Problem Solving – Bleeding

I’ll break the good news first – my Corgi Fairytale quilt was accepted into the AQS Modern Quilt Challenge and will be judged and displayed at AQS Iowa Quilt Week in Des Moines October 2-5, 2013. I really wasn’t sure if it would be accepted. Now that it has been I’m going over the quilt with a fine tooth comb (a handheld LED Ottlight) and finding little teeny problems. One of them that’s a major issue is bleeding with some of the red scraps.  Remember how I said a few podcasts ago that I wanted to share some of my troubleshooting tips? Here’s a bangup mistake that can happen to any quilter.

Bleeding onto white fabric solved

Bleeding onto white fabric solved

It’s no secret that I don’t prewash. It’s hard to prewash scraps because they end up turning into a tangled mess if they’re really small and I have tiny scraps that I use in certain projects. This bleeding problem can be avoided if you test your scraps by spraying them with a bit of water and laying them on some white test fabric to see if they bleed before using them in your quilt. You can also wash your quilt with Shout Color Catchers and that usually picks up all the excess dye.  If you’re like me and you’re in too big of a hurry to do either of those things you end up with some bleeding.

Hey, it happens to the best of us right? I don’t want to wash this quilt because I like how it looks now. I did however have to spray away the blue marking pen where I marked the boundary of the corgi outline. That caused the bleeding to occur since I had to spray a few times to remove the marks before they completely disappeared. So what’s a quilter to do? I tried something new and I wasn’t sure how it would work out but it was worth a shot. Clorox makes a bleach gel pen that lets you control where the bleach goes so it doesn’t soak all into the fabric. Armed with the bleach pen, tissues and a damp washcloth I went to work.

Bleeding onto white fabric solved

Bleeding onto white fabric solved

Important Note:Only use the Gel pen on WHITE fabrics. It is not colorsafe.

This stuff worked beautifully! It didn’t soak into the neighboring fabric because I used a teeny tiny amount and took up the excess immediately with a tissue. I used a damp washcloth to remove extra gel that might be left behind so it doesn’t wear on the fabric. Every spot that had red dye bleeding was fixed with the Clorox gel pen. I’m not so scared to do another quilt with white background fabric since I have this little baby in my arsenal.

It’s probably not the best way to deal with bleeds but it worked for me when I was in a tight spot. All I have left to do is tweak a few things, hand stitch on the sleeve and get it in the mail.

Here are some corgi photos I took earlier this week:


  1. I’m so glad this worked so well for you. It’s always heartbreaking when color bleeding is discovered. I’m glad there is now another tool to try to address these horrors.

  2. Congratulations on being accepted in the AQS Challenge!

  3. Marye Albritton says:

    I am so happy for you!! Thanks for the tips!! Good luck on the show……I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a ribbon!!

  4. Congratulations on getting into the show & getting the color out!

  5. Congratulations Katie! You certainly deserve to be in the show – that quilt is gorgeous. I’m glad to hear about how to get out that bleed. I don’t prewash either!

  6. shelly grappe says:

    I had a similar problem, only mine was color bleeding on to color. I dampened some of the “Color Out” sheets, (do not remember the correct name) they are sold by shout I believe. Once the sheets were wet I used them like a sponge and pounced the dye runs out…I was careful to not use the same piece twice as did not want to transfer color back on to the area I was trying to remove color from. It worked beautifully….shelly beth

  7. Glad you solved the problem, and congratulations on the AQS! That quilt is a ribbon contender for sure!

  8. Quiltingle Sue says:

    So pleased to know your wonderful Corgi & Fairy Quilt has been accepted! Love the design and enjoyed watching the quilting process video. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  9. Good call Katie! I would’ve been terrified and panicked at the same time. You handled the situation by keeping your cool and it worked. I am really proud of you and keeping my fingers crossed for you for the judging!

  10. This quilt is amazing! Congratulations

  11. I’m excited for you that your quilt has been accepted. yay!! I fell in love with it when I first saw it. I’m also pleased the the Clorox Bleach Pen took care of the bleeding issue. I really don’t want to be negative, but I feel I must caution you that bleach being bleach it will deteriorate you fabric if not completely rinsed out. You may feel that you didn’t use much and you dabbed it right up but I hesitate to believe that it is completely removed from your quilt. If you have ever gotten bleach on your hands you know how much rinsing it takes to remove it. I only mention this because I would hate for your quilt to be ruined. That you be truly a sad situation.

  12. Katie – so glad you saved your beautiful quilt! I love it and have purchased the pattern as I have two Corgis of my own.
    I do prewash all my fabrics, but if I’m suspicious about any old scraps that might run, like darks, reds, purples, etc, I rewash them using an old-time lingerie bag. These mesh-type bags are great for washing small or delicate items. They keep small scraps from shredding (or disappearing!) in the washer. The bag can be thrown into the dryer, too, but I also air dry the scraps since I’ll be pressing them anyway. I haven’t tried the color-catcher sheets, but my sister-in-law says they work great.
    Best wishes at the AQS show!


  1. […] Corgi Fairytale gets shipped off. A final note (warning) about using the bleach gel pens. […]