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Thread: Storing starched quilt tops?

  1. #1
    Junior Member J.M.'s Avatar
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    Storing starched quilt tops?

    I'm going to be starting with the Quilters Academy books by Harriet Hargrave to learn machine piecing and quilting - I've been doing everything by hand so far. But the method in the first book (and probably also the others) are to make the center of the top, then do all the borders in one of the last chapters, and only then start quilting them all. This means I'll be storing the tops until I've worked my way through the book - which will take me a year or more, probably more. Since the fabrics will be starched, I'm worried about storing the tops for so long. How can I best store them without damage by possible bugs attracted by the starch - and whatever else I have to worry about?

  2. #2
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
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    I wonder if placing them in a rubbermaid container would work. I've had dear jane fabrics, some of which were starched (probably for a very long time since people sent me their scraps) and I've not had any issues with bugs.
    OVER THE RAINBOW JANE is the name of my Dear Baby Jane----though it should be poor, neglected & may never ever be finished baby jane!
    http://retrofabulous-retro.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    If you use Best Press you won't have any bug problems. You can order it from JoAnn's with a 50% off coupon and that makes it more reasonable.

  4. #4
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I've stored my starched fabric/blocks in Rubbermaid totes without problem.

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    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    I'm storing in a fold flat suitcase. First I saw was for a wedding dress, Amazon, with different sizes. It also included acid free tissue which is the sort for storing antique quilts in. I did find an other with stripes. When not in use fold flat under bed etc. when open they have plenty of room without pressing or creasing too much.
    Finished is better than a UFO

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    Junior Member J.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    If you use Best Press you won't have any bug problems. You can order it from JoAnn's with a 50% off coupon and that makes it more reasonable.
    That won't work, as I'm not in the US. I have a spray can of starch already, but as I've never used starch before I have no idea if I'll have problems with it.

  7. #7
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Actually, Best Press does contain starch. I was wondering about the effectiveness of moth balls. Are they even still available to purchase?

    Another option might be to use sizing instead of starch.

  8. #8
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    are bugs a problem where you live, or are you just worried about something you've read?
    I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health - Voltaire

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    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I have had zero bug problems with stored starch fabric in MN and WI, whose climate is similar to that of the Netherlands. The only time bugs are really a problem, I think, is when you live in a very hot and humid climate (perhaps Florida, the Virgin Islands, etc.).

    Honestly, unless you've actually seen bugs in your house, I would just store the starched tops in a covered plastic tub and not worry about bugs.

  10. #10
    Senior Member quiltin-nannie's Avatar
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    So, why can't you just quilt the tops as you finish them?
    Julie
    Good friends are like stars; you don't always see them, but you know they're always there!

  11. #11
    Junior Member Suzette316's Avatar
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    I live in Georgia (hot and humid in the summer) and I starch using a homemade formula (corn starch and water). I have never had a problem with bugs when I've stored starched fabric. I'm not saying it's not possible to have a problem, but in ten years of storing starched fabric, I haven't yet. Still, if it concerns you I would try the rubbermaid container idea. Sounds like a good way to keep the top fresh all the way around.

  12. #12
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    there can be numerous reasons. I don't think anyone should have to explain. We all do things our own way.
    I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health - Voltaire

  13. #13
    Junior Member J.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DebraK View Post
    are bugs a problem where you live, or are you just worried about something you've read?
    As far as I know, bugs are not a problem where I live, but everything I’ve read warns against storing starched fabric as the starch attracts bugs. So that’s where the question came from.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    I have had zero bug problems with stored starch fabric in MN and WI, whose climate is similar to that of the Netherlands. The only time bugs are really a problem, I think, is when you live in a very hot and humid climate (perhaps Florida, the Virgin Islands, etc.).

    Honestly, unless you've actually seen bugs in your house, I would just store the starched tops in a covered plastic tub and not worry about bugs.
    Good to know that in a ‘low-bug’ climate like here it’s not such a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by quiltin-nannie View Post
    So, why can't you just quilt the tops as you finish them?
    If you follow the course laid out in the book, you make multiple tops throughout the book, but don’t attach any borders until one of the last chapters. No border = no quilting. So that’s why. And the way the book’s laid out, this approach does make sense, as your skills build up throughout the lessons in the different chapters. I don’t want to jump ahead, so that means storing tops.

