To Test or Not To Test?
There's really no question....
Who's making Peaceful Pathways?? There are many of you out there who pre-wash as a matter of course for all your quilts. For those of you who usually don't pre-wash (such as myself), I strongly suggest that you should pre-test all fabrics to check for colour fastness when working with reds. I am one of those quilters who does not pre-wash as a general rule - however, when working with reds, I always pre -test and go on to pre-wash if required.
I love classic red and white...but this is a combination that requires extra care. Any colour bleeding is difficult to deal with (but can be avoided), so you want to make sure all your reds are colour fast before you launch into cutting and sewing.
This is how I test my reds before I start sewing
Select the reds you are planing to use and stitch them alongside some crisp white fabric.
use washing detergent and boiling water, and add each fabric option to this solution - individually.
If you add all your red tests in together at once, and you do experience running, you wont know which fabric is responsible, so repeat the process for each selected fabric.
Agitate the fabric in the soapy solution and leave it alone - about 30 minutes.
Clear water is the best sign.
If the fabric does bleed, wash again until you achieve clear water. Then assess the fabric - is it still a nice shade of red? still a clear print? If it still bleeds after the second test, leave this fabric out of your quilts. Some fabrics continue bleeding and it's easier to discard them now than suffer the annoyance of bleeding later.
All fabric should rinse clear by the second test.
All fabrics should be colour tested - especially reds.
Fabrics that bleed must be pre-washed prior to use.
Fabrics which do not bleed - prewashing is optional, in my own opinion and practice.
Here are my reds. Once they are squeezed of excess water, I patted them down on a towel in preparation for a vigorous ironing test.
...if my cat will give up enough ironing board space...
Use a hot steam iron and press all the fabric to check for any leakage or running.
This is where the stitched white fabric is so important - press open the seams and inspect. You want to make sure there is no bleed in or around the seams.
This fabric is colour fast. You can see the seams are spotless and there is no colour run into the white. Ah, perfect! If only all reds were this easy...
As you can see, I tested small swatches which I cut from my chosen fabrics. As I know they don't run and are completely colour fast, I will not be pre-washing my reds prior to sewing as it is completely unnecessary for me. I am one of those quilters who doesn't pre-wash as matter of course.
Pre- colour testring means that in the future, I can wash my red quilt (this is especially important for useful quilts such as bed quilts) without that worry in the back of my mind that it might come out of the washing machine pinkish.
Quilts we make today might be around for generations, so any extra time taken in preparation is definitely worth the effort.
Always colour test your reds