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Thread: Spray starch substitute and re-inventing the wheel

  1. #1
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    Spray starch substitute and re-inventing the wheel

    I've been using a homemade spray starch on my blocks for a couple of weeks now and really like the results. I was really pleased yesterday when I got my new "Heirloom Machine Quilting" book by Harriet Hargrave because I learned that she uses a homemade solution as well. It sounded close to the one I use.

    Mine: 2 cups water to 2 tbsp. cornstarch. Put in spray bottle and give a good shake. Works well for me. I can mix it as stiff as I want..but this recipe is what I've been using.

    I was talking to my mom about it. She's 86 and as a girl they did their clothes over a backyard black washpot. Her grandfather was the preacher and her dad led the music for the church back then. Mom said that when they held revivals all the preachers stayed at their house and her mom had to starch all the men's collars and cuffs.

    You may/may not know that those collars/cuffs were stiff as a board. Mom said that the cornstarch formula was used. They made a stiff solution of it and boiled it on the stove (kinda like making brown gravy but without the brown part...just cooked cornstarch and water).

    But she said that the community favorite starch for the collars, cuffs, and those doilies with the stand-up ruffles was a mixture of flour and water. They stirred it and cooked it until beginning to thicken..then dipped the article in and squeezed it very well. She said you had to be careful with the crochet doilies to make sure you got as much out as you could squeeze because the mixture would be stuck in the little holes.

    So I guess I'm not doing anything new after all.

    If any of you decide to try this, just know that cornstarch and flour are foods and bugs love both. So, when storing your quilts it would be better if they were starch-free.

    Anyone else use homemade starch?

  2. #2
    Super Member QuiltingKrazy's Avatar
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    Everything old becomes new once again! thanks
    Lisa B in NC
    Quilting is my Happy Thought!
    http://www.quiltingkrazy.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Junior Member Freddie's Avatar
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    I haven't yet, but now I'll give it a try. Thanks!

  4. #4
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    If you cook the starch mixture for 1-2 mins it will stabilize the solution and you
    don't have to keep shaking the bottle.

  5. #5
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    I make my own starch solution from a boiled recipe. I tried the Bounce ironing spray which works great but the perfume bothers my asthma. Canada is getting Target stores and I am hoping the Stay Flo jugs of starch that you dilute will be available.
    P.s. remember to clean your iron often if you are doing a lot of starching on white fabric.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the tip, EasyPeezy.

    Tartan, would you mind sharing your recipe? I'd like to give that a try.

  7. #7
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    I too use cornstarch and water to starch lengths of fabrice. I didn' t have a recipe so just winged it and turned out well. My only problem is I have to do it outside - no good place in. so have to wait for warm weather. I dunk and swish and hang to dry on the line - no wringing.

  8. #8
    Z
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    Both cornstarch and flour work well as starch, they are favorite food for ants and cockroaches. We don't like to think that
    our homes are shared by these bugs. One day I found a roach actually eating fabric which had the cornstarch stiffening.
    Needless to say I don't use cornstarch or flour anymore. The commercially made starches don't have the built-in food supply.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dray965 View Post
    Thanks for the tip, EasyPeezy.

    Tartan, would you mind sharing your recipe? I'd like to give that a try.
    Spray Starch
    3 and 3/4 cups water in a med. pan (bring to boil)

    1 Tbsp. corn starch
    1/4 cup cold water ( mix corn starch and cold water)

    Slowly add cornstarch mixture to boiling water and whisk until blended. Simmer 1 minute and let cool. Add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and put it into a spray bottle. I spray the back of my material and clean my iron frequently. This makes a light starch, if you want your fabric crisper add extra corn starch to the cold water mixture 1 Tbsp. at a time .

  10. #10
    QM
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    Keep in mind that genuine starch can encourage silverfish, so don't use it on something to be set aside.

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