Pre-Washing… Cutting and Marking…

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Pre-Washing… Cutting and Marking…

To Michelle,

All right, now that I’ve walked you through how I prepped the fabrics both the pre-washed fabrics and the fabrics that were not pre-washed, I want to talk about the cutting process. Because I usually don’t pre-wash fabrics I cut the pre-washed fabrics first so I could really compare the two experiences. Once I made sure I had a new blade in my rotary cutter I started cutting.IMG_5914

First I found that once I squared up my fabric on the cutting mat and made a cut, it was easier to re-position the fabric on the cutting mat. particularly with the solid white fabric where I had yardage that was two layers. When I removed the fabric from the cutting mat after a cut, and then returned the fabric to the mat, the double layers did not shift and they kept the straight edge from the last cut. I find this to be a huge benefit of pre-washing as you don’t have to square up your fabric again. For the prints, I cut them 4 layers at a time and had no issues.

After experiencing cutting the pre-washed fabric I cut the fabric that was not pre-washed and I was a little disappointed when I realized the difference. As I was cutting, I was getting nicks in the fabric on the longer cuts and would have to go back and run the rotary blade over the cut again. I realized that this happens to me often with fabric that is not pre-washed and I never thought anything of it until this experiment. Also, when I removed fabric from the cutting mat after a cut, and then returned the fabric to the mat, I had to square up the cut edge again as the fabric shifted when it was a double layer. When I cut the prints  4 layers at a time I also experienced nicks in the fabric and had to go over the cut again.

From an efficiency perspective that is a win for pre-washed fabric as it’s a time saver and a fabric saver. Also, I think the shifting fabric can lead to a slightly inaccurate cut.


Because my pattern calls for half square triangles I drew lines on the squares as needed, to get ready for sewing. On the left is the pre-washed fabric. It’s a little hard to tell but the pre-washed fabric actually has a darker pencil line after drawing the line with one pass. I suspect the pre-washed fabric is easier to mark because the sizing is gone and it’s easier to draw on the fabric.

I’m interested to hear about your experiences when cutting fabric whether it is pre-washed or not. Do you find better results with one over the other?



5 thoughts on “Pre-Washing… Cutting and Marking…

  1. Cathy

    Following this closely….;) Can’t wait to discuss in person!!

  2. allisonreidnem

    I’d never stopped to consider that pre-washing could affect the cutting stage of making a patchwork. I generally pre-wash but lately have been using pre-cut fabrics so haven’t been washing that or the yardage I’ve used with them. i will pay more attention now and make the comparison. It seems like the sizing in the unwashed fabric does have a significant negative effect on cutting – I wonder if it affects the longevity of the rotary cutter blades as well?

  3. cheryljbrickey

    I use both pre washed and none and agree with your findings. I think that the prewashed gets just a little fuzzier (not enough to see) and that helps the fabric stick to other fabric and lessen the amount of movement on the cutting mat. I still really like the crispness of non-prewashed fabric though.

  4. Kathleen McCormick

    I never thought about it, but you are right about the slippage of unwashed fabrics. I also think you are right about the markings. Amazing!

  5. The Pre-Washing Saga Continues… | quilt'n party

    […] series is piecing the quilt tops. I have previously discussed the washing process and the cutting process. Now I want to touch on piecing the quilt tops with fabric that has been pre-washed and fabric that […]

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