Most fabric manufacturers recommend that you pre-wash your quilting fabric before
you start your quilting project. This is because laundering can cause the fabric to shrink.
A cold machine wash/ tumble dry low is recommended. It can be a good idea to test the percentage
of shrinkage by washing a 4” x 4” square before starting a project. Once washed,
press the sample fabric and then re measure the end result.
This will give you an indication of how much shrinkage to expect.
Some quilt designers however prefer not to wash their fabric as washing can remove the
stiff quality that is characteristic of most new fabrics. This stiff quality can be
desirable when cutting and piecing a quilt.
Other designers are not concerned with shrinkage as this can sometimes enhance the nature
of the quilt. This could be the case if you are planning to create an “antiqued look” for your quilt.
Shrinkage can also be desirable for some Candlewicked projects.
Therefore the decision to wash or not wash quilting fabric is a personal one.
However if you decide not to wash only choose good quality quilting fabrics to work with.
Fabrics of an inferior quality will have a much higher probability of shrinkage.
This can cause problems with your quilting projects once laundered later on.
If in doubt…wash! Better this than being devastated when your quilting project
takes on a whole different look after its first laundering.