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Thread: Starch - Help...Please

  1. #1
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    Red face Starch - Help...Please

    This is gonna seem very silly but I'm getting so frustrated. I am having trouble lining up even the simplest seams. The fabric I am using is definitely on the low quality side & thought starch would help to stabilise the fabric. I guess my question is What is the correct way to use starch? I have tried 'Best Press' & reg. starch. I have been spraying, then pressing (while wet) Is this the wrong way?
    Please tell me the correct way to use starch. What are your methods? Thank You.

  2. #2
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I spray until wet and then press. Sometimes repeating. My fabric is stiff as paper before I cut. That's just what I like to do even when I use my Go. If the fabric is low quality and you have to use it, you can fuse lightweight interfacing to it.
    Got fabric?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Pat M.'s Avatar
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    Do you have trouble with all material or just this low quality stuff you are working on? Is it worth the effort to continue or can you switch out the material for something else? You have done what I would do. I do remember my mother soaking the fabric in starch and then putting it in the frig until she was ready to iron it. She said it helped the fabric absorb the starch. Personally I would ditch the bad stuff.

  4. #4
    Super Member mike'sgirl's Avatar
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    Spray the fabric on one side and then press till dry on the other side. This makes sure that the starch gets into the fabric.

  5. #5
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Spray and press!

    You mention that it is not stabilizing it ... are you trying to cut before the fabric is dry?
    Then it should be ... Spray, Press, Dry.

    If you've used minimal spray, it will be dry, almost as fast as you finish pressing.
    The more you use, the longer you may want to let it sit before cutting.
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    Thank You ALL for your input. I am trying to make my 3 year old Grandson a 'picnic quilt'. He likes to have picnics on the living room floor and I'm sure will want to have picnics outside this summer. It was suppose to be a quick - easy project.... & I was trying to use up some of my 'not so great quality' fabrics. Didn't really want to spend a ton of money on something that was gonna be eaten on & drug around outside. Next time, I'll stick to quality...

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    Thank You.

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    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    Good luck with the spray starch.

    Have you thought of cutting the fabric the same width and different heights? Then you don't have to worry about matching seams!

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  9. #9
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DebbieL View Post
    Thank You ALL for your input. I am trying to make my 3 year old Grandson a 'picnic quilt'. He likes to have picnics on the living room floor and I'm sure will want to have picnics outside this summer. It was suppose to be a quick - easy project.... & I was trying to use up some of my 'not so great quality' fabrics. Didn't really want to spend a ton of money on something that was gonna be eaten on & drug around outside. Next time, I'll stick to quality...
    I'd quit worry about lining up the seams and just put it together. I can guarantee no 3 year old is going to notice or care if a few seams are off. All he's going to care about is "gramma made me a picnic quilt!!"

  10. #10
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat M. View Post
    Do you have trouble with all material or just this low quality stuff you are working on? Is it worth the effort to continue or can you switch out the material for something else? You have done what I would do. I do remember my mother soaking the fabric in starch and then putting it in the frig until she was ready to iron it. She said it helped the fabric absorb the starch. Personally I would ditch the bad stuff.
    I read this before. So I starched my backing for a quilt and put it in the freezer. I found it about 2 weeks later and wondered what this frozen thing was. How long should it stay in the fridge?
    Finished is better than a UFO

  11. #11
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    I starch, let the starch absorb into the fabric for a few minutes and then, while it's still damp from the starch, press dry. I've evolved to using the liquid starch you can mix to varying strengths. If you have lighter-weight fabric, go heavy on the starch. Maybe even doing 2-3 passes if you're using pre-mix.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    I spray until wet and then press. Sometimes repeating. My fabric is stiff as paper before I cut. That's just what I like to do even when I use my Go. If the fabric is low quality and you have to use it, you can fuse lightweight interfacing to it.
    Thank You, I think that I was not using enough starch. I started using more and letting it set a couple minutes, then pressed - working much better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    I starch, let the starch absorb into the fabric for a few minutes and then, while it's still damp from the starch, press dry. I've evolved to using the liquid starch you can mix to varying strengths. If you have lighter-weight fabric, go heavy on the starch. Maybe even doing 2-3 passes if you're using pre-mix.
    Thank You. Working much better now.

  14. #14
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DebbieL View Post
    This is gonna seem very silly but I'm getting so frustrated. I am having trouble lining up even the simplest seams. The fabric I am using is definitely on the low quality side & thought starch would help to stabilise the fabric. I guess my question is What is the correct way to use starch? I have tried 'Best Press' & reg. starch. I have been spraying, then pressing (while wet) Is this the wrong way?
    Please tell me the correct way to use starch. What are your methods? Thank You.
    Dried starch will leave the fabric stiff. It will be smooth only if you press while damp (or wet!)
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  15. #15
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    I starch, let the starch absorb into the fabric for a few minutes and then, while it's still damp from the starch, press dry. I've evolved to using the liquid starch you can mix to varying strengths. If you have lighter-weight fabric, go heavy on the starch. Maybe even doing 2-3 passes if you're using pre-mix.
    A lot of times, I'll dampen (with starch) several pieces, stack them up, fold them up to a smaller size, lay something heavy over them----------cutting board or something similar. Go fix lunch or throw more laundry in the dryer or sew a bit more, then come back to press. The starch is better distributed over the fabric and not too wet in spots.
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  16. #16
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOTTYMO View Post
    I read this before. So I starched my backing for a quilt and put it in the freezer. I found it about 2 weeks later and wondered what this frozen thing was. How long should it stay in the fridge?
    Take it from someone who hates to iron-----------------next to forever. If you want, just roll up for a short time (10-15 minutes) or roll up, slip in a plastic bag and put in the fridge, if you don't intend to iron shortly.

