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Thread: To starch or not to startch.....

  1. #1
    Senior Member Little RoO's Avatar
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    To starch or not to startch.....

    I am really interested to know how many of you ladies and gents out there starch your fabric first....
    Until today I have never used starch but I am making a large quilt with half square triangle that appeared to have a life of their own and then I remembered that some people use startch to stabilise their fabric.......wow it appears to make life so much easier....

    But can I please ask you some questions...

    1. If you use starch do you use it on all projects?
    2. I starched the fabric before I cut it.....is that correct?
    3. Will it have any effect on my machine if I use it a lot?
    4. Should I wash it out of the quilt before I sandwich it....or when sandwiched or simply leave it in?

    I am using a spray on startch......any advice re the use of it would be gratefully received
    Many thanks

  2. #2
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    I'm a pre-washer and a starcher. I only buy for projects and not for stash. When I iron my fabric after washing, I always use starch. I used to use the spray on starch, and actually guess I still do. But I now buy a liquid concentrate that I mix in a 50/50 solution vs. the readily available canned spray starch. I usually iron the fabric enough to get it warm, spray on the starch, let it sit for a minute or so to let it soak into the fibers of the fabric and then iron it to within an inch of it's life. Then I start cutting. And if the cut/sewn pieces decide to misbehave in the piecing process I starch them some more. Have never had an issue with my (Viking Platinum) machine and the starch. I also hand quilt and don't notice the starch being an issue then either. I wait until the quilt is totally quilted and bound before I wash. Then was the quilt as I would anything else.

    Hope this info helps. I'm sure others will be along shortly with more info/opinions.

  3. #3
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    I starch the snot out of fabric most of the time. precuts and curved pieces the exception. I make my own with the sta flo stuff and can bath the fabric before cutting. I make mine really really heavy starched so it can almost stand up. i find it helps a lot for me. good luck.
    when life gets you down go and talk with a little kid. They will help you work out even the worst problems with their simple logic.

  4. #4
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I'm with Sahm. I starch mine until it's like cardstock. I've never had a machine issue. The starch stays in until the quilt is finished and then I wash the quilt.

  5. #5
    Super Member moonwork42029's Avatar
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    Oh yeah...stiff as a piece of metal. Took me a while to find out this trick but it's well worth it.

    My Dad will iron for me and he gets it pretty stiff .

    I just special ordered some from our local little store as Walmart doesn't carry the Sta-flo any more
    Lisa L.
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  6. #6
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    I've been using starch for many many years- started sewing clothes way back in the mid 60's...we always starched our fabrics before cutting- it does not mess up your machine at all- nothing to worry about- I have always washed finished items --- quilts after the quilting/binding, clothes after the last seam, button, zipper- what ever finishes the item- just to get rid of any marks I may have made, any oil, soil, starch-what ever from making it in the first place- (clothes often were re-starched after laundering- if they needed it- some tops still get starched/ironed after laundering) and---I've been using good ole' Niagra spray starch for 50+ years- if you like using it- go ahead & use it is my feelings about it. I've never experienced any negative issue from starching my fabric.
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  7. #7
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    I starch before I cut -- and these days I am washing almost all my fabric. I hate ironing, but that is of course a necessity (sigh). I starch squares moderately, but if I am making any kind of diagonal cuts (HST's, etc) I llike them STIFF). Also, if I am going to fussy cut where it won't be on grain, it is a board. I had used the Niagra spray starch (non-aerosol ) but the odor kept me from working for long periods at a time. I switched to Sta-Flo + water, the odor is minimal and I can iron as long as I can stand.
    QuiltnLady1

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  8. #8
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    I'm going to try the stay flo liq before I cut see if it makes a diff!!
    Thanks all!!

