Prewash quilt fabric or not? Jo Morton has the answer

It’s a question every quilter’s come across on their quiltmaking journey: to prewash fabric or not? Sometimes when you buy the perfect fabric and own the perfect pattern for said fabric, it’s hard to get home and then be patient. Going through the prewashing process before commencing cutting can feel like it takes forever!

Best-selling author Jo Morton votes “Yes!” when it comes to prewashing fabric. But what are the benefits? Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Jo’s latest book, Jo’s Little Favorites III, that just might convince you that it’s best to launder your fabrics before the real fun begins. Read on for Jo’s pretested prewash process.


Jo MortonJo’s Tips for Prewashing Fabric

“Many people ask me if I prewash my fabrics. Yes, I do prewash them all, for several reasons. Whether I’m sewing by hand or machine, I prefer the way prewashed fabric handles during the process of piecing or appliquéing. The fabric weave tightens up during the washing and drying process and not only makes it easier to handle, but also makes it less likely to ravel. Prewashing gets rid of any chemicals used in the finishing process. I generally don’t work with precut fabrics; if you do, you probably shouldn’t prewash those.

When I wash a fabric, I don’t just rinse it out in the sink to see if it bleeds. I wash the fabric with my regular laundry soap, using the gentle wash cycle and cold water. I run it through the entire cycle and then place it in the dryer on the permanent press setting until it’s almost dry. Overdrying fabric may set in wrinkles. As soon as I take fabric out of the dryer, I fold it and place it on the shelf. I press the fabric when I’m ready to cut it for a project.”


You’ll find lots more of Jo’s quiltmaking tips and tricks in Jo’s Little Favorites III, along with 16 stunning small quilt patterns—which one would you make first?

Tic-Tac-Toe quilt
Perhaps you’ll start with a little game of Tic-Tac-Toe?

Blueberry Muffins quilt
Or maybe you’ll bake up this little Blueberry Muffins quilt.

Basket Parade quilt
How about appliquéing a beautiful Basket Parade?

Star Shine quilt
Of course, stars never go out of style!

See more from Jo’s Little Favorites III here.

What do you think about prewashing: yay or no way? Tell us in the comments!

Browse more books from Jo:

Jo's Little Favorites Jo's Little Favorites II Jo's Floral Album Simple Friendships with Kim Diehl


77 Comments (leave a comment)

Leave a comment

*Indicates required field