Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: question about sizing/starching fabric

  1. #1
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,439
    I've been thinking about the many statements/comments I've been reading that go something like this:

    "I starch/stiffen light/flimsy/wonky fabrics so I can work with them ---"

    I've been wondering - what happens to the fabric(s) in the item after it has been washed?

    If it is only one "substandard" fabric in the piece, why would one use it? Wouldn't that pull down the quality of the whole item?

    I kind of have a thing about trying to use similar quality/weight fabrics for a whole top or a whole back. If there is a really flimsy fabric in with more durable ones in a "working quilt" - would that wear out first?

    I made a quilt for my daughter that had a lighter weight cotton - it wasn't exactly "flimsy", but it was lighter weight than the Kona I had used for the sashing, and that has holes and tears in it (big dogs were allowed on it), but the Kona is still fine.

    I really don't know the answer(s) - it just seems counter-productive in the long run.


  2. #2
    harrishwhippets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Sarasota, Fl
    Posts
    266
    I really starch all the fabric I am currently working on, cause I'm a clumsy cutter. I wash everything I quilt even the stuff for ragging, so after, it tends to loose it's stiffness, and I have to put it back. So mine isn't about the quality of the fabric cause I do it to everything, flannels, even the back of my chenille. Just so I can get better cuts. That's just me. I've had flannel pill badly, some stuff for my rag quilts looks crappy after it's washed once it's made, so I do it cause I want no suprises. I had very nice lqs fabric that did not look as nice after I ragged it with certain flannels, would not have put the stuff together if I knew the end results. My dogs have a few quilts cause I only washed them after I finished.

  3. #3
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,439
    Quote Originally Posted by harrishwhippets
    I really starch all the fabric I am currently working on, cause I'm a clumsy cutter. I wash everything I quilt even the stuff for ragging, so after, it tends to loose it's stiffness, and I have to put it back. So mine isn't about the quality of the fabric cause I do it to everything, flannels, even the back of my chenille. Just so I can get better cuts. That's just me. I've had flannel pill badly, some stuff for my rag quilts looks crappy after it's washed once it's made, so I do it cause I want no suprises. I had very nice lqs fabric that did not look as nice after I ragged it with certain flannels, would not have put the stuff together if I knew the end results. My dogs have a few quilts cause I only washed them after I finished.
    Sounds like you've had a few "learning experiences" - - -

    Nothing like an "unexpected result" to make one remember it!

  4. #4
    harrishwhippets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Sarasota, Fl
    Posts
    266
    Trust me Bear, I realllllly don't like doing this, today I have been searching for sta-flo and can't find the bloody stuff. Walmart stopped caring it. Went to Target, grocery stores, dollar stores. Going to order Argo from some hunting store of all places tomorrow. I don't keep the starched stuff hanging around, and I wash everything to get it out, before I give it away. Such a pain, but just want to be sure that I can cut a straight line and it helps me to sew one straight. Crap happens when we get older!!!!! :lol:

  5. #5
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,439
    I usually cut fabric with the "back/wrong" side up - so I can see the grain lines.

    I think I might have a tough of OCD.

  6. #6
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,439
    Do you starch and press your fabric right before you cut it?

    Or do you do that right after you wash it?

    I think if I was a starcher, I would do it right before cutting. I think I'm afraid that creatures would think the starch was a snack.

    But the stuff comes with all kinds of stuff in it off the bolt. Wonder what is all put in/on the fabric?

  7. #7
    harrishwhippets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Sarasota, Fl
    Posts
    266
    I always wash what I'm going to use the day before the project and than starch just before i cut it. My starched pcs probably stay that way not longer than a week than wash as soon as I finish. But unlike a lot of you I don't do big projects, no larger than I can quilt with out a struggle on my machine, no bigger than 60x 70. So it doesn't take long.
    But before I got off on this tangent, I think you were referring to inferior material, which I do buy and pratice my stitches on only. With batting, I do my dec stitchs and free motion, that I have been trying lately, plan on an hour every night, till I get it.
    I try only to use better material for anything I'm giving away and do a ton of sales. On line and at the shops here. I try not to pay more than $5.00 for anything, since I'm unemployed I can't. If I buy crap I don't think even starching the snot out of it will help down the road!!! That's my theory. Is that crystal ???

  8. #8
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Idaho Falls
    Posts
    1,908
    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    Do you starch and press your fabric right before you cut it?

    Or do you do that right after you wash it?

    I think if I was a starcher, I would do it right before cutting. I think I'm afraid that creatures would think the starch was a snack.

    But the stuff comes with all kinds of stuff in it off the bolt. Wonder what is all put in/on the fabric?
    You want to starch your fabric right before you cut it, and for exactly the reason you've guessed! Silverfish and other little bugs and beetles just love to get in and eat the starch, and any fabric it is attached to. Yikes! Not a fun discovery when you are searching through your fabric stash. This is especially important in the desert, where silverfish are plentiful.

    I always wash my fabrics when I bring them home. This removes any sizing, many chemicals that I and other of my friends are allergic to. It also shrinks the fibers, which have been stretched a god-awful amount at the factory, and it removes any excess dye that could travel to other fabrics in a quilt. Once clean and dry I fold them, using a 6" ruler to wrap the fabric around. I use the ruler as a way to keep all my folded fabrics the same exact width, which makes them easy to store. I don't starch them now because of the above problem with bugs, but also because there are times I definitely do NOT want starch in my fabrics. If I'm doing any hand applique, the last thing I want is stiff fabric. But for piecing it is a dream and can really help in making accurate points. It also keeps the fabric from stretching, which is great if you are working with bias seams.

