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Thread: Using Starch

  1. #26
    Power Poster Mariposa's Avatar
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    I have always used Magic Sizing, and it works well. It is also inexpensive. About a dollar a can at Wal-Mart. Have never had a yellowing problem.
    If you want to spend more $$, Mary Ellen's Best Press is nice. Comes in several scents too. :)

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonpi
    People have been using starch for centuries with no problems. In fact,old table linens that were heavily starched, are generally in better shape than clothing of the same vintage, which was not.
    I would have to agree with this. I have tons and tons of doilies in my cedar chest, made by my grandmother. She had a heart condition and had to lie down most of the day. She was never without some kind of handwork, mostly crocheting doilies. I have HUNDREDS of doilies. Someday I'm going to incorporate them into quilts, but for now, there they sit. And they look as good a the day she made them some 70 years ago.

  3. #28
    Super Member greaterexp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackberry
    Quote Originally Posted by Surfergirl
    I know this topic has been discussed recently, but I just found some info online concerning the use of starch when quilting. Everyone loves it, of course, but starch is a protein and attracts bugs, silverfish, in particular, and washing doesn't totally remove it as it is deep into the fibers after pressing. Also, over time, starch will "yellow" fabric. It has been suggested that using Magic Sizing spray instead of starch works well and it doesn't flake or build up on the iron. Any thoughts on this subject?
    I am new to quilting and so far I have only made 4 or 9 patch blocks and quilted them SID. Why do you use starch at all. What is the purpose
    I've never used starch before reading about it here. I read that it helps decrease the amount of stretching or distortion when cutting and the stiffness it creates makes cutting accurately much easier. I tried it on my most recent quilt, a flannel one, and found that it worked very well. It is my most accurate quilt so far (despite many seams to match), and I plan to keep using starch or sizing from here on out. I'm sending the quilt to Illinois, where it is hot and humid and there are plenty of bugs, but I'll wash it first to remove the starch - so it's soft for the baby, and in case the starch would attract any critters.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by greaterexp

    I've never used starch before reading about it here. I read that it helps decrease the amount of stretching or distortion when cutting
    Be careful though. If you iron while it's still damp, it can create distortion.

  5. #30
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I agree, for clothing it is not an issue, but for fabric it can be.
    If you distort your fabric initially and then cut and sew, when the fabric is washed and dryed it will go back to it's original form and your quilt can distort.
    I spray my fabric and let it dry, then iron to get the wrinkles out. You can use steam if the fabric is stiff, and it shouldn't distort the fabric, unless you get really aggressive with it.

  6. #31
    Junior Member scrappycats's Avatar
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    had a thought and had to come back
    I make my spray starch by mixing water and liquid starch and dropping in a drop or two of essential oil. If you are worried about bugs, use some lavender or cedar oil in your spray. It just takes a drop or two.

  7. #32
    Super Member kristen0112's Avatar
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    thank you for the info I didn't know this about starch

  8. #33
    cc
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    I use Sta-Flo liquid starch that I dilute with water so it's half starch, half water. I have not had any problems with flaking since I switched from the spray starch in the can. :-D

  9. #34
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cc
    I use Sta-Flo liquid starch that I dilute with water so it's half starch, half water. I have not had any problems with flaking since I switched from the spray starch in the can. :-D
    I used to do that but don't use it that often, so had it get congealed in the bottle and wouldn't shake back to normal, so threw it out and stopped using starch. I have canned spray starch but don't use it often because I don't like the schmutz on the iron. Just another thing to clean.

  10. #35
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    I had a friend who starched some 30's reproduction fabrics for her pinwheels and starch turn the color is some. I will use magic sizing, but not starch.

  11. #36
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    I do not use starch/magic sizing at all. The only fabrics I prewash are batiks, blacks, and red. I purchase all my fabric at quilt shops. Even if I do happen to prewash I still do not use starch. Why do you use starch? When you prewash you are washing out the starch.

  12. #37
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    I actually don't iron or starch my fabric until I'm ready to use it. I wash it and fold it up and put in the designated plastic bin until ready to use.

  13. #38
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    I have used magic sizing since I was a teenager and I don't think I have ever used starch. Good to know.

