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Thread: To starch or not to starch?

  1. #1
    Junior Member seazteddy's Avatar
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    To starch or not to starch?

    To starch or not to starch? Wash or not to wash fabric?

  2. #2
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    I definitely wash - removes all the chemicals from the mfg. process, shrinks anything that will, and shows if the fabric is a bleeder. I rarely starch... if I do, I do it when I'm ready to use the fabric. Starch can attract bugs.
    Nancy in western NY
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  3. #3
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    A pre-washer and starcher here as well. In addition to removing the sizing; checking for bleeding; etc. with pre-washing it also gives me the opportunity to iron and refold the fabric more closely on grain vs how it may be on the bolt.

    I use liquid starch mixed at a 50/50 ratio w/water. I prefer the sta-flo brand. Mix up small amounts at a time as I need them. Starch is particularly helpful when dealing with bias edges.

  4. #4
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    I'm not a pre-washer, I starch as NJ Quilter. I've never had a problem with starched fabrics attracting silverfish, so I think if you have a problem with them, you'll still have them starching or not. I also use homemade "best press".

  5. #5
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I only pre-wash reds.
    Sometimes I starch. It depends on the pattern.

  6. #6
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    I soak and wash all (washable) fabrics and battings before cutting them.

    I want to know how the fabric will behave after it has been through the wash.

    By the way, I have had at least one bleeder of every color

    Also, after measuring hundreds of pieces of fabric before and after washing, (yes I really have! ), I have found that the different pieces do not shrink at the same rate or in the same direction.
    Last edited by bearisgray; 04-14-2019 at 04:37 AM.

  7. #7
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    I prewash everything except precuts. It puts the fabrics on the straight of grain, removes chemicals, tells me if a dye is going to run and shrinks the fabrics if they are going to shrink. I don't want any surprises after my quilt is finished. I never starch unless I an doing heirloom embroidery. I wash that after I am done. I do not store anything with starch in it.

  8. #8
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    pre-wash most of the time.

    always starch.
    lots of starch.
    makes it easier to cut, line up, and stitch.
    I Quilt, I Nap, I Quilt Some More ... Aaaaah, The Good Life!

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  9. #9
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    I don’t always pre wash but I use Magic Sizing. I spray it way and then hand it to dry..really cuts down on the messy fraying edges.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  10. #10
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    Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t .

  11. #11
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I don’t prewash and I rarely use starch. It seems everyone has their own opinions, and, in my opinion, there is no right or wrong.
    Lori

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  12. #12
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    I wash all fabric before using; I want it to shrink before it is stitched. I have not investigated traditional starch yet, as I understand you have to let it soak in before pressing, and some methods sound complicated (like soaking fabric and putting in freezer?). I use Best Press when pressing yardage before cutting and when pressing seams.
    Lisa

  13. #13
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    I always wash my fabrics as I have to go thru the laundry room to get into the house so I just drop my fabric in there and wash when I get enough fabrics alike to do laundry. I very rarely starch.

  14. #14
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    As you can see, there are no set rules. I always wash. I want the fabric clean,no smell, no chemicals, no bleeding, shrinkage, and I can see how the fabric handles being washed and dried. I also starch. I like the crispness that starch/sizing gives the fabric/feel when I handle it and sew with it.

  15. #15
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    I prewash everything unless it's smaller than a charm - and so far I've starched almost nothing. I like fabric to feel like fabric, not paper so like no sizing what so ever.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  16. #16
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    I tend to prewash most fabric as I get eczema from chemicals in some fabrics.

    I learned the hard and expensive way to starch when I am planning a quilt that will have bias edges. I finished the quilt I was making, but am not at all happy with the results. It was meant to be a gift, but I could not give it to the recipient.

    No, I am not a perfectionist and do not worry about cut off points etc. The quilt I was making had 8.5 inch blocks, that grew after being squared up. When I squared them up the second time I lost quite of bit of the design that created a beautiful secondary design.

    I have learned that if I need HST in a design I used methods to make them that do not result in bias edges on the outside of the blocks.

    I use homemade starch using cornstarch from a recipe I found online. I make it up as needed for each project.
    Attending University. I will graduate a year after my son and year before my daughter.

  17. #17
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    I prewash sometimes. If the fabric has a loose weave, if it smells funky, feels funky or is a bleeder. I always launder my finished quilts as the final step to completion after the binding. I often starch yardage before cutting. It helps with precise cuts, more accurate blocks. It’s all personal choices- try different methods then decide and do what works for you.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  18. #18
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I prewash nothing and starch nothing. So far so good. I don't have any chemical sensitivities
    Alyce

  19. #19
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    I agree with most everyone on prewashing, fabric shrinks, bleeds and I want any chemicals that remain washed out if possible. I do not starch and have been quilting for 30 plus yrs. I also buy only the best fabric from the quilt shops and you can call me a quilt snob if you wish but that's the way I do it lol

  20. #20
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I prewash all fabrics. I only buy yardage, no precuts. I never starch.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  21. #21
    Super Member liking quilting's Avatar
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    Never have preached but always starch as I'm ready to use fabric. Always wash my finished quilt, so there is no starch left in the finished quilt. Works for me. The more you quilt, you'll find what works for you. No one correct way to do any of this! Do what makes you happy and works for you!
    Mavis

  22. #22
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    I don't prewash or starch. If quilting starts with laundry, I would never get any done. I have enough laundry here. I press with steam, and occasionally use the homemade best press with vodka and water.

  23. #23
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    No to prewash, yes to starch

  24. #24
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    I typically work in scrap quilts and prewash everything, I use an unscented soap. We have good water here, no additives and no softener. When I dry fabrics I don't use dryer sheets either, but the hubby loves the scent on his stuff. I iron the heck out of it but I don't use starch.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    I rarely prewash and starch as needed.

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