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Thread: What kind of starch/sizing do you like to use?

  1. #1
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    I was wondering if any of you had a preferred brand of starch?

    I like to use the non aerosol type to help with ironing to get out some of the wrinkles out after I have washed new fabric. I also use it when I am working with pattern pieces that have bias edges to keep them from stretching and also for some of the applique pieces so that they hold their shape while handling.

    I have tried to find starch powder so that I can mix my own but after asking at a lot of different stores, I just can't find it. I do have a bottle of Mary Ellen's Best Press that I got from my LQS and it is one of the nicest I have used but since I use so much, the price is a little too high for me for the volume that I would need - I go through a lot. Right now I am trying Niagara and it seems to be ok.

    What do you use?

  2. #2
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    Niagara non aerosol spray starch lavender scent $1.79 at Walmart or Meijer

  3. #3
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    I use Best Press too, as it's the only one I can get here, apart from a commercial aerosol spray for laundry. I think there was a thread here a while back that suggested trying corn starch for your own recipe. I think you could probably Google for quantities.

  4. #4
    PALS65's Avatar
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    Mary Ellen's Best Press is wonderful!

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    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Mary Ellen's is very nice, indeed. At first i thought i'd need to use a lot more of it to achieve the stiffness i like when i'm working with bias, but i was wrong. i'd use it all the time if i could afford it.

    i had toyed with the idea of using the less expensive nonaerosols that are starting to show up on the grocery store shelves, but i'd still spend a fortune because i use so much.

    sooooo, i get the least expensive liquid starch i can find and mix it with water. i use a 50/50 solution. i just pour a half-gallon bottle of starch into an empty gallon bottle and fill it with water. it's easier than trying to figure out where the 60/30 line is.

    i get flakes sometime, but that's fine. they brush off. besides ... the fabric doesn't get any flakier than me, so it all works out. :lol:

  6. #6
    Super Member sewingladydi's Avatar
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    You can make your own starch with cornstarch from the grocery store. Yep, the same stuff you use in the kitchen to thicken sauces or gravy. Just mix up and put in a spray bottle. The only downside is you have to store in frig (because you aren't putting any preservatives in it)and if I don't use up, I mix a new batch weekly.

    But it is dirt cheap!!

  7. #7
    Super Member no1jan's Avatar
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    I like Best Press, but it doesn't like me. Every time I use it I have trouble breathing and start coughing. That is the reason I bought it in the first place as it wasn't aerosal.

    I does work, but I think I have to get a mask to put on when I use it.

  8. #8
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1jan
    I like Best Press, but it doesn't like me. Every time I use it I have trouble breathing and start coughing. That is the reason I bought it in the first place as it wasn't aerosal.

    I does work, but I think I have to get a mask to put on when I use it.
    OMG!!!! You have JUST solved the mystery why I've been coughing for the last 2 months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DUH - I never thought to connect the two! I'll NOT use the sprays for a few days and see what happens!!! Thanks! (man, the things you learn on this forum!)

  9. #9
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I buy the bottles of Niagra and mix them 50/50 too. If I want it really stiff, I still pull out the can of aerosol heavy spray starch. :D:D:D

  10. #10
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    Mary Ellens

  11. #11
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    I buy Niagra too. If I run out and need it right away I mix & cook a spoonful(big) of flour and 2 cups of water, boil and let it cool. Then spray on fabric and roll it up for a bit before ironing to let it soak into the fabric good. It works as good as Niagra but is a bit more fuss.

  12. #12
    Super Member StitchinJoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by costumegirl
    I was wondering if any of you had a preferred brand of starch?

    I like to use the non aerosol type to help with ironing to get out some of the wrinkles out after I have washed new fabric. I also use it when I am working with pattern pieces that have bias edges to keep them from stretching and also for some of the applique pieces so that they hold their shape while handling.

