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Thread: Starching the quilt - Need specific advice....

  1. #1
    Junior Member trugger's Avatar
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    Hi All,
    I just read through some of the previous starch conversations/threads and did not see that anyone had commented on my specific thing.

    Before today, I have used tap water in a spray bottle to wet what i could fit onto the ironing board and pressed.

    I wanted to take it to the next level, so I bought some liquid starch.
    I diluted it in a spray bottle 1:1... and have been spraying that onto some fabric to try it out.

    I let it soak in a while, then press it.

    I have a white residue after pressing.

    I'm confident that I'm doing it wrong and will openly admit it!

    Please, if anyone uses or knows how to use liquid starch, please send me specific directions.

    (sometimes I wonder how I made it this far...)

    -Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member triciasquilts's Avatar
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    I just use the spray starch and find sometimes I will get white residue too. I usually will spray a light mist of water, then the spray starch and this usually doesn't leave the residue. I've never tried the liquid starch. The residue doesn't really bother me because it just brushes off after pressing.

  3. #3
    Super Member pittsburgpam's Avatar
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    I've been reading the starch threads too and wondering about starching the center medalion of a giant dahlia quilt. I'm almost ready to applique it to the background and since it is a 54" circle, would it help to starch it so that I don't get stretching around the circle as I pin it and applique it?

    Right now the curved edge is really nice and not wavy and I did take heed of the directions to not handle it too much so that it doesn't stretch.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trugger
    I let it soak in a while, then press it.

    I have a white residue after pressing.
    The white residue is starch sitting on top of the fabric; it hasn't soaked in.

    If you haven't pre-washed your fabrics, they likely contain finish coatings from the factory that may retard absorption of the starch. I don't pre-wash my fabrics, and this is one of the reasons why I think spray starching doesn't work well for me. I have even scorched the starch!

    If you want to continue spray starching, you may need to spray the entire yardage and roll it up for awhile to allow the starch to be absorbed. Alternatively, you could pre-wash your fabrics before spray starching.

    If the fabrics have been pre-washed and you are having this problem, I will be interested to hear other explanations of what is happening! When you say you let the starch soak in for awhile, how long is awhile?

    If you are starching yardage, you may want to switch to my method of "painting" on the starch solution and then drying in the dryer before ironing. In this case, I am saturating the fabric with water and starch and rolling it up to allow absorpotion before drying. For piecing, I would use more like a 1:2 or 1:3 starch solution (water:starch) for this. I use a 1:1 solution for starching fabrics that are going to be used for machine applique backgrounds and/or for cutting bias strips for binding.

  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pittsburgpam
    I've been reading the starch threads too and wondering about starching the center medalion of a giant dahlia quilt. I'm almost ready to applique it to the background and since it is a 54" circle, would it help to starch it so that I don't get stretching around the circle as I pin it and applique it?

    Right now the curved edge is really nice and not wavy and I did take heed of the directions to not handle it too much so that it doesn't stretch.
    I don't know. With a big piece like that, it seems to me likely that it would become distorted from handling while doing the starching and ironing. Here is a youtube video that shows how to "true up" a block with spray starch:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6aplw_tVZc
    I just don't think you could do this properly with a giant dahlia.

    The ideal would have been to starch the fabric before cutting. This would have resulted in already-stabilized edges.

    I think I would be more inclined to spray baste the entire medallion to the background fabric, making sure that there are no ripples. The spray starches are re-positionable, so it seems to me you could get everything pretty much trued up before taking it to the sewing machine. This would be easier than pinning and re-pinning, IMO. (Caution: I have never done a giant dahlia, so this is armchair speculation!)

  6. #6
    Junior Member Arizona Sunrises's Avatar
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    If the fabrics have been pre-washed and you are having this problem, I will be interested to hear other explanations of what is happening! When you say you let the starch soak in for awhile, how long is awhile?
    Fabric softener added to the rinse cycle?

  7. #7
    Junior Member trugger's Avatar
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    Hi all,
    I appreciate all of this help... I really want this to work!

    I did prewash the fabric with just a small amount of soap.

    No fabric softener.

    I might try the painting on the starch... I wonder... does that get messy?
    :)

  8. #8
    Super Member pittsburgpam's Avatar
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    I didn't know about using starch before cutting until after I was done with the dahlia. :-) I'll try it on the next one.

  9. #9
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    if you starch on the wrong side it doesn't matter. that's what i do and i think others do also.

    i REALLY soak my quilt tops and the starch doesn't come through. give it a try.

