I think, after all these years, I've finally got that one drummed in...
I always pre-wash my quilting fabrics too. So many hours go into creating a quilt, it would be such a shame if you went and shrank it! Some dies run, too, so I always check colours by putting a piece of white fabric in with the wash so that I can see if any of the dies run, especially blues and reds, they seem to be the most likely to run.
Recently, I was talking about pre-washing at a couple of different quilting shops, and the ladies behind the counter both insisted that pre-washing was not necessary, because modern, good quality quilt fabrics do not shrink.
As I have just been pre-washing all my fabrics for a new quilt project, I thought "why not test it out?"
So, I took a few pieces, measured them, then washed them and hung them out to dry.
In the interests of science, I made sure I had fabrics made by different companies, and purchased from different shops. By the way, when I wash fabric, I prefer to dry it on a rack than outside on the line, as that way you don't get the peg-marks, or the distortion than you get with line drying.
So, in the morning, I measured again.
And the results are... (drum roll, please!) All four fabrics had shrunk!
Prior to washing, these pieces were both 22" wide. The apple fabric was 18 1/2" long, and the grass fabric was 20"
The fabrics had all shrunk by different amounts, they shrank in both directions, but different amounts in each direction.
So I will definitely continue to pre-wash my fabrics, no matter how much people try to convince me that it isn't necessary!