Red fabric that fades.....

krissie55June 19, 2012

I make quilts for charity and someone gave me about 4 yards of pretty solid red fabric. I washed the fabric twice using detergent plus Oxy-Clean and added vinegar to the rinse water, however it faded so bad the water was very red both times.

Next I soaked the fabric in a bucket of strong cold salt water for 24 hrs. Washed with detergent plus Oxy-Clean and vinegar in the rinse. Believe it or not,the fabric still looks bright red.

Next I covered ironing board with brown paper and ironed the fabric using steam. Red did not transfer onto the brown paper. Also used a wet white paper towel and rubbed on the fabric, no sign of red on the paper towel.

Now, my question! Do you think it is safe to use the fabric in quilt tops and it not fade?

I really do not believe charity quilts other than those for babies find their way into a washing machine very often, but if one did I would hate for the red to ruin the quilt or other items in same wash load.


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I don't believe it would be a problem but if you are concerned you might wash it with a dye catcher to see if there is any transfer.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 8:43PM
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After all that, I'd use it without question. You've done far more than I usually do.

But Nanajayne is correct - get Shout Color-catchers (in the laundry aisle) and wash it again, if you feel uncertain.

I use reds (and blues) of all sorts in my quilts. I do not prewash. I wash the finished quilt with color-catchers. They may come out a bit pink or purple, but I haven't had a quilt bleed beyond that point.

Many of my red/blue quilts are Quilts of Valor, and I often get blocks from the lovely people on this forum. I do not know if fabrics are pre-washed or not. I always wash the finished quilt (a requirement of the foundation), and have never had an issue with bleeding after the first wash. Yes, my color catchers come out a light purple. I was so alarmed the first time, I washed the quilt again. No bleeding.

I wash the quilts in hot water, cold rinse, and dry it in the dryer on medium.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 11:12PM
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I question your use of the Oxy-Clean. Maybe the Oxy is causing bleeding. I don't use the product, so don't know exactly what it does, except from the ads.
Someone here (I don't recall who-sorry) said to include a small piece of bleached muslin -if the dyes are going to run or bleed in your quilt, they will turn the muslin. I have a small scrap I use when I hand prewash - I keep using it over and over.

I always use Color Catchers in the wash to catch the dyes floating in the water.

I would also use the red fabric.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 8:20AM
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Be aware that there is also a product that sets the color well for fabrics that might run, like hand dyes. It is called Retayne and is sold at Dharma Trading where I buy my dyes. You rinse it in that and it won't run later on.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:09AM
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I am the same problem!!! I was given about for yards of a pretty red fabric. (I quilt for charities too)

I have washed this fabric at least 4 times - soaked it in Retanye - still bright red when washed.

Waited and washed again AND IT STILL BLEEDS BRIGHT RED LOL!!! You would think this fabric would be pink by now lol!!!!

I am going to soak it one more time over night in hot Retayne water (per the instructions) and if the color catcher shows any color I will use it as a backing for a denim raggedy.

I'll let you know if the second time is a charm lol!!!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:17PM
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Thanks everyone for your help. Greatly appreciated!!

Before washing the red fabric I used a wet white cloth to see if the fabric would bleed, test was positive. Knew I was in for a lot of work trying to get the bleeding to stop, not sure I expected it to be this much work!

I really do not know what Oxy-Clean actually does regarding dye, however I was in hopes it would help release loose dye.

I too use white scrap fabric in laundry as a test for bleeding. This time the water was so bright red there was no question about bleeding.

Thanks for info regarding Color Catchers, have not used them, will give them a try and the Retayne too.

Rosa, let me know how your red fabric turns out. Good luck.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:47PM
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The amount of money and energy - yours, electricity, water, hot water, dryer, ironing, detergent, vinegar, on and on....
we just can't stand not to use that free fabric~LOL~ and the level of frustration!!!! Maybe that is why it is free :)

Krissie--I'm not criticizing you at all!!! Just pointing out a trait about sewers/quilters, I think we are all guilty of this :~)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 5:09PM
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Aahhh!!! You hit the nail squarely on the head!!LOL!! I am guilty as stated!

More than once I looked at the trash can but could not bring myself to toss the bleeding red fabric!

After all was said and done I thought about how much water, electricity, time, frustration was spent on a few dollars worth of fabric. Oh well, sewers never learn....we just keep on trying to salvage all we can from fabric.

A few weeks ago I did toss used drapery fabric donated to our quilt group. One soaking, washing, and the light damage showed up big time. I folded the fabric and placed it on top of the recycle container on pickup day so workers could use the fabric if desired for who knows what. Might make good hand wiping rags!!

Even that was hard to do, however I could not use the drapery fabric in quilts. See, I could not even toss that in the trash can, had to to make it available for someone else to use!!!!

In no way was I desperate for fabric. My dear friend Polly passed away and I inherited at least 3,000 yards of her fabric. Polly was a perfectionist sewer/quilter.... everything she made had that special "Polly Touch". I did not realize she was a fabric hoarder, big time. The fabric I received was only a third of what her house contained.

Is there a cure for us?


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:25PM
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