    I have tried to find starch powder so that I can mix my own but after asking at a lot of different stores, I just can't find it. I do have a bottle of Mary Ellen's Best Press that I got from my LQS and it is one of the nicest I have used but since I use so much, the price is a little too high for me for the volume that I would need - I go through a lot. Right now I am trying Niagara and it seems to be ok.

    What do you use?
    I make my own starch using Linit liquid starch. You just add water to it, so you can make it as starchy as you like.

    I also love Best Press but I hate the expense of it. I add 10 drops of essential oil to my starch and water, and have a lovely scent as well. I buy the essential oils at the health food store. My favorites are tangerine, frankincense, and of course the standard lavender.

  13. #13
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewingladydi
    You can make your own starch with cornstarch from the grocery store. Yep, the same stuff you use in the kitchen to thicken sauces or gravy. Just mix up and put in a spray bottle. The only downside is you have to store in frig (because you aren't putting any preservatives in it)and if I don't use up, I mix a new batch weekly.

    But it is dirt cheap!!
    Thanks for the great tip! I had no idea :thumbup:

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    Is Linit a premix and you are adding water to dilute it or is it made for you to mix your own?

    I never thought of diluting the Niagara. Maybe I will try it.

    I had heard that Sta Flow starch powder was good to use but I can't find it.

    I do love Mary Ellen's but I use a lot of starch in my sewing and pressing and it is expensive. I would have to buy a gallon :)

    I never thought of using cornstarch - I remember my Grandmother using it to starch doilies!

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    I do use Best Press. I used to buy the ittle bottles for 7.95, then I went online to her site and bought a gallon for around 45.00 and it was like getting 3 bottles free. Then while at my LQS they had the 14.95 bottles to refill with. I have to have it no matter what so I buy on sale when I can. Because it is a little high I use it for only quilting and use NIagra Sizing for regular. Doesn't gum up or leave flakes. You can also go in with a friend and buy direct from Mary Ellen and you both save money.

  16. #16
    Super Member seamstome's Avatar
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    I bought a gallon of best press with 50% off coupon at Joann's. I cut it with water for alot of things.

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    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Here is the starch recipe that Diane Gaudynski (http://www.dianegaudynski.net/tips-april.htm) uses on her quilts.

    Try my recipe for spray starch for all your pressing/piecing needs. Remember, you can adjust any of these amounts to suit your own needs, and also don't keep this for more than two weeks max. I make up a batch when I need it, then dump it out when I'm finished. It produces a super flat stable quilt: Dissolve half a teaspoon (or one teaspoon for a stiffer starch) of regular Argo cornstarch (in your cupboard probably) in a few tablespoons of cold water in a heat proof 2-cup measuring pitcher like Pyrex. Add boiling water to make one cup, stirring constantly. Then add cold water to the 2 cup line. Let cool and use in a pump spray bottle. Shake it every time you spray. You may have to dilute it a little if it is too thick or builds up white flakes. Lasts a week or so as there are no preservatives, no chemicals, no nothing that harms us or the environment, and itís practically free, except for the spray bottle! Don't starch fabrics for storage as it will attract critters such as centipedes, and mice.

  18. #18
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    Thanks BellaBoo

    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    Here is the starch recipe that Diane Gaudynski (http://www.dianegaudynski.net/tips-april.htm) uses on her quilts.

    Try my recipe for spray starch for all your pressing/piecing needs. Remember, you can adjust any of these amounts to suit your own needs, and also don't keep this for more than two weeks max. I make up a batch when I need it, then dump it out when I'm finished. It produces a super flat stable quilt: Dissolve half a teaspoon (or one teaspoon for a stiffer starch) of regular Argo cornstarch (in your cupboard probably) in a few tablespoons of cold water in a heat proof 2-cup measuring pitcher like Pyrex. Add boiling water to make one cup, stirring constantly. Then add cold water to the 2 cup line. Let cool and use in a pump spray bottle. Shake it every time you spray. You may have to dilute it a little if it is too thick or builds up white flakes. Lasts a week or so as there are no preservatives, no chemicals, no nothing that harms us or the environment, and itís practically free, except for the spray bottle! Don't starch fabrics for storage as it will attract critters such as centipedes, and mice.

