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Thread: Using Starch

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    Super Member Surfergirl's Avatar
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    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?

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    Super Member MinnieKat's Avatar
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    I've also heard that Magic Sizing is better to use than spray starch.

  3. #3
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I really do not have a bug concern, living in a cold climate, and never found any evidence of silverfish. I have been starching for years and not had a yellowing issue. It will be interesting to see if others have had yellowing.

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    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    All of the quilts that I make are used often, frequently washed, so I am pretty sure that the starch isn't going to be a problem.
    I don't think it would linger in the fabrics after a couple of washings. I give mine an extra rinse to make sure that it is all out, and the quilts are nice and soft :D:D:D

  5. #5
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    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.

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    Junior Member scrappycats's Avatar
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    I know we are supposed to be quilting for future generations, but really cannot find it within me to worry about it yellowing a few decades from now. I just can't see my quilts being in a museum or whatever 100 years from now and someone saying if only she had not used starch. LOL I will not give up my starch!

    When making quilts, I am making sure they are washable, even the hand quilted ones. The hand quilted ones have lots and lots of stitches closely spaced to make them washable. Surely any starch would come out eventually. Plus, now days all you gotta do is add those non-chlorine bleach additives that will take out the yellow.

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    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    I've always used Magic Sizing. It does a great job on my blocks. It makes them easier to handle and to sew together. I don't think I've ever used starch. I know that way-back-when, I deliberately made a decision against starch and for the sizing but for the life of me, I now can't remember why I chose sizing in the first place.

  8. #8
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    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'm not really sure that your source is correct. Yellowing on old textiles is often from dust and smoke. Before electricity, homes relied on burning gas-oil-kerosene for light and wood and coal for heat. Add tobacco smoke, and even modern fabrics will yellow, regardless of starching.

    Starch DOES wash out, or else accumulated starch would have commercial linens stiff as boards! That is one strange theory!

    I starch on the wrong side of blocks, and keep the iron temperature appropriate to minimize flaking. No problems, and no problems with bugs, either. Can I blame starch on the tiny lizards getting in the house?

  9. #9
    Super Member dglvr's Avatar
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    I use starch all the time and never had a problem. I never noticed any left overs on my projects after washing it. I'm always hearing about bugs too but never had that problem either. I'll keep using starch.

    :thumbup:

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    Super Member Juliebelle's Avatar
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    I am a big fan of Magic Sizing, it works great for me and I was also told when I first started quilting that starch attracts bugs. I am in NC and we have lots of bugs here so better not to take chances.

  11. #11
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    I've never used either. I plan to tho. I was wondering what kind everyone preferred since I have no clue!

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    Super Member Surfergirl's Avatar
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    I live in Florida and was concerned about the "bug" issue. I'm not concerned that the starch might cause a yellowing of the fabric. I just read this info online this morning and thought I would get your opinions...thanks for responding. I'm rather new at quilting and have never used starch, but it would be a great help to make the fabric easier to work with. I think I'll try the Magic Sizing first.

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    I dont understand why starch will attract bugs but the chocolate stash I keep in my sewing room dosnt? Someone please let me know?

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    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mygirl66
    I dont understand why starch will attract bugs but the chocolate stash I keep in my sewing room dosnt? Someone please let me know?
    Starch attracts bugs because they like corn too. Starch is made from corn.

    Mary Ellen's Best Press doesn't attract bugs since it's an alternative starch.

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    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    ok, I'm coming to your house to raid the chocolate, lol lol

    Quote Originally Posted by mygirl66
    I dont understand why starch will attract bugs but the chocolate stash I keep in my sewing room dosnt? Someone please let me know?

  16. #16
    Super Member Surfergirl's Avatar
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    I also read that sizing is made for synthetic fabrics, whereas starch is suitable for natural fabrics, i.e., cottons, etc. Silverfish love starch. I've seen them in our attic and garage...they eat the glue from the stored boxes, etc.

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    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mygirl66
    I dont understand why starch will attract bugs but the chocolate stash I keep in my sewing room dosnt? Someone please let me know?
    ROFL - LOL

  18. #18
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    Every thing I have been reading that mentions silverfish eating starch is talking about paste which is made out of wheat flour not corn flour. The little buggers love wallpaper paste and the paste that holds layers of cardboard together. Also the glue that holds books together and the paper on some types of insulation seem to attract the buggers. I think corn starch might actually act as a dessicant (drying agent like talcum powder) and cause them severe discomfort. They like moisture and cornstarch absorbs moisture.

    One article did talk about fabric but it was talking about a different kind of bug that eats rayon and may damage cotton in it's quest for rayon but can't digest cotton.

    So, feel free to starch your fabrics but get rid of the ugly wallpaper!

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    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    When my grandma was alive, she washed her sheets once a week and starched them every single time. They were so nice and cool to lay down in the summertime. Anyway, they did not turn yellow. If starch yellows fabric, these sheets should have been yellow with all of that starch.

  20. #20
    Super Member SherriB's Avatar
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    I couldn't imagine not using starch anymore!!! I starch all my fabric before I cut it. And after I get the thrift store shirts cut, I starch and iron all those pieces.

    Someone mentioned checking small, hometown groceries for laundry starch. We have a small, hometown grocery store just a few minutes away. I checked for laundry starch and found
    Argo Gloss Laundry Starch. It was $1.19 for the same size box as regular starch. I love it!!! I love how it leaves the fabric starch so nicely. And it goes a long, long way.

  21. #21
    Senior Member fancifrock's Avatar
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    I was recently introduced to Magic Sizing and would never go back to starch. Starch leaves a "snowy" residue which sizing does not. I love working with it

  22. #22
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    I prefer using the concentrated starch, one, because I pay less than $5 for a gallon versus the spray can and it makes at least 10 times more which is also why I don't use sizing spray, it's too costly for the amount you get. If it came in a concentrated bottle, then I might switch but until then, I'm using starch.

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    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

  24. #24
    Bev
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    Super Member Bev's Avatar
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    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?
    But how can it be true about the yellowing?
    My mom starched my dad's work shirts to a faretheewell, and believe me he wore them til they fell apart and they never, NEVER yellowed. And they were white shirts, not blue or any other color. 8-)

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    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mygirl66
    I dont understand why starch will attract bugs but the chocolate stash I keep in my sewing room dosnt? Someone please let me know?
    Well, I just found some Peppermint Patties that I keep here for my grandson, and all the chocolate had been eaten off them, and nicely unwrapped too. The next day I caught 2 mice on that shelf in my basement. I don't use starch except on my crocheted doilies.

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