    Also from someone who hates to iron--------------the freezer is for long term storage. No real need if you intend to iron the same day.
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    I spray my startch, then wad the fabric up in a tight ball. Then I straighten it out. Let set several minutes, then press. This allows startch to absorb well and evenly.

  18. #18
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I prefer to wet the fabric completely with starch and then let it dry completely, before ironing. I find I get the stiffest results , and no starch build up on the iron.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOTTYMO View Post
    I read this before. So I starched my backing for a quilt and put it in the freezer. I found it about 2 weeks later and wondered what this frozen thing was. How long should it stay in the fridge?
    I am so glad to learn that I am not the only one who puts starched fabric in the freezer before pressing it. I really do think it presses easier when I freeze it first. I did that because I thought that was what my mother did; but actually, she probably just put it in the refrigerator. I leave mine in for an hour or two or overnight. Yes, I, too, have found a bag of frozen fabric in the freezer and wondered what it was.

  20. #20
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    I use Sta-Flo starch, you can get it in 1/2 gallons at Walmart. Bring it home and pour into a gallon container and fill with water. Dampen your fabric with water then spray solid with the starch. I like to put mine in the frig over night or all then iron until DRY ! ! ! All of this is before you cut any pieces. You will have less dust (fuzz), less raveling, better matched seams , etc., etc. A much better quilt top, that is my opinion. You cannot do this after pieces are cut because the starch will disstort the pieces.

  21. #21
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    Years ago, we starched a lot of stuff with Argo Gloss Starch. Dissolve it in cold water and add boiling water. Dip the clothes in and wring out by hand. After the clothes were hung on the line, they need to be "sprinkled" before ironing. Everything is rolled up in a basket, and left sit for a few hours to even out the dampness for ironing. Then you start ironing. Never put into the refrigerator. But if you didn't get back to ironing for a few days, it would mildew. That happened to me once with my good white plaid dress, but a small amount of bleach fixed it perfectly.

    I still do this with my fabric. Wash, dip in starch, dry, sprinkle, put in large plastic bag and let sit for a few hours, iron. No refrigerator. But the freezer would be a good choice if you got interrupted and had to let it set for a while.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat M. View Post
    I do remember my mother soaking the fabric in starch and then putting it in the frig until she was ready to iron it. She said it helped the fabric absorb the starch.
    My mom used to buy a powdered starch (name brand Faultless), which you cooked into a thick paste, then thinned down with water. Anything cotton that was going to be ironed was washed, rinsed, then placed in the thin starch solution in a tub, then wrung out and hung out to dry (this was before we had a dryer). When the dry laundry was taken in, each piece was sprinkled with water to dampen it, then all the damp clothes were wrapped in a large towel and put in the "back room" refrigerator until there was time to iron it. The cooked starch was a light blue color, so was fine for light fabrics when it was thinned, but for darker fabrics, blue jeans, dark shirts, etc., she would add a little tea or coffee to darken it. No one was happier than my mom when they came out with spray starch! No one was happier than me when we got our first dryer!

  23. #23
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    I am anti-spray of all types, but I do liquid starch occasionally, depending on the amount of fabric I need to starch; however, if it's small pieces of a variety of fabrics (or flimsy fabric) I'm sewing, I use paper to stabilize it. With a small stitch length, the paper is easily removed and saves me having to re-wash all the starched fabric. I somehow accumulate used printer paper, which I save for this purpose; however, when I sew on the bias, I use adding machine paper because it is so porous and tears so easily; therefore no stress to bias.

  24. #24
    Super Member Marysewfun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike'sgirl View Post
    Spray the fabric on one side and then press till dry on the other side. This makes sure that the starch gets into the fabric.
    This is what I do - turn it over so the starch goes into the fabric and not my iron. Also I tried a hint and it works - take an odd-ball pillow case and put over your ironing board (I opened the side seam and it fits 80% of my board) and then do your starching or fusing on top of it - when dirty, toss it in the wash and reuse when clean. :-)

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  25. #25
    Super Member Marysewfun's Avatar
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    Quote: When the dry laundry was taken in, each piece was sprinkled with water to dampen it, then all the damp clothes were wrapped in a large towel and put in the "back room" refrigerator until there was time to iron it.<

    Oh yes, I remember looking in the "freezer" for a blouse I wanted to iron and wear! LOL

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