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Thread: Weird experience with starch. Is this normal??

  1. #51
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwiltnutt
    Any Canadians reading? I have searched high and low and cannot find liquid starch in Canada. I even checked the Nova Scotia stores while I was visiting my dd last month!
    I'm not Canadian, but got curious. I get Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch in the U.S. and it works great for quilting. When I Googled, it does look as if liquid starch cannot be found in Canada.

    One thing I would suggest is going to customer service at every grocery store and Walmart you frequent, requesting they stock Sta-Flo.

    Also, you have the option of making your own liquid starch at home. There are various recipes on the net. Almost all commercial starch is made from corn, so if you can purchase cornstarch (powder in the baking section of the grocery store), you can make your own. Boiled homemade starch lasts the longest. Here are links to some of the recipes, etc. I found:
    http://www.pinkyhasabrain.com/homema...starch-recipe/
    http://www.ehow.com/how_4917067_home...ed-starch.html
    Pinky even has a Youtube video on making starch:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xp87HykG34

    There are also dry starch brands such as Argo and Peal that you may be able to find.

    The advantage of Sta-Flo is simply that it's already made up for me and, as long as I don't mix it with water, it keeps indefinitely in its plastic jug without getting moldy. Homemade starch will not last as long without getting moldy because you won't have preservatives in it.

    Edit: It looks like Pinky's video shows how to make a starch for spraying. I use a thicker mixture (would probably clog up a sprayer) for my starch method, which is to "paint" starch onto yardage with a large wall painting brush, dry in dryer, then iron with steam.

  2. #52
    Senior Member Kath12's Avatar
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    I just use Faultless Spray Starch that I pick up at the grocery store. It is one of my favorite tools

  3. #53
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    Try spraying and letting them sit in an airy place- If you leave them on a hard surface orsomething like an ironing board it does not allow them to dry

  4. #54
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    Try spraying and letting them sit in an airy place- If you leave them on a hard surface or something like an ironing board it does not allow them to dry

  5. #55
    Super Member watson's mom's Avatar
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    I have tried several spray starches and Best Press. I now use only Niagara spray starch in a pump bottle. No aerosol for me anymore and I love the job it does. It was $1.89 for a good size bottle at Meijer's.

  6. #56
    Senior Member fishnlady's Avatar
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    I had read on here that many recommended Mary Ellen's Best Press so I bought some. I think it is pretty much worthless. I can do the same with water and if I want starch I have found the Sta Flo Liquid Laundry starch is quite good. I also found that by wiping with my hand after spraying, kept it from flaking even though that does not bother me since I iron it on the back side.

  7. #57
    Senior Member fishnlady's Avatar
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    Here is the recipe using the vodka. I think it would act as a preservative to a certain extent too.

    This recipe comes from Bonnie on the Stashbuster Yahoo quilting group. She calls it Sisters Brew in honor of the friend who developed it with her. Compare it to commercial solutions that cost much, much more!
    Sisters Brew Pressing Solution
    2 cups distilled water
    2 ounces cheap vodka
    6-12 drops of essential oil (choose a scent you like, or eliminate if you want an unscented solution)
    1/3 cup liquid starch.
    Shake well before using.

  8. #58
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishnlady
    I had read on here that many recommended Mary Ellen's Best Press so I bought some.
    But the bottle is a great spray bottle! I use my Best Press bottle to make my own spray starch with Sta-Flo and water!!! :thumbup:

  9. #59
    Senior Member Tinabug's Avatar
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    This is the way I use the Best Press, and I bought the gallon size and just use a small fine mist spray bottle. Works great!

    Quote Originally Posted by auntpiggylpn
    I use Best Press for all my pressing, including my clothing. You do have to make sure you don't over saturate the fabric, just like with regular starch. I lightly mist my fabrics and then I iron or press them dry. The finish can't be beat, and there is no flaking as with some spray starches. FYI I water my Best Press down and I get the same results as if I used it full strength. I get the jumbo bottle at Hancock's with a coupon and it is worth the money. IMHO!

  10. #60
    Senior Member newestnana's Avatar
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    I have used starch, but mainly when I'm going to be cutting small pieces and want to keep them accurate. However, I always starch (or use Best Press) before cutting, not after the blocks have been pieced. What is the reason for starching after piecing?

