November 4, 2007

Color caught!

Filed Under Fabrics 

Yikes! I finished stitching the very last block of a loooong project, spritzed the back to remove the water-erasable pen that I had used to mark the pattern for the back-basting method, and left it to air-dry overnight. The next morning I wandered into the studio and was pretty aghast to see that the red fabric had bled onto the white background.

Here’s the back of the block, with the lovely embellishment that was completely underappreciated.

I always pre-wash my fabrics, but don’t generally test them for colorfastness. I’ve had no trouble to speak of with fabric bleeding in my quilting career… but there’s always a first time!

I drank my coffee and considered what to do. I knew there were products designed to pick up excess dye molecules, and I had heard of something called Color Catchers that you could get at the supermarket. I decided to give that a whirl. It would be a Grand Experiment.

I had to go to three places to find the product. I had no luck at the drug store or the supermarket, but found it at the hardware store.

Color Catchers™ are white sheets that you are supposed to throw in the washer with your loads of laundry so that excess dye from one garment doesn’t redeposit on another. I had no idea if it would help my situation or not but thought it wouldn’t hurt to try.

Starting with cold water, I soaked and swished the block in the sink with a Color Catcher and a little detergent. Nothing much happened that I could see. I repeated with lukewarm water, then on to hot tap water, soaking and swishing, soaking and swishing. After a good bit of soaking and swishing… yay!!! The excess red dye came out of the white background fabric and my block was rescued! And the Color Catcher was pink.

My Grand Experiment was a success, and now I don’t have to restitch the block!

Until next time,


3 Responses to “Color caught!”

  1. Sandra Cherk on November 7th, 2007 9:42 am

    Thank you for this tip! I’d just read the SC Sentinel article about blogs in business and decided to check yours out. This entry is very ‘appliqueable’ since my younger daughter’s shirt was stained last night by being washed with her older sister’s newly black-dyed jeans. I’ll definitely try this product to see if it will take out the dye stains. (which hardware store did you find it at?)
    ps. I’m am a SC pastel artist and like to quilt, too, but rarely have the time.

  2. admin on November 7th, 2007 10:32 am

    Hi Sandy! Glad the article led you to an “appliqueable” tip! (I’ll have to go and read that article myself now.) I got the product at OSH. Hope it works for your daughter’s shirt. I used a little detergent each time I changed the water for the swishing and soaking. Let us know how it turns out!


  3. Muirl Bronsteader on February 4th, 2010 9:43 pm

    Finished a redwork quilt with 12 Sunbonnet Sues today. It has red print sashing, borders and binding; When I dampened it to press it, the red color ran into four of the white backgrounds. I was so happy to find your suggestion for using Color Catcher, and will run right to the store to get some. If I have success, I will write back! You have given me some hope!