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Washing a quilt made with cotton and flannels fabrics

by Lorraine
(North Carolina)

Lorraine asks...

I have a quilt top that is all cotton and the back is flannel. Am I going to have a problem when it is washed? Neither have been pre-washed.

I am thinking I will wash it before giving it to my son. It is just a quilt to cuddle up with on the couch while watching TV.

GQP replies...

Hi Lorraine!

My experience is that flannel tends to shrink a lot more than regular quilting cotton. I think your idea of washing it first before you give it to your son is a terrific idea. I would use cool water (to minimize shrinkage) and a mild soap like Orvus.

When I was doing research for a page on the site, I double checked the washing instructions on the bolts of fabric at my local quilt store.

I was shocked! Clearly I hadn't been paying attention for a long time as I'd always pre-washed quilt fabric in warm (like I would the finished quilt) and rinse in cold. Dried it a bit in the dryer to remove some of the moisture and left it to air dry flat to make ironing easier.

But the ends of the bolts I saw recommended, for the most part, cold or cool water wash...several recommended low dryer temp (I understand that)...but there were cottons where the bolt was marked NOT TO IRON!???


For quilts???

I was shocked. This was quilt store fabric.

I'm a hand dyer, and I know from experience that a fabric that bleeds in a warm or hot water might not bleed in cold. I see that in my rinse water as I go through the washout process.

My feeling is that for a quilt that will be used and washed, it's smart to wash the quilt as it will be washed by the recipient before it is given to them. Include washing instructions if they are needed. But that way you know exactly how the quilt will look after laundering. There will be no surprises.

I hope this helps.


Julie Baird

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