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Percentage of quilt top shrinkage during quilting

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How much is the quilt top going to shrink during the quilting process? I am making a quilt for a customer from scratch and it needs to fit a king size quilt. It is an Amish quilt pattern and I want the body of the pattern to fit the bed and then I will put a border to hang down on the sides. Right now the body of the quilt is 78 inches square and it fits the king top perfectly but I don't know much to expect it to shrink. I will use stencils to give it the hand quilted look when I put it on the Millie (The Dancing Queen). I think I might have to put an extra border.


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I think there are lots of factors to take into consideration before you can even begin to determine how much a quilt will shrink.

You asked about shrinkage from quilting....you should not have more than 1-2 inches side to side with a loose deisgn. You only get a major amount of shrinkage from quilting if you quilt really really dense (or at least I do)

But you need to take also into consideration other things. Were the fabrics pre-washed or not....what batting are you using...what is the shrink rating on that batting. You said you were going to do an Amish design, but you still need to do SID around the border seams to keep the quilt from shrinking more...

These thoughts also need to be taken into consideration for the shrinkage factor. You could shrink more by the washing process than the actual quilting. Where you said that you are making the quilt...maybe you would want to make a little one and do a test to see what the materials are going to do if these are things that you have never used before.

Not all battings are able to be pre-shrunk so that could be your biggest factor to consider. As some batting if they are wool or 100% cotton could shrink up to 8%

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  • 13 years later...

Is submersing the quilt top/back in water to fully wet, and then hanging to dry not good enough to take care of fabric shrinkage?

I guess the only way to truly know how much cotton fabric shrinks would be to do a test.  Cut a 12 x 12 block and then wet/dry it to measure the amount of shrinkage.  You could also wash it in a washer machine bag to see if you got a different result.  Maybe even a 9 square block to see if the shrinkage varies.  Use a brand of fabric you normally quilt with.  It would give you a good starting point.  

A density of quilting test could also be performed by sewing sides on as 12.5 x 12.5 inch block and then quilting the 12 x 12 inch block, and measuring it at different densities.  You could start with straight lines side to side, and top to bottom, and then fill the spaces between the lines, measuring periodically to see if the block got smaller.  Though I would hazard to guess that the block will change more with more curves and circle shapes.  

If you do the test, let us know how it turns out.  I might try it tomorrow when I make a few masks.  


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I would not wash it...….what kind of backing did you use?  If it is of the same quality of the jelly roll strips, it will probably shrink similar......I do not wash most of my fabric anymore.....but I do wash my finished quilted quilts before I give them away to my family as I want to remove chemicals and most importantly, let them know it is perfectly fine to wash and even throw my quilts in the dryer....so yes my quilts can be used and not just stored in a closet....anyway....I have started to measure my tops before quilting, after quilting, and after washing....I find a lot seem to shrink up from the quilting and washing from 2-5 inches....the 5 inches being mainly the king sized or flannel quilts....

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  • 7 months later...

Hoopie, it's very hard to predict how much your scraps will shrink, or if they will even shrink at all.  If you plan your block with a slightly oversized border on the outside, you could trim the border after washing to get your block to the 12.5" you want.

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