    Once done I wash my quilts and I don't use anything else on them; no softners or pretty smelling dryer sheets. The reason is that I know too many people who are allergic to such things and I try to be very careful not to use anything that they (or myself) would get sick from. But that's my own personal circle and others may not have the same issues with chemicals and so they may enjoy such things.

  9. #9
    harrishwhippets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Sarasota, Fl
    Posts
    266
    Tiffany>Ditto, very well explained.

  10. #10
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    4,660
    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    Wonder what is all put in/on the fabric?
    Formaldehyde is the most common chemical in new fabrics. It's what gives it that "new fabric" smell. :shock:

  11. #11
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,439
    and makes my eyes and nose run and my chest tighten up

  12. #12
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    4,660
    Sounds like you have a reliable early warning system!

  13. #13
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Idaho Falls
    Posts
    1,908
    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    and makes my eyes and nose run and my chest tighten up
    It's also used in all those air freshners and in some pressure treated, pressed lumber/wood/furniture. It's nasty stuff & I didn't realize it was in new fabrics. Lovely. Just more incentive for me to wash them asap once I get them home.

  14. #14
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,439
    and then we can wonder what's in the detergents/washing/laundry products we use.

    My son can't tolerate having the fabric softeners used in the dryer with his underwear.

  15. #15
    k3n
    k3n is offline
    Power Poster k3n's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Somerset, England
    Posts
    10,712
    Blog Entries
    1
    I wash and press new fabric as soon as I get it and starch just before cutting. I feel it cuts and sews more cleanly somehow. Regarding using different qualities or 'weights' of fabric in the same quilt, for me it would depend on how much wear it would get and how special it was. In an ideal world, the fabric should be the same weight and quality because the weaker fabric will show wear. I think maybe even the stronger fabric adjacent to it MAKES it wear more quickly if that makes sense; but as i said, 'in an ideal world' and sometimes rules are broken and no harm is done. :D

  16. #16
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,439
    I think when one does as well as one can
    with what one knows at the time
    with the best that one has to work with at the time -

    that's as good as it's going to be for that time and place.

    It's the "widow's mite" kind of thinking -





  17. #17
    k3n
    k3n is offline
    Power Poster k3n's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Somerset, England
    Posts
    10,712
    Blog Entries
    1
    Here here! It's just the more I learn, the more I realise I NEED to learn! :shock: :lol:

  18. #18
    harrishwhippets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Sarasota, Fl
    Posts
    266
    Amen!!

  19. #19
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,439
    Quote Originally Posted by k3n
    Here here! It's just the more I learn, the more I realise I NEED to learn! :shock: :lol:
    That is SOOO true!

  20. #20
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Idaho Falls
    Posts
    1,908
    Quote Originally Posted by k3n
    Here here! It's just the more I learn, the more I realise I NEED to learn! :shock: :lol:
    And it only gets worse the more you learn! :lol:

  21. #21
    k3n
    k3n is offline
    Power Poster k3n's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Somerset, England
    Posts
    10,712
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiffany
    Quote Originally Posted by k3n
    Here here! It's just the more I learn, the more I realise I NEED to learn! :shock: :lol:
    And it only gets worse the more you learn! :lol:
    Yup! You could say, the more you learn, the less you know! :shock: :lol:

  22. #22

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Pittsburg, Kansas
    Posts
    124
    Since there are several posts about starching fabrics and how everyone does it, I will just share what I learned about Guild about that.l Be sure to use Spray Sizing as the bugs won't get into the fabrics like they do starched items.
    I have used the sizing for a long time, and have never had a problem with silverfish, bugs, ect.. It is also very cheap and gives fabric a nice finish. I get it at Wal-Mart or Dollar General, but suppose other stores have it.
    Marta

  23. #23
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,439
    Back to my original question:

    If one uses sizing or starch to make a fabric seem more substantial than it really is, what happens after it's washed - especially when used with more substantial fabrics to begin with.

    It seems to me that the flimsier fabric would become obvious after the item has been laundered. And even more so after it's been used for several years.


  24. #24
    k3n
    k3n is offline
    Power Poster k3n's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Somerset, England
    Posts
    10,712
    Blog Entries
    1
    I would tend to agree BIG - the starch can only help in the assembly process. Once it's washed out, the fabric will 'revert to type'. :D

  25. #25
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Out searching for some sunshine :-)
    Posts
    59,092
    Blog Entries
    1
    If a fabric is wonky to start out with, I am not apt to use it in a quilt. I may use it to practice with... or give it a wash and dry to see what it does and then use it in a utility quilt that I know my grands are going to use, abuse and love to death in a couple of years anyway...
    I starch for ease of piecing, it helps me keep from getting ripples in my borders, and I am more accurate with my rotary cutting too. I don't starch til I use the fabric, but do store it afterwards still starched. I have not seen any of the bugs in my house that seem to like starch, and I do look from time to time to see if this is attracting them. If it ever does, I will start storing those fabrics in plastic bags.


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.