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to Starch or not to Starch??

to Starch or not to Starch??

Old 04-27-2013, 12:57 PM
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I'm new to the board, so I'm sure this has been covered in the past -- thanks for your patience with me. My darling sisters are teaching me to quilt, but are a little negative about starching fabrics. When I asked why, I was told silverfish like starch. We can have some pretty damp , humid bathrooms, basements, etc. in Minnesota. What do others think of starching their fabrics?
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:06 PM
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I don't starch mine until I am ready to use it. Washing the quilt as soon as you are finished and it takes out the starch. I have some that my DM starched very stiff before she died 25 years ago I have never used them and nothing has bothered them. I have found that everything goes together much better when the pieces are starched, but I would never starch the fabric and store it away starched.
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:17 PM
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I starch before I cut my fabric. I wash my quilts when finished so I don't worry about bugs. Starching before cutting really helps to get accurate pieces.
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:50 PM
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i do the same as the other posters
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:04 PM
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I've lived in Minnesota and Wisconsin for most of my life. Storage of starched fabric has never been a problem for me. Silverfish could be a problem if you store fabric in a damp basement and possibly if the storage area is not air-conditioned during humid summers. We never lived in a basement so damp it required a de-humidifer, and we have always used air conditioning in the summer, so that may be why I have never had a problem.

Having said all that, I don't prewash fabric so most of my stored fabric has never been starched. Not prewashing means that there is generally enough sizing in the fabric to allow me to cut accurately; at most I might add a little spray starch while ironing, before I start cutting. Most of my starching is done as I create sewn blocks, plus heavy starching of the backing fabric before I layer.
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:05 PM
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I will use starch, but I avoid storing fabrics for extended periods of time with starch in them. A few weeks should be okay.

You could use sizing if you'd like.
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:15 PM
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I starch each fabric that I'll be working with ahead of time, minimum time 2 hours to let the starch get into the fibers of the fabric, then I either air dry or put in the drier for a few minutes. I've never had a problem with silverfish, but I do believe that if you have a problem with them, that it's probably not wise to store the fabric starched, but go ahead and starch your fabric a little while before you're planning on using it. If it's only a couple of days, I don't think there would be a problem, but I don't know this for a fact. I also don't pre-wash my fabrics but I prefer my fabric stiffer than just with the sizing in it. Each of us are different, figure out what works for you then go for it.

Last edited by pocoellie; 04-27-2013 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:18 PM
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I use Mary Ellen's Best Press. It's a clear spray bottle starch and says right on it that it doesn't attract bugs. Comes fragrance free or different scents. One of my LQS has it by the gallon, so you can buy one spray bottle then refill. Not as cheap as old fashioned starch, but much better in the long run.
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:48 PM
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Welcome from E Pa. it is a matter of preference just like washing fabric before using it. I like to starch twice. I don't do it till I need it.

Fabric feels like an index card and can be handled without stretching or distortion. Bias edges are no problem.

I wash my quilts after the binding is finished.

I think different quilts require different methods. Gather all the info you can and pick and choose as you need to with each quilt.
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Old 04-27-2013, 03:43 PM
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I wash all my fabric when I bring it home. Rarely starch before I cut - just the habit I've gotten into. Never had an issue with streching.
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