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Testing our Island Home Digital Print Panel

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

I thought that I would share with you some of the rigorous testing that I did on our Island home fabric panel.

Our Island home panel is digitally printed onto 100% cotton poplin in Australia. Digital textile printing is the new eco-friendly way to print, if you would like to know why, check out this article here.

What I really wanted to know is, how it compares to regular cotton quilting fabric.

Does it feel softer after washing?

On receiving our first sample, I thought that it felt stiff compared to regular quilting fabric, the technician explained to us that the fabric has sizing or a dressing to make the fabric firm for it to run smoothly through the printer.

As soon as we received the first panel, I cut it up into the 16 different fabric designs and put them in the washing machine on a hot, heavy-duty cycle, just because I wanted to see what the fabric could handle. I then pegged them on the line to drip dry in the sunshine.

When the pieces were dry, I noticed that they had a much softer feel to them, just like a regular quilting fabric, there was minimal creasing and after a press with the iron set on light steam and the cotton setting, I was very impressed. (There was some fraying around the edge due to the heavy duty wash cycle but this will be eliminated by washing the panel in one piece first, before cutting it up into the 16 different designs)

Is it colourfast?

To test this, I soaked a complete panel in the bath, once again using hot water with a small amount of laundry detergent. I left it over night to see if the dye would run. When I removed the panel from the bath the next day, the water was clear. Yay!

Can it be tumble dried?

I live in Australia where we have a lot of sunshine (except for the last 3 weeks which has been torrential rain) so I don’t own a clothes dryer, but I understand that in some parts of the world a tumble dryer is the only way to get your washing dry, so I found a self-serve laundromat and paid $5 to tumble dry it for 25 minutes. It was set to hot, and I would have preferred the warm setting, but I didn’t know how to use the thing ha ha. It looked dry after 10 minutes, but I couldn’t remove it because I worked out that the dryer is locked for the amount of time that I paid for. Anyway, after the dryer drama, I can confirm that the fabric is safe to tumble dry!

I took the panel home, pressed it and cut it up into the 16 designs.

Does it have to be pre-washed?

Now, I know that a lot of quilters don’t pre-wash their fabrics so I thought that I would test this too. By the way, here is an interesting article that I found on the Moda Fabrics website called To Wash or Not To Wash.

For this test, I made up a simple, traditional Churn Dash block using all unwashed materials. Please note that this block is not part of the mystery quilt course, but it shows how fantastic the fabric is going to look, cut up and stitched back together again in a patchwork block. Although the unwashed digital print was a little stiff it was easy to work with except when pinning, I had to push a little harder to get the pins through multiple fabric layers, but it was manageable. Whilst working with the stiff fabric I thought about how we often use spray starch to stiffen up fabric to make working with it easier.

For my quilt, I’m using Warm & Natural Needled Cotton Batting, I’m using this batting because it’s available in most countries. On the pack it mentions that it does not require pre-washing but there is a 3% shrinkage after the first wash. This is the same with most cotton quilting fabric and is why some quilters prefer not to pre-wash their materials and wash the quilt after it is finished so that all the materials shrink together. (Can be a problem if not all the fabrics are colour fast though)

While I was testing, I thought that I would also test some other products:

Iron on Batting Joiner Tape, I’m using the Matilda’s Own brand.

My Sewline marking pencil in the grey colour to mark the quilting lines.

(I normally mark lightly and rub out any stray lines but pressed a little heavier for the test but didn’t make super heavy lines)

505 basting spray to hold the backing, batting and top layer together on half of the block.

Last of all, I used some safety pins to pins to hold the layers together on the other half of the block.

(I did notice that the pins left holes in both the digital print and the Moda solid background fabric but I will say that my safety pins are not the sharpest)

I quilted the layers together in a simple grid using a pale green Rasant thread.

I then popped it in the washing machine on a warm gentle cycle with a small amount of a regular laundry liquid.

I could have dripped dried it on the clothesline on a warm sunny day as I would normally do, but I wanted to cover all bases so headed back to the laundromat and tumble dried it for 25 minutes on a warm cycle.