  9. #9
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    I'm a fairly new quilter but quickly found that it's so much easier to cut and piece with starched, stiff fabric. I really like BEST PRESS, but it's kinda expensive, so I use the Niagra non-aerosol spray (less than $2 at Walmart). I like the smell! I starch before cutting, after sewing each seam, and then the entire top before basting/quilting. It softens up once the project is completed, so I don't really have to wash the quilt when finished.
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  10. #10
    Super Member jeanharville's Avatar
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    I'm new to quilting too and I didn't want to take the time to starch. Well, I've changed my mind. I get much better results in cutting straight and in squaring up. I will be starching from now on. I've decided that I just can't take any shortcuts in the prep work.
    jean

  11. #11
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    I usually only use starch on my applique pieces when turning the edges under before stitching. Going to have to try the starching before cutting method.

  12. #12
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    I pre-wash and starch all my fabrics before making anything. Different fabrics will shrink at different rates. If you prewash you take care of any wonkiness that may occur. I use sta-flo so that I can make it as light or strong as I need. I don't worry about the starch flaking as I iron because the flakes always come off as you work with the fabric AND all the starch will be gone with the first wash.
    Crashnquilt


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  13. #13
    Gay
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    Senior Member Gay's Avatar
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    I find starched fabrics better to work with, sharper rotary cutting, easier diagonal cuts, the shapes sit better when sewing, and even when quilting with the LA is smoother. Aerosol starch becomes too expensive, so I bought a jar of powdered starch from the supermarket & make up enough to use in a spray bottle. You can mix it stronger than the aerosol stuff.

  14. #14
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    My mother never starched any quilt fabric so I did the same until I had a large number of half square triangles. It has made all the difference in the world to my cutting. The pieces go together so much better. I am not a believer in starch especially if you have bias edges. I would not worry about your machine or washing the pieces unless you are going to store the finished project for a long time.
    Carol

  15. #15
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    I pre-wash my fabrics and use the starch cycle on my Miele washing machine. Since you are in the UK, you are more likely to have this option. It is very convenient.

  16. #16
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    I don't prewash my fabrics, although I used to. Here's my answers:
    But can I please ask you some questions...

    1. If you use starch do you use it on all projects? yes, I starch my fabrics that I'll be using a minimum of 2 hours before I plan on using, then I either air dry or dry in the dryer a few minutes. If you simply starch, then iron, you're "ironing" the starch, not the fabric, which is why your iron will get all yucky.

    2. I starched the fabric before I cut it.....is that correct? yes
    3. Will it have any effect on my machine if I use it a lot? never had a problem with starching affecting my machine.
    4. Should I wash it out of the quilt before I sandwich it....or when sandwiched or simply leave it in? I don't wash the quilt until after I finish binding it.

    I am using a spray on startch......any advice re the use of it would be gratefully received-I use Sta-Flo concentrated starch and mix it 50/50. It's a lot cheaper than the canned spray starch, goes a lot farther and is more "environmentally suited. You can also find recipes for making your own homemade starch, which I don't do, since I try to stay as far away from the stove as I can. LOL

  17. #17
    Power Poster ube quilting's Avatar
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    I am from the W & S school. Wash the fabric, dry to damp dry, press it dry.

    Make starch from Niagara concentrate to medium. I starch after I cut the amount needed and before I sub cut it into strips or squares.
    Example: If I need four 2" wide strips @ WOF I will cut a piece of fabric a little bigger than 8" wide for squaring, then I starch that piece of fabric then sub cut it into 2"wide strips.

    Starch on back of material. LET IT SOAK IN TO GET ALL THE FIBERS INVOLVED. Press and then starch a second time.

    What a difference in control. There should be no problems with starch and your machine.

    Only wash tops after they have been quilted and binding is done. You don't have to wash the starch out of the quilt if you don't want to.
    peace
    Last edited by ube quilting; 05-28-2013 at 04:13 PM.
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  18. #18
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
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    I am also a great believer in starch. To add to what has been said already, as I was reading Heirloom Machine Quilting again yesterday, Harriet Hargrave recommends starching your backing as well, as it can help to reduce the drag on your quilt as you move it around.

    Cheers, K

  19. #19
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    I didn't used to starch until I started doing a BOM with nothing but HSTs. Read the trick about starching and now I starch as I press the HSTs. Made working with them a dream and makes my blocks much more precise. I just use spray starch that I buy at the Dollar Store.

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