Washing my finished block

Once I finished embroidering all the ropes with 2 strands of floss, I was ready to wash my block.  I must mention at this point that I prewash all of my fabric in Synthrapol before I even think of putting it in a quilt.  That way, the fabrics do not run in this washing process.  Why do I wash my blocks?  When I trace my pattern onto the background, I use a Clover water soluble marker and a Frixion marker.  To prep my applique pieces, I use starch and Roxeann’s Glue.  All of that stuff needs to be removed from the block before it can be stitched into a quilt. Oh….and did I mention the cat hair?


It was in a class with Pearl Pereira at the Applique Academy that I learned about washing blocks.  By the way, have you seen Pearl’s new Block of the Month on her website?  It’s called Forever Blooming and it is free!  I have downloaded my patterns and I am raring to get started!  I am also super excited to be attending this years TESAA!  I will be taking classes with Rita Verroca and Sandra Leichner.  Only 42 more sleeps!

So, this is how I wash my block.  First, I check to make sure all the pieces are stitched down.  You really don’t want this to happen!


Oops!  Can you see that I did not stitch all of the bias pieces down?  There are bias strips in between the leaves and they are not stitched yet.


They should look like this.


You only need a clean sink, some mild soap and a block.


First, fill the sink with hot water and add a bit of soap.


Now, place the block in the water.  If this is the first time you are doing this, you are allowed to hold your breath and close your eyes!  I usually let it soak for a couple of hours.  No need to check on it, it’s not going anywhere!


Next, drain the water and rinse the block with clear water.  Gently press some of the water out.  I like to leave the block fairly wet.


I place the block out on a thick towel and smooth it out.  From experience, I have found that leaving the block wet means less wrinkles when the block has finished drying.  I like to pin the corners of the block to the towel, just to keep it as flat as possible.


Once the block is completely dry, I flip it over on the thick towel and press with a hot iron.




Til next time…



19 thoughts on “Washing my finished block

  1. Beautiful block. I have had to wash a couple of my applique blocks and you’re right… holding your breath is very accurate! What type of soap do you use to wash the finished block. I see Palmolive..but doubt that is what is in that bottle. Thanks!

  2. Another beautiful finish Kerry. I have downloaded the first block of Forever Blooming from Pearl’s BOM and am also excited to start, but have also been pulling fabrics for her Happy Trails quilt. Not sure which will begin first. How wonderful to get to go to TESAA, have you gone before?

  3. Oh My! Wonderful information and perfect timing!! My 2014 project list includes a couple of UFO appliqué BOMs. I really want to get these done early in the year but since it’s been awhile since I’ve worked on any appliqué I reviewed the starch method this morning and I was wondering about removing the glue in a finished block. I wasn’t able to find anything about it this morning – and then TAH-DAH! there was your post that popped up in my email and addressed the very subject! Brilliant and perfect timing! Thanks so much!!

  4. I too am curious about the hot water as opposed to lukewarm? Thanks for the reminder about ironing an applique block on a towel. It always works so much better than straight on the ironing board!

  5. Thanks so kuch for your helpful tips. I too willbe at TESAA this year, taking Kathy Dunigan and Sandra Leichner’s classes. Going with a couple of other women from so. Ontario. We will have to meet up some time…..

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