The washing machine is not always your friend. I buy a lot of vintage quilt tops and quilt blocks on eBay. I have made the mistake a few times of buying one that the seller has washed in the washing machine. Why is that a mistake? You might think that it is because washing antique fabric fades the color. That can happen but the real problem is that machine washing an un-quilted quilt top or block causes the fabric to fray like crazy around the seam allowances. The fraying can be so bad that the seams totally come apart and there is not enough solid fabric left to sew it back together without totally distorting the piece. I have 2 Beautiful quilt tops that are only good for using as patching material because of this. If I need to wash a piece prior to use I do it gently by hand. After the quilting is done I do wash in the machine, but after the quilting is done all the seams are protected from fraying, the seams are backed by the batting and sewn in with the quilting and the entire quilt is much more strong and stable. If you feel you must wash in the machine before quilting put the item in a mesh bag and wash on a delicate cycle.
The reason that I mention this today is that I just got a bunch of vintage blocks in the mail today. They had a Buy it now price and As soon as I saw them on eBay I jumped right in a bought them. I loved the pattern and fabrics….I should have looked more closely at the pictures and asked the seller to see a picture of the back of the blocks. If you look at the back you can see the fraying and know that they have been washed.
Here is one of the pictures from the eBay listing
I should have known they were washed by how badly they need pressing.
Today when they arrived I realized my mistake. The seller did not misrepresent them. It was my mistake but I still love them and I can make it work. They need a really good pressing. here is a before picture of the back. The fraying is not nearly as bad as it could be.
and the front
Here is is after pressing
I had to saturate it with water and press it dry and flat….it takes almost 20 min per block. Fortunately the fraying is not beyond repair because the seam allowances were fairly large.
Here is another before
It will still be a pretty quilt some day but it would have been so much easier and better to do the washing AFTER the quilting.
We had LOTS of rain on Wednesday night and Thursday which had a bit of a flattening effect on the garden But on major damage except to the peony. Here are some pictures (click to enlarge)