I hate to shatter your illusions, but on many things I am no expert 😉 and can always learn something. Recently I bought some home dec fabric to make a bag (or a couple of bags, really). I got it and realized I didn’t know how to deal with it.
I always pre-wash. I even pre-wash Jelly Rolls and Layer Cakes. The smell of the chemicals from the fabric when I iron unwashed fabric makes me break out in a rash. I am not ranting or proselytizing; I am not telling you what I do. There are no quilt police on this blog. I encourage you to do whatever you want that allows you to make many, many quilts.
I have made accessories and small items with home dec fabric before, but it wasn’t yardage. Mostly I used scraps from various sources, such as FabMo. I almost never buy home dec yardage so the question of pre-washing has never come up. Most of the home dec fabric I have used doesn’t smell (off gassing) by the time I get it, is in relatively small quantities and is made from specialty fibers so I don’t think of pre-washing.
However, with the bags I want to make, I am going to be pressing a lot and don’t really want to wear a mask while I make the bag, thus the question of pre-washing came up. I contacted Lindsay and Charlie over at Hawthorne Threads and they pointed me to a post on Make It Love It.com. It talks generally about pre-washing, but not specifically about home dec fabric.
I am using home dec fabric for the bag, because I want the added body and strength beyond quilt weight fabric. Will the finishes wash off and leave me with a limp mess? Can I replace the body/finishes with Mary Ellen’s Best Press?
Do you have any ideas, thoughts, wisdom to share? By the time you read this I might have already washed it.