    I like the Rubbermaid container idea – or in my case a similar plastic box with lid. It will keep the tops safe, dry, and also dust-free. Bonus for keeping (possible) bugs out . Thanks for the input!

  14. #14
    Super Member wanda lou's Avatar
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    I always use Best Press.
    Never look down on anyone, unless you are helping them up.

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    I love those books - they contain a wealth of information. That is another one of my retirement goals. I want to make the quilts in those books - when finished a person will have a lot of knowledge and practice! I think a new book should be out in a couple months!

  16. #16
    Junior Member J.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nammie to 7 View Post
    I love those books - they contain a wealth of information. That is another one of my retirement goals. I want to make the quilts in those books - when finished a person will have a lot of knowledge and practice! I think a new book should be out in a couple months!
    I read on the blog that the 5th volume is nearly ready to send to the publisher, and they expect that it will be available in the summer of 2014.

  17. #17
    Super Member mike'sgirl's Avatar
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    You can put little sachets that deter moths and bugs in the bin with the quilt tops. They work best in an airtight container. I've bought them at Walmart before.

  18. #18
    Senior Member quiltin-nannie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.M. View Post
    If you follow the course laid out in the book, you make multiple tops throughout the book, but don’t attach any borders until one of the last chapters. No border = no quilting. So that’s why. And the way the book’s laid out, this approach does make sense, as your skills build up throughout the lessons in the different chapters. I don’t want to jump ahead, so that means storing tops.
    Ok, thanks for the explanation! I just thought that quilting as you get them done would make your life easier, but I understand now why you won't be doing that. Makes sense to me!
    Julie
    Good friends are like stars; you don't always see them, but you know they're always there!

  19. #19
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I live in the Pacific NW in a cool and damp climate, and have had problems with both silverfish and moths eating through bins of clothing that were stored in Rubbermaid containers. These clothing items were not starched.

    I think if it were me, I might store the tops sealed in ziplock-type bags and take them out once a month or so for a good shake.

  20. #20
    Senior Member cizzors's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm not thinking deep enough but if bugs are attracted to starch, what the heck do you (in general) do with your ironing board/table, carpet/rug, walls or anything else in the room that gets hit with starch? Was doing my hair the other day which literally takes 3 minutes and when I walked out of the bathroom and seen the sun rays shining in the bedroom about 7' away, the hairspray was floating everywhere. Guess I just don't get how to control an aresol spray.
    Never outsmart your common sense.

    Karen

  21. #21
    Super Member kitsykeel's Avatar
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    I have stored pieces of starched fabric in airtight containers for a period of time and when I opened it they smelled awful. Had to wash them before I could use them. Won't do that anymore.
    Kitsy

  22. #22
    QM
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    I have been told that spray sizing does not have a bug problem (because it is non0organic) However, storing in any sealed container would probably prevent a problem anyway.

  23. #23
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    We used to put Bay Leaves in with our fabric that was starched. It worked!
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  24. #24
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitsykeel View Post
    I have stored pieces of starched fabric in airtight containers for a period of time and when I opened it they smelled awful. Had to wash them before I could use them. Won't do that anymore.
    This is common in warmer or wet climates. The person who started this thread is in the Netherlands, similar climate to the northern part of the midwest (US). Airtight tubs in a cool, dry place won't usually smell if everything placed in it is completely dry and it's not exposed to extreme temperature changes like an attic.
    OVER THE RAINBOW JANE is the name of my Dear Baby Jane----though it should be poor, neglected & may never ever be finished baby jane!
    http://retrofabulous-retro.blogspot.com

  25. #25
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    I have tops that have been stored for years and have had no problems with bugs. I would tuck them into old pillow cases and put them on a top shelf of a closet.

    Putting them in a plastic container can cause moisture problems because humidity can't escape.

    Moth balls are another questionable item. They are very poisonous and smelly. They will discolor fabric and the odor my not come out.

    have fun in your adventure with HH. Amazing
    peace
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

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