QOTD.....starching fabrics

day2dayJuly 29, 2014

Do you starch fabrics before cutting them?

I was told that starch helps with cutting. I have often thought of trying the starching idea to improve accuracy but it seems like a messy process. I am not sure how to go about it.

If you do starch, how do you approach it?
Is there a way to avoid getting starch where you don't want it? (on the table, on machine etc). What kind of starch do you use?
How long after starching before you can begin cutting?
Does the quilt need to be washed to remove starch?

I know I asked this question a few years ago......maybe it was on another forum..... but can't remember what I was told.


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I iron a piece of fabric to lay it out for cutting. When I do this, I use a can of spray starch sitting on the ironing board to give it a spray of starch as I iron. It's very easy and stabilizes the fabric a bit making it easier to deal with. I think it keeps down the stretching and distortion as I cut and sew. If it's to be a wallhanging, washing isn't an issue. If it's a washed quilt, the starch washes out but by then it has done it's job.

I just use whatever spray starch is on the store shelf.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 8:59AM
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I don't use it for cutting usually but I do use it if I'm sewing anything cut on the diagonal or for small pieces that I'll be using for applique. Like toolgranny, I use whatever I find at the grocery store. You do get some overspray but it's just on the ironing board so I don't worry about it.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:32AM
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I've tried spray starching a few times and I can't tell any difference, other than getting starch on my ironing board and iron. :)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:13AM
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I always use Magic Sizing I buy at the grocery store. I preshrink most all my fabric, so I need to iron before cutting. I do get overspray. I recently decided to hand wash some 10" layer cakes for a shadow box quilt -- boy am I GLAD I did! I then spray starched to stabilize & pressed well so I could trim them down to the same exact size. Without starching, the layer cakes would have never been accurate or behaved when cutting or sewing them.
I often spray starch jelly rolls before using them.
I also spray starch my backing lightly - I like the added stability, but again, I preshrink my fabric.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:17PM
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I don't usually starch, but I can see how it would be helpful when you have flimsy material (not necessarily a function of price) that must be cut on the diagonal. I recently pieced a quilt that contained some fabrics that stretched much more than the others. I wished I had given them a little extra body with starch. I have to remember that for next time.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:08PM
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Yes, I can see where starch would help with fabric cut on the diagonal.
So, the ordinary spray starch is fine to use. I thought people used a batch that they mixed up and starched about a yard of fabric....or more.... at a time. I could see that being a lot of work.
Do some people do that?


This post was edited by day2day on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 16:50

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:44PM
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I'm the starch mixer!

I mix up my starch by the batch - mostly since I've never gotten to the end of a can of commercial spray starch or sizing without having the nozzle clog up and stop working! I buy Sta-Flo concentrate.

I like a fairly heavy starch if I'm doing complicated piecing. But I only mix up a few ounces of starch at a time, and just starch the fabric I need. So I maybe starch 1/4-1/3 yard at a time of yardage, or a few fat quarters. I spray, let it sit for a minute or two, then press until dry.

I use a ZEP Professional spray bottle (Home Depot or Lowes) because it adjusts so well, and I can get a truly fine mist, even with a heavy mixture.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 5:59PM
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I use spray starch for the diagonal cuts and use whatever can of starch I find at the grocery store. Many of the blogs recommend Best Press (I think that's what it is called), but starch is starch to me. The Magic starch works fine, no can clogging issues, yes there is some overspray and it washes out of the final quilt.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:10PM
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I rarely pre-wash fabric because I like the stiffness when working with it. But even then, sometimes a project calls for more. Recently, I was working with wedges and I starched the fabric like crazy!

I do have Best Press and like it, but usually I use whatever other people send home with me from Retreat! Sometimes the heavier starch is nice.

I just spray the fabric when it's laid out on the ironing board. Overspray just irons dry.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:04AM
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FlamingO in AR

I use Best Pressed because I like the aroma. Caribbean Beach, or something like that. :) I mostly use it on bias edge pieces to slow down stretching and sometimes I use it for the final press of a mini-quilt, especially on the back to hold those seams open.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 5:06PM
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I would like to thank all of you for replying. It's great to be able to hear of other people's experiences. It helps me make informed decisions.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 6:12PM
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