  10. #10
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pittsburgpam
    I've been reading the starch threads too and wondering about starching the center medalion of a giant dahlia quilt. I'm almost ready to applique it to the background and since it is a 54" circle, would it help to starch it so that I don't get stretching around the circle as I pin it and applique it?

    Right now the curved edge is really nice and not wavy and I did take heed of the directions to not handle it too much so that it doesn't stretch.
    on the curves the starching would definitely help. i use 50/50 and i have a heavy hand. starch on the wrong side and you shouldn't see any residue. and it's like handling cardboard.

    if it's possible try to iron it on a large flat surface. maybe fold up your board and put it on the floor or something, so the weight of the fabric doesn't cause drag on the curves . the starch will make the dahlia much heavier than it was originally.

  11. #11
    Super Member pittsburgpam's Avatar
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    I'll try it. I am going grocery shopping today and I have it on my list.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trugger
    I might try the painting on the starch... I wonder... does that get messy?
    :)
    Yes, a little, at least the way I do it. I use my kitchen island and use a big house painting brush. Sometimes I saturate both sides of the fabric. After that, I just roll up the fabric and let it sit until I'm ready to toss it in the dryer. I have some old towels that I can use to mop up any excess so the stuff doesn't get on the floor.

    Others might be neater than I am. Mostly I am going for speed, especially since clean-up is so easy.

    If you're vigilant, you may be able to get your fabric out of the dryer while it is still slightly damp. Mine usually comes out crumpled up and stiff as lightweight cardboard, but it irons up beautifully with steam.

  13. #13
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    Quote Originally Posted by pittsburgpam
    I've been reading the starch threads too and wondering about starching the center medalion of a giant dahlia quilt. I'm almost ready to applique it to the background and since it is a 54" circle, would it help to starch it so that I don't get stretching around the circle as I pin it and applique it?

    Right now the curved edge is really nice and not wavy and I did take heed of the directions to not handle it too much so that it doesn't stretch.
    I don't know. With a big piece like that, it seems to me likely that it would become distorted from handling while doing the starching and ironing. Here is a youtube video that shows how to "true up" a block with spray starch:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6aplw_tVZc
    I just don't think you could do this properly with a giant dahlia.



    The ideal would have been to starch the fabric before cutting. This would have resulted in already-stabilized edges.

    I think I would be more inclined to spray baste the entire medallion to the background fabric, making sure that there are no ripples. The spray starches are re-positionable, so it seems to me you could get everything pretty much trued up before taking it to the sewing machine. This would be easier than pinning and re-pinning, IMO. (Caution: I have never done a giant dahlia, so this is armchair speculation!)

    Thank you thank you. I have a border that has some waves in it and I think this will work to fix it. I will let you know if it works. Thanks again.

  14. #14
    Super Member pittsburgpam's Avatar
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    I picked up a can of spray starch just to try it out. I put it on some material that I had washed and dried and ironed with steam. I was thinking I was going to have to totally wet it again because the tiny wrinkles weren't coming out.

    WOW!!! I sprayed the starch on the wrong side and not one wrinkle, it's just stiff enough to have some body, not floppy. I let it soak in good and no residue. How did I ever piece without it? I'm going to use it on the dahlia center to give it some body so I can work with getting it centered and round.

  15. #15
    Junior Member trugger's Avatar
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    I'm not really a dummy, but could you tell me exactly your process?

    like, dilution ratio, how you applied it and everything you did until it was without a wrinkle?

  16. #16
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    I prefer to use the liquid starch mostly for control of stiffness as well as overall cost.

    I mix my starch 1:1 ratio. Yes I do get some flakes but I don't pay any mind to them because eventually they just flake off. Also, I always wash my quilts when I finish them so it doesn't really matter about the flakes anyway.

    I use a garden spray bottle for application. I get the one with the spring in the sprayer head they seem to last longer and the mist can be adjusted easily.

  17. #17
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    everything she said, except i spray the back. love the stuff!