  19. #19
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    Here is the starch recipe that Diane Gaudynski (http://www.dianegaudynski.net/tips-april.htm) uses on her quilts.

    Try my recipe for spray starch for all your pressing/piecing needs. Remember, you can adjust any of these amounts to suit your own needs, and also don't keep this for more than two weeks max. I make up a batch when I need it, then dump it out when I'm finished. It produces a super flat stable quilt: Dissolve half a teaspoon (or one teaspoon for a stiffer starch) of regular Argo cornstarch (in your cupboard probably) in a few tablespoons of cold water in a heat proof 2-cup measuring pitcher like Pyrex. Add boiling water to make one cup, stirring constantly. Then add cold water to the 2 cup line. Let cool and use in a pump spray bottle. Shake it every time you spray. You may have to dilute it a little if it is too thick or builds up white flakes. Lasts a week or so as there are no preservatives, no chemicals, no nothing that harms us or the environment, and itís practically free, except for the spray bottle! Don't starch fabrics for storage as it will attract critters such as centipedes, and mice.
    Hi ! That link came up as an error :(

  20. #20
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    I also use the best press. I like the unscented tho. I just bought 3 bottles on sale at Hancock last week for 50% off!

  21. #21
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    link about the spray starch, scroll down to the bottom of the page

    http://www.dianegaudynski.net/tips-april.htm

  22. #22
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I use the cheap Niagara Spray or what ever is on sale. I find they will give the best results if I spray and let it really soak into the fabric ( let it sit/stand for at least 15 minutes) then iron/press. Let it realy soak into the fiber makes a huge difference , the flaking is gone, and the stiffness is improved since the starch is deeper into the fibers rather than just laying on the top. Plus there is less starch build up on the iron.
    Some fabrics I will spray, saturate and let it soak in over night ... it gets really stiff , this works best on bias work.
    I tried the expensive stuff , but it did not perform as well as I thought it should for the price.

  23. #23
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by costumegirl
    I had heard that Sta Flow starch powder was good to use but I can't find it.
    Maybe you are looking for the wrong stuff. I buy Sta-Flo liquid starch at Walmart and in the laundry aisle of the grocery store. It is sold in a blue quart jug -- pretty easy to spot once you know what it looks like. I mix this with water to get the degree of starchiness I want (instructions on the label). I don't think Sta-Flo comes in powdered form.

  24. #24
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    Thanks! I didn't know it was a liquid and then you add water. I will look for it.

  25. #25
    Super Member oatw13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    Here is the starch recipe that Diane Gaudynski (http://www.dianegaudynski.net/tips-april.htm) uses on her quilts.

    Try my recipe for spray starch for all your pressing/piecing needs. Remember, you can adjust any of these amounts to suit your own needs, and also don't keep this for more than two weeks max. I make up a batch when I need it, then dump it out when I'm finished. It produces a super flat stable quilt: Dissolve half a teaspoon (or one teaspoon for a stiffer starch) of regular Argo cornstarch (in your cupboard probably) in a few tablespoons of cold water in a heat proof 2-cup measuring pitcher like Pyrex. Add boiling water to make one cup, stirring constantly. Then add cold water to the 2 cup line. Let cool and use in a pump spray bottle. Shake it every time you spray. You may have to dilute it a little if it is too thick or builds up white flakes. Lasts a week or so as there are no preservatives, no chemicals, no nothing that harms us or the environment, and itís practically free, except for the spray bottle! Don't starch fabrics for storage as it will attract critters such as centipedes, and mice.
    I wonder why she uses boiling water? I may have to try that to see if there is a difference. I use one tablespoon of cornstarch mixed in 2 cups of cold water. Then I pour it in a spray bottle. It dissolves fines, but I still have to shake it if I let it sit for awhile.

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