I am often asked if I pre-wash my fabrics before piecing with them….my answer always is…N-O, no.
First of all, I do not have time to pre-wash. Second of all, I LOVE the way a quilt looks AFTER IT IS QUILTED and then WASHED…but note: I always throw a color catcher in the washer with the quilt, as a precaution. Third, using Mary Ellen’s Best Press does the trick of pre-shrinking for me (note: you can literally see the fabric shrink). And fourth, when I spray MEBP on my fabric, I will know right then and there if the fabric is a “bleeder.” When I find a bleeder, I inform my customers, and they can then decide to pre-wash or not for themselves. Me…I allow a color catcher to catch the bleed for me.
I spray Mary Ellen’s very liberally…to the point of soaking my fabric. I then iron with steam for a bit, then turning off the steam and finish ironing it dry. If I am not in a hurry to cut my fabric I will usually spray with MEBP the day before, iron it and then lay it out to dry overnight, saving me the time of ironing it till it is dry.
I like for it to be stiff, for many reasons. First of all when it is stiff (I liken it to paper) my cuts are more accurate. Second, it truly seems to cling to the piece that I am connecting it to. And third…it keeps fraying to a minimum. As a quilter there is nothing more disheartening than to receive a quilt to quilt that has lots of frayed threads that will shadow through the top. It is the piecer’s responsibility to clean up the fray threads, but often it is not a completely free from fray, because there was nothing used to discourage the fabric from fraying in the first place.
I never cut a piece of fabric that has not been treated by Mary Ellen’s. I never use MEBP again in my piecing process, never on precision cut pieces, never on pieced blocks and never on a completed top. ONLY ON FABRICS BEFORE I CUT IT.
As you know if you have been to my shop, I enjoy piecing with Homespuns and Flannels. MEBP makes any fabric medium behave. Remember when you have a fabric such as a woven that has a brushed side, spray MEBP to the backside of the fabric.
We sell Mary Ellen’s in a variety of sizes/scents here at Ma’s, even tiny spray bottles so you can try out different scents.
Sew Ma Says!
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