When it comes down to it, I launder fabric if for no other reason than I strongly prefer its texture for machine quiltmaking. An online article appeared a few years ago about the methods I use to wash and starch fabric. I wouldn’t take back one word of it. I speak about treating fabric in my Bluprint class, Traditional Blocks Made Simple , and it also was a topic in my book Rotary Cutting Revolution (available as a FREE download when you enroll in my class).
Quick tip: Above is laundered fabric directly from the dryer. The trick? It was looped
There is always someone who considers remarks about my fabric regimes as unnecessary. I’ll take their scorn. It would be easier for me to not write or speak of my experiences but there are beginners who might appreciate them.
Quick tip: Slap starched wet flannel on bathroom tile instead of ironing it. This was previously laundered in a no-fray, tangle-less loop.
I once threw away fat quarters of gorgeous West African fabric. It bled no matter how I treated it. With a heavy heart I [gulp] tossed it. Otherwise it would have been troublesome for someone rescuing it from a scrap table.
Happily I taught two workshops every Wednesday in Manhattan at Riverbank State Park. Some of the women in my classes were at least 20 years older than I. Because of their age, wisdom and sophistication, I wrongly assumed everyone had sewing and patchwork experience.
Ladies of Riverbank NY State Park
Mrs. Jackson was inventive and happened to sew well. She’d put a spin on a weekly project that would leave me speechless with amazement. From time-to-time she’d slightly raise her hand. We’d all quiet down and listen to her question. It would be logical and always give me pause. We passed half of the class time talking about quiltmaking and looking over ‘homework’ instead of sewing.
These women taught me how to teach and the importance of writing detailed instructions. The truth, to put it mildly, is I dislike writing patterns. It’s like pulling teeth for me to photograph and document every step. But I chomp down and leave nothing out because Mrs. Jackson is in my head asking “What if?”
At Riverbank we discovered it’s easier to border a tessellated quilt block-by-block than as the final step
I live in Manhattan, where it’s unnecessary to have a car. If I had one I’d garage it and use it for additional fabric storage. My apartment is loaded with fabric. It’s tidy and organized, though I consider what may become of it someday. But I’m not willing to cull it. So to my sisters, sister-in law and girlfriends, if you are reading this, when the day comes, please send out a Twitter blast for the world to come and get it. I bought it, I used it and I enjoyed it. I didn’t have to oil it, buy gas or insurance for it. And it’s ready to go laundered, starched and stacked. No car required.
Moving my fabric, step-by-step
You might also enjoy:
- Starching Fabric: To Starch or Not To Starch
- Prewashing Fabrics: Pros and Cons
- When + How to Watch Quilting Fabric
- Avoid Fabric Shrinkage: A Quick Guide + Shrink Test
About the author
Anita Grossman Solomon is a full-time quilter, author and Bluprint instructor. Her quilts have been displayed everywhere, from the ceiling of the International Quilt Festival in Houston to an enormous screen high above Times Square in New York City.
In this Bluprint Blog series, she dives into the emotional and often humorous aspects of being a maker. Subscribe to the Bluprint Quilting Blog today to follow along, and enjoy personalized instruction from Anita in her popular Bluprint class Traditional Blocks Made Simple .