Friday, August 3, 2018

Big Pink Lies: The Bicentennial Flag Quilt

I had mixed feelings when I received this 1970s flag quilt from eBay sellers, "gb-best" in Pennsylvania. The sellers were not exactly straightforward in their description, which read:

"I gave it a gentle wash for freshness. The stripes are a tea dyed look. Faint dye migration of the blue that is minor."

Actually, it appeared as though the red dye ran when the seller washed the quilt, and all the whites turned pink. The auction photos didn't really show how pink the whites were, and when I opened the package, I thought, "Hmmmmm..."

The whites were not tea-dyed, they were pink from careless washing.
What a disaster! A careless washing turned the whites pink and the sellers told a little white lie...or maybe it was really a big pink one. The thing was I still loved the quilt and wanted to see if I could reverse the damage by rewashing it. 

The rewashing took over a week. I started with cold water and some Shout Color Catchers in the bathtub. Color Catchers are like laundry dryer sheets that go in the wash and catch dyes that bleed into the water. Red dye was bleeding from the stripes and backing, so after some cold water soaking and rinsing, I tried a small amount of Oxy Clean with a tiny squirt of Dawn. 

The pink color was gradually lifting, so I repeated the process several times with cold water soaking and rinsing between soap washes. At the end of the week, there was still a small amount of pink in the white, but the washing had improved the look of the quilt significantly. 

Although I was able to reverse the damage enough to be satisfied with the quilt, it was a good lesson. Unless I want to spend a week washing a quilt to reverse the damages from a careless washing done by a somewhat-less-than-scrupulous seller, I will probably avoid the seller.


  1. Good save, great quilt! I have had trouble with this seller in the past. Happy it worked out.

  2. That is a fabulous quilt; so glad you could save it! I would definitely avoid that seller!

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