  14. #39
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    OK, Here is a little known fact. I used to work at a Dry cleaners and I learned a thing or two. One of them is....
    Never wear a blouse/sweater/shirt out to dinner and then hang it back up in the closet. Moths do not eat wool/silk etc. What is eaten are minute' food particles left over from the meal you ate. The moths lay eggs on the garmet and when they hatch the larva eat the particles of food and unfortunately the threads they are attached to. Cedar smells good, moth balls smell bad. Guess what? Moths can't smell. Well actually that's not quite true. They can if you smell like another moth...LOL
    I prefer sizing to starch, just a personal thing for me. I doubt that your quilts would get eaten by moths if you use starch on the fabric. I'm thinking that if they did, our grandmothers and mothers quilts would be in tiny pieces by now. This is just my opinion you understand. Oh and the other thing.... Don't eat when your piecing/quilting. But if you do, wash the quilt when you finish it and you shouldn't have any problems with Moths.
    :XD:

  15. #40
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewcrafty
    I actually don't iron or starch my fabric until I'm ready to use it. I wash it and fold it up and put in the designated plastic bin until ready to use.
    Same here...I think the pest problems can arise if it is starched then stored for long periods.

  16. #41
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    Thank you for the information. God bless.

  17. #42
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by granniebj
    I've never used either. I plan to tho. I was wondering what kind everyone preferred since I have no clue!
    I started with starch, and it cost me an ironing board cover when I made a burgundy and cream project. The starch caused bleeding in the burgundy, and when I tried sizing, no problem. My problem could have been bad color in the burgundy, but using sizing fixed it. Now I just use sizing since I am a bug-o-phobe!

  18. #43
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    I use liquid starch and mix it 5 parts water to 1 part starch in a spray bottle, sure cheaper that the canned.

  19. #44
    Power Poster ube quilting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKrenning
    I use both--Magic Sizing on light fabrics and starch on all others and have never had a bug problem since MIL moved out. Her junk food attracted bugs. They all seem to have followed her.

    I'm not patient enough to use starch on lights so end up scorching it--even the non-scorching type.

    Wool is a different story. It will be eaten very quickly if you don't keep up with the moth crystals or cedar shavings.
    Cedar chips is another story. They will discolor anything if they are left together for months. never let cedar touch any material. always have a barrier between cedar and any material even in a cedar chest. In our modern age of cleanliness I don't think starch is to much of a problem. I still prefer Magic Sizing. Why take the chance!

  20. #45
    Super Member Evie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catrancher
    Quote Originally Posted by Moonpi
    People have been using starch for centuries with no problems. In fact,old table linens that were heavily starched, are generally in better shape than clothing of the same vintage, which was not.
    I would have to agree with this. I have tons and tons of doilies in my cedar chest, made by my grandmother. She had a heart condition and had to lie down most of the day. She was never without some kind of handwork, mostly crocheting doilies. I have HUNDREDS of doilies. Someday I'm going to incorporate them into quilts, but for now, there they sit. And they look as good a the day she made them some 70 years ago.
    I also agree. I have a steamer trunk filled with my mom's heavily-starched crocheted doilies and embroidered scraves and have no problems with bugs or discoloration over, I would guess, 20 or 25 years or more. If there's a bug problem it must be caused by something other than the starch.

  21. #46
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    have never used starch on quilt fabric and would not but have got many many tablecloths/napkins etc that have been blue bagged, starched, ironed and stored for many years in a trunk with no ill effect-------the only problem that I have known with starched fabric is if it gets damp it will mildew badly .

  22. #47
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    I have to share this. I completed a 3-day Harriet Hargrave workshop and I'll pass on what she has to say on the subject of starch vs. spray sizing, or Mary Ellen's Best Pressed (my personal favorite until now). She is a well-informed teacher, lecturer and a proponent of cutting all quilting pieces on the grain. About 50 years of quilting, and being a shop owner, teacher/lecturer has proven her method works. To achieve her method, quilters are instructed make a cut at the fold and tear the fabric from the fold to both selveges. Steam press the unfolded fabric absolutely smooth. Then carefully line up the selveges and match the torn edges with an expected fold along the lengthwise grain of the fabric. Now using spray starch, lightly apply and keep these edges together starting at the selvege and easing any excess toward the folded edge with a dry iron. Lightly apply more starch as needed. She told us that starch has an additive that "relaxes the fabric" and no other product has this additive. Using sizing or Best Press is fine after the fabric is straightened, pressing to set seams, etc., though she personally prefers to use only starch. She recommends "Faultless" brand above all others.

