

 

 

Do You Use A Portable Pressing Board?


What's Your Style

This is the twelfth entry in my series What’s Your Style? In our everyday lives, we all have our own way of doing things; quilters are no exception to this trait. Even though there are standardized techniques to follow, when creating items with fabric, many of us choose to do our own thing. This series explores those individual habits. Let’s see what today’s question is.

One of my favorite quilting gadgets is the pressing board I made several years ago. I found the how-to instructions on Cristy’s blog. The board has been my preferred pressing surface ever since.

My board measures 27 1/2” x 30 1/2”. This size fits very nicely into my carrying case for my Sew Steady table. Being able to take it with me means I always have my own portable pressing surface.

Every now and then the cover needs to be replaced. Washing it would be my preferred option but the fabric becomes so stained it’s next to impossible to get clean. Unfortunately, changing the cover is not quite as easy as your regular ironing board. Instead of un-tieing a string or releasing a hook-and-loop fastener you must remove the staples securing the fabric to the back. This step is not incredibly time-consuming but it does require tools.

I tackled this project recently when my board started staining my fabrics. My cover had become scorched and stained from hours of use.

Stained Pressing Board & Fabric
Scorched Pressing Board and Stained Fabric

To change my cover I first had to gather tools. From my tool box I grabbed a screw driver and pliers. I also located a roll of duct tape, a staple gun and staples. I used the screw driver and pliers to remove the old staples. Once they were out and the old cover was removed I noticed the padding (layers of batting) were stained as well.

Stained Batting.jpgRather than adding a brand new cover over the obviously used batting I made the decision to replace the batting too.

Being a longarm quilter I have an abundance of batting scraps. Finding pieces to fit my board was very easy. After cutting batting and a new piece of duck cloth I reinstalled all four on my existing board. Using the staple gun to secure the layers was the best part. My newly covered pressing board was all ready for use. This is how my new cover looks.

Recovered Pressing Board.jpg

How lovely is that!

This is today’s question?

Do you have a portable pressing board?

Now it’s your turn to share your opinion by adding a comment.

  • Don’t be bashful!
  • Nobody will judge you!
  • The quilt police will not come knocking on your door. 🙂
  • Let’s have some FUN!

Thank YOU for participating in this fun survey!

P.S. Are there questions you would like to discuss in future editions of this series, if so, share them in a comment.

Cindy Anderson
Cindy Anderson

 

 

Do You Backstitch?


What's Your Style

This is the eleventh entry in my series called What’s Your Style? In our everyday lives, we all have our own way of doing things; quilters are no exception to this trait. Even though there are standardized techniques to follow, when creating items with fabric, many of us choose to do our own thing. This series explores those individual habits. Let’s see what today’s question is.

When stitching a seam on a sewing machine a quilter has the option to secure the seam both at the beginning and at the end by backstitching. The backstitching helps to keep the seam from opening up.

Today’s question is:

Do you backstitch your seams? Why or Why Not?

This is my response:

Being a longarm quilter I am acutely aware of the need for backstitching. When a quilt is loaded on a longarm quilt machine the top and bottom edges are secured in place using pins, clamps or a basting stitch. These techniques help to keep seams from opening up.

The seams on the left and right edges are not typically secured. In this instance it would be a great idea to make certain the seams have been backstitched. If the seams are not backstitched they have a tendency to pull apart. Another option is add a row of stitching a scant 1/4” in from the edge all the way around the quilt top and backing. This too will prevent seams from pulling apart.

For my own projects this is my methodology:

  1. If I’m stitching an item that I know will not be cut into smaller sections I usually backstitch both at the beginning and at the end of the seam.
  2. If I’m stitching a seam that will be exposed at the outer edge of my finished project I  will do backstitching.

Now it’s your turn to share your opinion by adding a comment.

  • Don’t be bashful!
  • Nobody will judge you!
  • The quilt police will not come knocking on your door. 🙂
  • Let’s have some FUN!

Thank YOU for participating in this fun survey!

P.S. Are there questions you would like to discuss in future editions of this series, if so, share them in a comment.

 

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Open, Left or Right


What's Your Style

This is the tenth entry in my series What’s Your Style? In our everyday lives, we all have our own way of doing things; quilters are no exception to this trait. Even though there are standardized techniques to follow, when creating items with fabric, many of us choose to do our own thing. This series explores those individual habits. Let’s see what today’s question is.

After stitching a seam some quilters set the seam with an iron. Setting the seam is a simple technique. The two pieces of fabric that were stitched together are then placed on a pressing surface, such as an ironing board. A warm iron is gently set on top of the closed seam then lifted. At this point the quilter must make a decision, which direction will she/he press the seam?

Open,

Left, or

Right

This is my response:

The direction I press my seams depends upon the item I am working with.

  1. If I’m working on a block that requires accurate piecing I typically press my seams open. I do this because I think they lay much flatter and as a result my block measurements are more accurate.
  2. If my seams need to be nested I press one to the left and the other to the right.
  3. If I’m creating an abstract art piece I press my seams in all different directions. The only goal is to avoid those bulky intersections that are a quilting nightmare.

Now it’s your turn to share your opinion by adding a comment.

  • Don’t be bashful!
  • Nobody will judge you!
  • The quilt police will not come knocking on your door. 🙂
  • Let’s have some FUN!

Thank YOU for participating in this fun survey!

P.S. Are there questions you would like to discuss in future editions of this series, if so, share them in a comment.

 

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