  11. #61

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    I agree with your post. The starch and sizing you put in the fabric will build up on the needle and also gums up the bobbin race in your machine. I think if you have to starch something that much it maybe isn't good quality fabric to begin with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Geri B
    I don't use starch, I use sizing and very infrequently.......I'm sorry, but I just don't see the reason to "starch til it's like cardboard" in order to piece a quilt. I haven't starched anything since dh had to wear white shirts to work daily and they were all cotton...well, take that back, I have a few doilies that I have inherited, and when they are washed I will then starch them til they are like cardboard!!!!

  12. #62
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newestnana
    I have used starch, but mainly when I'm going to be cutting small pieces and want to keep them accurate. However, I always starch (or use Best Press) before cutting, not after the blocks have been pieced. What is the reason for starching after piecing?
    I have used starch to re-size a block if it is a little bit too small - got carried away with squaring it up, starched it heavily and pinned it on my ironing board, stretching it a little bit to keep it square and make it a little bit larger. Worked beautifully.

  13. #63
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grdmachris
    The starch and sizing you put in the fabric will build up on the needle and also gums up the bobbin race in your machine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Geri B
    I just don't see the reason to "starch til it's like cardboard" in order to piece a quilt.
    Starching fabric until it's like cardboard is helpful when you're making a very intricate block or when you've got a lot of bias edges or when you're preparing pieces for turned-edge applique using the starch method.

    If you iron your fabric right sides together while it's still damp, it sticks together for rotary cutting and sewing.

    Otherwise, normal starch is enough to make your fabric behave.

    If you starch your backing fabric, it will slide more easily when you're quilting, and it will do some of the pre-shrinking. :)

    I've never had a needle gum up when sewing heavily starched items and I've never seen anything more than the usual oily lint in the bobbin area in any of my machines.

  14. #64

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    If the iron gets a build up the needle will to. I worked at a sewing machine repair shop and the starch would make skipped stitches. Alcohol would have to clean up the race and bobbin cases and new needles were changed to make it not skip. The needle gets hot going in and out of the fabric fibers and the starch will collect on the needle. Glad you haven't had that problem.

  15. #65
    Senior Member newestnana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grdmachris
    If the iron gets a build up the needle will to. I worked at a sewing machine repair shop and the starch would make skipped stitches. Alcohol would have to clean up the race and bobbin cases and new needles were changed to make it not skip. The needle gets hot going in and out of the fabric fibers and the starch will collect on the needle. Glad you haven't had that problem.
    What is the race? I get skipped stitches when sewing through multiple layers (such as the three layers of a quilt -- even though I use a walking foot). I use a new needle so it's not that. Strangely, it doesn't happen when I FMQ.

    I thought it might be the timing...(but I suspect it takes a repair shop to fix that).

  16. #66

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    The race is the round sharp pointed part that encases the bobbin case. If the race is dragging from lint or a build up it will not meet the right spot to pick up the bobbin thread and therefore a skipped stitch. Sometimes certain types of oil and debre can pit the race and it will get a jagged rough spot and can cause the skipping of threads. Good clean oil that is not discolored is the best to use and not 3in1 oils. Sewing machine oil is recommended. Maintenance on the machine can prevent a lot of little things from going wrong. Ask your repair man the next time you get it cleaned what they feel about sewing through starched items.
    Quote Originally Posted by newestnana
    Quote Originally Posted by grdmachris
    If the iron gets a build up the needle will to. I worked at a sewing machine repair shop and the starch would make skipped stitches. Alcohol would have to clean up the race and bobbin cases and new needles were changed to make it not skip. The needle gets hot going in and out of the fabric fibers and the starch will collect on the needle. Glad you haven't had that problem.
    What is the race? I get skipped stitches when sewing through multiple layers (such as the three layers of a quilt -- even though I use a walking foot). I use a new needle so it's not that. Strangely, it doesn't happen when I FMQ.

    I thought it might be the timing...(but I suspect it takes a repair shop to fix that).

  17. #67

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    Thank you! I suppose it would be a good idea to wash before giving when I think about all of the handling. I hate losing that "new" fluffiness.

  18. #68
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    I have a hunch you might have used too much of Mary Ellen's Best Press. Starch is thicker and as a result it doesn't saturate fabric as fast as Mary Ellen's.

    I use it all the time and I make sure to use just a little squirt. I've thought of using a brush to apply it to an edge before sewing the " seam. I'm cheap...I don't always want the entire area stiffened..might be a mistake but it has worked for me so far. Sometimes I just want the two pieces to stay in place with more than my usual "steam pin" technique.

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