    I have to tell you that straightening the grain before cutting fabric makes a world of difference in the ease of sewing blocks. I have always relied on using plenty of pins, but I didn't have to use pins hardly at all and my points were fabulous. My 4-patch and 9-patch units were perfect. The seams line up and nest together like gangbusters.

    6 members from our local quilt guild took her class and we were all amazed and will follow her method from now on.

    Now, I did go to the $ Store this afternoon, and bought 2 cans of Niagara Heavy Duty spray starch for a$1.15, and 2 cans of Magic Spray Sizing because that was the brand they had on the shelves. And I will continue to use the Best Best lavender. I love it, but for straightening fabric, I'll go with Harriet's recommendation and stick with Niagara Heavy Duty.

    If any of you ever have an opportunity to take her Freshman Class workshop, check it out. $95 for two 8-hour sessions, plus the purchase of the book, which also included a sandwich bar the first day and chef salads the second day at a local quilt shop. The shop owner provided that lunch as part of the workshop. Harriet lives in a western suburb of Denver. CO. She has a website so anyone interested could check her schedule. It was money well spent.

    I've read many of the messages with interest but this is my first time jumping in with any infomation. Please excuse the wordiness of my posting. I'm an enthusiastic supporter of Harriet's method and thought others might be interested.

  23. #48
    Super Member quiltmaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grayladym
    I have to share this. I completed a 3-day Harriet Hargrave workshop and I'll pass on what she has to say on the subject of starch vs. spray sizing, or Mary Ellen's Best Pressed (my personal favorite until now). She is a well-informed teacher, lecturer and a proponent of cutting all quilting pieces on the grain. About 50 years of quilting, and being a shop owner, teacher/lecturer has proven her method works. To achieve her method, quilters are instructed make a cut at the fold and tear the fabric from the fold to both selveges. Steam press the unfolded fabric absolutely smooth. Then carefully line up the selveges and match the torn edges with an expected fold along the lengthwise grain of the fabric. Now using spray starch, lightly apply and keep these edges together starting at the selvege and easing any excess toward the folded edge with a dry iron. Lightly apply more starch as needed. She told us that starch has an additive that "relaxes the fabric" and no other product has this additive. Using sizing or Best Press is fine after the fabric is straightened, pressing to set seams, etc., though she personally prefers to use only starch. She recommends "Faultless" brand above all others.

    I have to tell you that straightening the grain before cutting fabric makes a world of difference in the ease of sewing blocks. I have always relied on using plenty of pins, but I didn't have to use pins hardly at all and my points were fabulous. My 4-patch and 9-patch units were perfect. The seams line up and nest together like gangbusters.

    6 members from our local quilt guild took her class and we were all amazed and will follow her method from now on.

    Now, I did go to the $ Store this afternoon, and bought 2 cans of Niagara Heavy Duty spray starch for a$1.15, and 2 cans of Magic Spray Sizing because that was the brand they had on the shelves. And I will continue to use the Best Best lavender. I love it, but for straightening fabric, I'll go with Harriet's recommendation and stick with Niagara Heavy Duty.

    If any of you ever have an opportunity to take her Freshman Class workshop, check it out. $95 for two 8-hour sessions, plus the purchase of the book, which also included a sandwich bar the first day and chef salads the second day at a local quilt shop. The shop owner provided that lunch as part of the workshop. Harriet lives in a western suburb of Denver. CO. She has a website so anyone interested could check her schedule. It was money well spent.

    I've read many of the messages with interest but this is my first time jumping in with any infomation. Please excuse the wordiness of my posting. I'm an enthusiastic supporter of Harriet's method and thought others might be interested.

    I'm new too and am just starting to post after lurking for quite a long time. Thank you for your informative post. I also love Mary Ellen's Best Press in lavender!

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