While quilting with dyed fabrics isn’t much different than commercial fabrics, there are a few handy tips that can make it more successful!
I love mixing and matching fabrics whether its putting commercial fabrics with hand dyed or combining pieces from several designers. I pick what strikes my fancy and what I think will look good together. Maybe I’m weird (okay, definitely) but I love shopping an entire store until I find a mix of fabrics that are perfect for whatever project I’m working on even if that means looking at every single piece of fabric. (Let’s be real here, I do this every time. Keep me away from fabric shops unless you have several hours to hang out.)
But today’s topic is not about whether or not you need to send out a search and rescue squad to make sure I’m not buried under an avalanche of fabric bolts, it’s about making sure your hand dyed fabrics look amazing in your quilt.
My top tip is prewashing. And I do mean all the fabric going in this quilt.
Hand dyed fabrics are normally washed thoroughly before they reach you (or at least they should be) but it’s better safe than sorry. I fully covered prewashing hand dyed fabrics in this blog post so for here I’ll just reiterate that it’s good to make sure all the excess dye has been fully washed out prior to using it because surprise bleeding is never a good thing.
If using commercial fabrics alongside hand dyed prewash those too. Hand dyed fabrics are already preshrunk from the dyeing process so it’s best to also preshrink the fabrics you are sewing along side them. If you don’t you could end up with some weird bunching the first time you wash your quilt.
Depending how into that whole antique crinkled look you are for your quilt, it’s worth considering prewashing your batting prior to sewing to minimize it’s shrinkage as well. Check your batting for specific instructions on how to do this for your particular type and brand of batting.
Batiks are a little different that plain old ice dyed or basic hand dyed fabrics. They are often dyed on fabric with a thicker weave. Sometimes this can make it more difficult to sew through so try using a sharper, smaller needle like a 70/10.
You may also want to use a thinner thread on batiks such as a 50 or 60 weight thread. (Remember with threads the bigger the number the smaller it is!)
Decide which side is the front. One side of the dyed fabric may look slightly better than the other. Spend a little time checking over which side you prefer to be the top.
Consider fussy cutting if there are areas that are particularly gorgeous that you want to show off. Each piece of hand dyed fabric is going to be unique and there may be areas you absolutely want to have visible and not hidden in seams.
How have you used hand dyed fabrics in your projects?