  18. #18
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    I too have used spray starch to stablize fabric in order to control my cutting and stiches. Our PBS station often has Martha Pullen who spray starches the heck out of fabrics and irons them "bone dry". HOWEVER, I did hear someone on one of the quilting instruction shows say that leaving the starch in fabric attracts moths, and my husband did have a cotton pair of dress pants that got moth holes. These had been sent to the cleaners and they used the starch --- Not me!!! I'm too busy with quilting to starch and iron pants. :D

  19. #19
    Super Member lass's Avatar
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    I had never tried starching until I decided to try a Ricky Timms convergence quilt. Because of all the intersecting lines and cutting he recommended medium starch, which is 2 cups starch to 6 cups water. The receipe is on the bottle. I washed the fabric, then soaked it in the starched and dried until damp. It was amazing how straight the smallest piece (1 inch strip) was and almost all my intersections were dead on. I was very pleased with how the starch helped. I wouldn't do it for all quilts, but I will certainly do it when there are alot of small strips or bias' to cut and sew.

  20. #20
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nana2
    I too have used spray starch to stablize fabric in order to control my cutting and stiches. Our PBS station often has Martha Pullen who spray starches the heck out of fabrics and irons them "bone dry". HOWEVER, I did hear someone on one of the quilting instruction shows say that leaving the starch in fabric attracts moths, and my husband did have a cotton pair of dress pants that got moth holes. These had been sent to the cleaners and they used the starch --- Not me!!! I'm too busy with quilting to starch and iron pants. :D
    a lot of members say that starch attracts bugs. mostly silverfish, i think. i sew and store my fabric in a half-finished basement that gets very damp in the summer even though i keep a large dehumidifier running. i only have 2 teeeeny weeeeny little windows up high. i've never had bug problems and don't want any. do you think i should store in plastic bags or plastic bins? i would hate to take everything off the wall shelves.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trugger
    I did prewash the fabric with just a small amount of soap.

    No fabric softener.
    The only thing I can think of is that you are not allowing the starch enough time to soak in. You mentioned doing what fits on the ironing board; my bet is that a minute seems like a long time (and one minute might not be enough).

    I would try spraying the wrong side of the entire fabric piece first, rolling it up to sit for half an hour to an hour, and then ironing. You could also try putting the roll of fabric inside a plastic bag and putting the plastic bag in the frig overnight.

    White flakes means the starch is sitting on the surface of the fabric when you iron. If you don't want to use the above method, I'm thinking the suggestion to mist the fabric with water before spraying with starch might be very helpful. I would mist the entire yardage with water first. There is probably some surface tension on the fabric; using slightly damp fabric when you spray the starch on would likely help it be absorbed into the fabric instead of just sitting on top.

  22. #22
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    I have watched a lot of quilting shows and have heard that storage in plastic boxes and bags should only be for two years, max. I live in Houston, Texas --- a very humid area. I have a lot of fabric in plastic bags and plastic storage containers which are in a spare bedroom. I often rumage around in them and leave the tops off so I have not had any problems --- yet. Now we do run the A/C a lot of days --- not because the temperature is high --- but because the humidity is so high. Personally, I think anytime fabric are closed up in anything for a long period of time, they get a mildew smell. My sister in Austin, Texas (a really dry area) brought me some fabrics which had been stored several years. I let them air out for several days. Sometimes, I just want to give up on house work and do nothing but sew up all the fabric I have then I would not have to worry about storage.

  23. #23
    Super Member pittsburgpam's Avatar
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    I layed out the dahlia on the dining room rug over an old sheet. It's a very flat and dense rug and I can't iron right on the hardwood anyway. I pinned it at all the points and sprayed it with the starch.

    It did really well. I did have a some fullness around the yellow fabric row (for some reason) and I was able to ease it out and then iron the heck out of it. I'm going to let it sit for awhile and maybe starch it again.

    Thank you for the ideas and information.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  24. #24
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Wow, Pam, that's a beautiful dahlia!

  25. #25
    Sally Dolin's Avatar
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    You all know the answer already, putting the starch on the back of the fabric. I use a 50/50 mix and if it really needs to be stiff for one reason or another I just increase the level of starch. One thing I didn't see mentioned was the method of application we use. My partner and I sell pre-washed kits. The kits are pre-cut as well using our accucut machines so we need the fabric stable to assure correct cuts. We use a garden sprayer, the kind with the pump handle. Works like a dream. You will have to remove the diffuser at the opening if you leave the starch in the sprayer and just use a pin to clean out the dried starch. Since we usually wash and iron 30 yards at a time, we also roll and plastic bag the pieces and put them in the freezer. In the refrigerator, if you get busy and don't get to them they will mildew.

    Also for detailed info on using starch to applique. Visit You tube and watch the Sharon Schaumber videos. She is wonderful

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