Here is the result:

The block shrunk by 6 mm (1/4”) on the length and width which is to be expected with the usual 3% shrinkage rate of cotton fabric and cotton batting.

It has that soft, crinkly, quilted look. (There are less crinkles today as the block has relaxed more)

Iron on Matilda’s Own batting joiner stayed intact.

Sewline marking pencil washed away.

No issues with the 505-basting spray.

Holes from the safety pins disappeared.

In conclusion

I am very happy with our eco friendly digitally printed fabric, it’s colourfast, it has a high thread count which means minimal fraying when you are working with it, it washes up beautifully and for those that live in colder climates it can be tumble dried without a problem.

Although I was tough on our digital print, my recommended care instructions are:

Handwash or gentle machine wash in warm water.

Drip-dry in shade or tumble dry on a low setting

Press with iron on the cotton setting

Pre-washing is a personal choice

Before you decide, I recommend reading that article from Moda Fabrics.

If you chose to wash some of the fabrics then you should wash them all including the background and backing fabric. When it comes to the batting, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.

I did plan to pre-wash all of my fabric but mother nature has a different plan. Where I live in Australia, we have had weeks of rain with more to come and I seriously don’t want to drive to the laundromat again as the roads are slippery and treacherous.

Exciting news

To begin with, we only did a print run of 200 panels, we honestly did not know that they were going to be so popular because as I mentioned in a previous blog post, the fabric is more expensive than regular patchwork fabric as it was not sourced from the usual channels.

Alaura and Alex are thrilled that their initial investment has been a success, so much so that we are going to offer the fabric to everyone by pre-order purchase.

What does pre-order purchase mean?

If you are keen to get your hands on some of this fabric and can patiently wait 4 to 5 weeks, then this is for you. This will help us to know how much to order, our order to the digital printing studio will be placed on Wednesday March 9, 2022. The printing takes 1 week, then another week for Alaura and Alex to cut and package, then 1 to 3 weeks for shipping, depending on where you are in the world.

Upfront payment will secure you a fabric panel in the next print run and you can purchase as many as you like.

The cost per panel is $ 59.50 (Australian Dollars) plus shipping.

Shipping costs are as follows:

Australia: $12.00

USA and Canada: $35.00

UK: $ 40.00

NZ: $30.00

Rest of the world: $45.00

(All fabrics will be shipped express and will have tracking)

You can make your purchase now on the website here

I just want to finish by saying that I’m really proud of these smart young entrepreneurs that are taking a chance at doing things in a different way by creating beautiful, unique and sustainable fabric that we can all enjoy for years to come.

Hope you enjoyed this blog post!

Monica xo

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11 komentarzy

07 mar 2022

Thank you Monica! I appreciate your attention to detail and the rigors you put the fabric though as well as testing overall shrinkage, marking tools, joining tape and documenting it all. It's a great reminder for me to test out a few of the products and tools I'll be using that are new to me so I'll be ready when we start. 😺


Excellent post on washing and drying the fabric, thank you for taking the time and care to do it. Really glad I found the Pattern Poole videos and website, i keep telling other quilters about it, as your ideas for quilt as you go do make things a lot easier on our small sewing machines. Love the fabric, will be order some more and looking forward to the quilt a long. Hope the rain stops soon for you.


04 mar 2022

Well done to all concerned, such informative material and so interesting. So anxious to get started I believe my package is close now.

Monica Poole
Monica Poole
04 mar 2022
Odpowiada osobie:

Thanks, that's great that you found it informative and interesting!


Thank you Monica for sharing this blog. My fabric arrived 2 days ago and am very impressed with the colours and patterns. It would be interesting to read what stories the panels tell. Congratulations to yourself, Alaura and Alex taking on this venture and I wish you every success.


Thank you Monica for the trouble you took testing the fabric, I am looking forward to receiving my fabric, which I have been told by Aus Post is today 😀 can't wait to start the online course.

Monica Poole
Monica Poole
04 mar 2022
Odpowiada osobie:

No problem at all, it's important to us that we are selling a quality product. Hope that your fabric arrived safely today.

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