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How to Perform a Quilting Fabric Bleed Test

October 13th, 2012

Some quilting cottons tend to bleed, or lose their dyes, when washed. This is especially true when it comes to fabrics with vivid colors. When this happens, the dyes can stain other fabrics in the washing machine (trust me, I know from experience) or patches in a completed quilt. The good news is that you can perform the following simple bleed test to make sure your quilting fabrics don’t bleed when washed:

1. Deluge a small piece of fabric in sudsy water (using the same soap and water temperature you typically use to wash quilts).

2. Allow the fabric to sit in the water for around a half an hour, and then examine it to see if the water is discolored. If the water is in fact discolored, this will tell you that the fabric loses its dye and could potentially stain other fabrics in the washing machine.

3. If the water is clear, remove the patch and place it on a white paper towel (without rinsing). Wait to see if the dye has transferred onto the paper towel. If it did, it will probably stain other fabrics in the wash.

4. Rinse out the soap and dry your test fabric one more time. If the bleeding persists, don’t use the fabric in your quilts.

Also, remember to distribute the laundry evenly if you’re washing quilts and other heavy fabrics. An off-balance washing machine can cause banging noises and spin out of control. This happened to me, and I ended up calling a serviceman from to fix it, when in reality, all I had to do was evenly spread out the laundry.

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