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Thread: Starching: When and Why?

  1. #1
    grammynan's Avatar
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    I'm new to this board and relatively new to quilting so I'm sorry if this is a repeat topic...

    Could you all explain the subject of starching?

    Thank you!
    Nancy

  2. #2
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    In my case, the answer is everything because it makes it easier to sew.

    I starch things super stiff before I cut. It makes it easier to cut. If you do anything cut on the bias, it helps eliminate pulling.

    When sewing, fabric edges seem easier to align if they are starched heavily.

    When doing applique, I starch the background into cardboard and don't have to use any stabilizer.

  3. #3
    grammynan's Avatar
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    Oh, and what method of starching to you use? Spray or what?

  4. #4
    Super Member QBeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grammynan
    Oh, and what method of starching to you use? Spray or what?
    Good questions!

  5. #5
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I spray but there are other folks on the board who do it in other ways. I buy the big jug of starch and mix it myself in a spray bottle.

    Some people seldom if ever starch. Like most things in quilting, I think you just have to try a few things and see what works for you.

  6. #6
    thismomquilts's Avatar
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    I agree - it's a personal preference. I buy the jugs of starch also and mix my own (the other was just getting too expensive!). I don't spray it so much that it's stiff as much as to get it unwrninkled and neat enough to cut correctly. Sometimes I don't mix just right - and it's stiffer than I like but normally just enough to get the wrinkles out.

  7. #7
    Super Member QBeth's Avatar
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    I took a paper piecing class once and one of the ladies had starched her fat quarters so much, she could hold them straight out and level using only two fingers! Now, that's dedication!

  8. #8
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    I use Mary Ellen's spray startch and always spray when I finish a block...if I have bias edges its good to starch also...sure helps

  9. #9
    Senior Member annmarie's Avatar
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    Lisa - doesn't all that starch make the quilt stiff or do you wash it out after? I can see using it for wall quilts but for bed quilts too???????

  10. #10
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Starch washes right out. You can starch it stiff as a board and even have flakes if you get carried away, but once you wash it everything is nice and soft again.

    At least it is so far, I'm no expert.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Bluphrog's Avatar
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    I was told that you should always use spray starch if you pre-wash your fabrics, but you don't need to if you don't. I guess because pre-washing takes out the sizing that the manufacturers include in their process. Also, Harriet Hargrave recommends using a very light spray starch when you are pressing while you are constructing your blocks. Your seams lay flatter and make it much easier to stitch in the ditch when you are quilting.

    If you do use spray starch, you need to wash the quilt if it isn't going to be used right away, because it attracts bugs.

  12. #12
    Super Member SherriB's Avatar
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    I am a heavy starch convert! :lol: I love how easy my fabric is to cut and my seams line up much better when I starch. I love the Niagra spray starch but my try the kind you mix yourself. I just bought a gallon of Mary Ellen's Best from Joann's for $21, tax and shipping made it $29.00 I am going to save it for special quilt projects.

  13. #13
    Super Member craftiladi's Avatar
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    " am a heavy starch convert! I love how easy my fabric is to cut and my seams line up much better when I starch. I love the Niagra spray starch "

    SherriB...ditto....I didn't realize how much easier starch would make cutting, folding over my 1/4 seams...everything is just so much easier and now I think back to all the time I never thought to use starch. Live N Learn what you like and don't like is alot of learning quilting.
    dee-soaking up the wonderful knowledge-thank-you

  14. #14
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Before the ladies on the board told me to starch my fabric, I though starch was just for keeping your basketball shoes from sliding!!

  15. #15
    grammynan's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your useful information. I'll give it a try!

  16. #16
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    Hi, thanks for starting this thread as I was wondering about starching also.

    Karen

  17. #17
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I starch all of my fabrics pretty heavily.
    It keeps my borders and quilt edges from rippling, while PP I can finger press. When sewing strips together I don't have any problems with them bowing either. I have not yet found a problem with using my stiff fabrics :wink: But I can list many more benefits to starching.
    I have gone through my starched fabrics and have not seen any sign of bugs, but I think it can be more of a regional issue.

  18. #18
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    I starch, and just use Niagra Spray Starch. It makes cutting and matching seams and sides so much easier.

  19. #19
    Super Member lisalovesquilting's Avatar
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    I like to use sizing. I makes fabric easier to cut but not stiff. Although if you spray more than once it will get stiffer. Also if I don't wash a quilt right away it is O.K.

  20. #20
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaR
    I use Mary Ellen's spray startch and always spray when I finish a block...if I have bias edges its good to starch also...sure helps
    I used to use hers, but now I make my own. Much cheaper.

  21. #21
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oklahoma Suzie
    Quote Originally Posted by LindaR
    I use Mary Ellen's spray startch and always spray when I finish a block...if I have bias edges its good to starch also...sure helps
    I used to use hers, but now I make my own. Much cheaper.
    do you use liquid starch to make your own...I love the smells of Mary Ellen

    :lol:

  22. #22
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    I was at a quilt workshop last week and subject of starch came up. Many of us said we used Mary Ellen's Best Press. I really like and so does my hubby when he has to iron a shirt....maybe I ought to hide it just for quilting....One of the ladies said, why would you buy Mary Ellen's at the high price, there is a recipe for her starch on the internet....QNNTV or something. Has anyone see this recipe. By the way, $29 was a great price for a gallon. You can get the spray bottle at Hancock's for $4.99 if you would to try it. No Flakes! this is why the hubby likes it.
    D in TX

  23. #23
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    I've been looking for the gallon size....use alot of it...did you know that if you let regular spray starch sit for a minute and soak in you will get no flakes...another of those tidbits at a quilt class LOL

  24. #24
    Super Member dglvr's Avatar
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    Thanks for all that info. I just started starching stuff too. Its really a good habit to get into. Instead of grabbing my water bottle I grab the starch. The quilter likes it when people use starch too. Huh Shelley. :thumbup:

  25. #25
    Senior Member zkosh's Avatar
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    Okay, I am going to try using starch. I can sure see the benefits from what everyone has said.

    My question is whether you starch the fabric before cutting it out. I'm guessing it would be more manageable then, but does it take long? I'm always short of time, but maybe it saves time in the long run.

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