Comments for Bleeding fabric in a twin size Dutchman's Puzzle

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 15, 2020
How to wash precut fabric
by: Steph

I am starting a quilt project. I have opted to purchase charm packs because they don't stock all of the colors I want in yardage. So how do I prewash the small pieces of fabric before starting this project? The fabric is flannel.

From the Editor: Hi Steph!

This is a constant dilemma for all us prewashers. There isn't a manufacturer out there that recommends prewashing precuts. Ugh! If fabric never bled, this wouldn't be a problem. But it does, and usually when you least expect it.

There are a couple of options available to you:

Don't prewash, but when you do wash, use a handful of color catchers in with it. Given that you don't know if there are bleeders, this is no time to economize on color catchers.

The thing to remember is color catchers DO NOT prevent bleeding, they just 'catch' the excess dye that comes out in the wash. I would recommend always using them when you wash the quilt for safety's sake.

If this is a gift, I'd include a box of color catchers and put washing instructions on a label on the back.

Do a bleed test. Get a square of each fabric wet, sandwich between two white fabrics and iron until dry. Inspect for any color transfer. For those that do transfer color, repeat the process. If there's still transfer, I'd reject those fabrics from the project.

Now the thing is, flannel is going to shrink more than regular quilting cotton—enough so that I'd not want to use preshrunk/tested and unshrunk/untested fabrics in the same quilt. (I'm picky that way.)

You could do this same process to every single square you're using, or I believe, simply press the crap out of each one using steam. If you don't use water in your iron, give them a good misting from a spray bottle (my new favorite spray bottle is the Flairosol and iron dry.

That should get most of the shrink out of all of the patches. I admit, it's a whole lot of work. :(

Throw like colors into a laundry bag and hope for the best...while I suggest this, it's not what I'd do...simply too much room for a bleeder to contaminate the others. If you do choose this method consider putting some squares in the bag at the bottom. Then at your sewing machine, stitch in a line of basting (it'll be easier to remove after washing) to hold the first row of patches in place. Add another row of patches. Another row of basting, until the bag is full. Wash in cold water in a delicate wash cycle.

While this should control the fraying of the edges, any fabric that is touching another and bleeds may wreck the other patch.

BTW, if you were using jelly rolls or any of the precut strips, I WOULD NOT even suggest this. The washing machine will only create a useless tangled mess.

I hope this has given you some ideas about how to handle this problem. I wish the fabric manufacturers would address this issue.

Good luck to you.



Oct 23, 2017
Bleeding fabric
by: Laurie P.

Try Synthrapol to pull out the excess dye after it has bled. Your local quilt shop should be able to get it for you.

Mar 24, 2017
Bleeding Fabric
by: Elaine DeFoor

The first quilt I used red in the quilt shop owner told me I needed to wash it in hot water several times. I even boiled water and soaked it in that.

The wedding quilt for my grandson is on this site. It is called Dain's Wedding quilt.

But they use it on their sofa and cuddle in it with their two dogs. It has been wash multiple teams with no bleeding.

Click here to add your own comments

Click here to return to Bleeding Fabric - Tales of Woe.

Return to Bleeding fabric in a twin size Dutchman's Puzzle.

This article was printed from

Print Article

Follow Us