Jan 062015

I was recently talking with a friend, Norma Riehm of quiltingisafineart.blogspot.com  , regarding spray starch.  We were both involved in a mystery quilt with oh so many pieces.  We had both decided, and I must say separately, to use spray starch to keep the block shapes.  Then today I saw on Facebook that a group I belong to was having the same discussion.

I use Faultless Premium Professional Spray Starch, purchased at any discount store.  It works wonderfully and does not leave residue that many leave behind.  I was told today however, that if you aren’t careful and clean the sprayer  often it can clog.  This may seem like an easy solution, but it’s not.  My friend had a clogged sprayer. It had been a while since she had used it, she didn’t notice that the metal had begun to rust.  She went to use it and it sprayed a rust stain on her quilt back.  Fortunately she rinsed it right away and it came out.   She now uses a pump plastic spray bottle by faultless. I would like you each to leave a comment below, telling me if you use spray starch or not and why.  It will begin a great discussion and hopefully we can all learn from each other for possible uses and solutions to problems we have with starch.  The one most important piece of information I have about spray starch is that you need to spray your project and let it sit long enough to saturate the material.  If you iron it right away, you will be pressing the starch on your fabric.  What we want to do, is allow the starch to absorb into the fabric so we don’t have a residue that flakes off.  Instead we have a piece of fabric adequately starched to hold its shape.  I hope you find this helpful and drives you to leave feedback for all of us.        Quilt on My Friends!


  21 Responses to “To starch or not to starch, that is the question.”


    I use Best Press when I need to add body to fabric. I used to use starch but quit when I read that starch attracts little critters and I really hate little critters!


    I do use a LOT of starch in all my quilting. LOVE it. It has solved many of my piecing problems. I am guilty of not waiting long enough before pressing… (blush)…. But I would not be without it. I sometimes mix my own… Liquid starch with water in a 50/50 solution. But the above can of starch is so economical… It hardly pays to mix my own…! And… I did find a “home recipe” for Best Press on Pinterest,and it did work as well as Best Press (using potato vodka) but I have found I am spoiled by the STARCH… I really like it better over the Best Press.


    I LOVE Faultless heavy duty starch. I starch my fabric very heavily before I ever cut it. For me, Best Press doesn’t even come close.


    Starch will attract bugs, and bugs will eat their way through your hard work. I always wash my quilts when I finish them so starch would wash away, but on wall hangings which I don’t wash, I will use Best Press or sizing. Wallyworld sells sizing for ninety-seven cents. Works great. Smells great, but let it soak into the fabric before you press. Another tip…..press, don’t iron. Some people mess up by ironing. Press your work.


    I’m taking a class in quilting and the teacher is a firm believer. She even imported some for us. (we’re in Canada).. I must say, I am a convert, love it. Unfortunately we can’t find anything good here. I use a brand called Magic Sizing. I do wash my fabric before hand and use this to return it to a new like status, makes easier cutting, and pressing.


    I read somewhere that after spraying your fabric, turn it over and press. It keeps it from flaking and does not stick to your iron.. So far it has worked for me.


    I also was told by a quilting instructor, whether using starch or Best Press, to spray the wrong side of the fabric.


    I use Dylon, from a can, on the top of the fabric when I’m pressing it ready to cut out. So all my patches are pre-starched by the time I get my paws on them at the sewing machine. Usually this process takes up most of a can, so I can’t see me having a rust problem anytime soon 😉


    OH, and PS, I wash my quilts when they are finished so the mothies don’t get a chance to get at the starch 🙂


    I use it all the time as well as best press …I stock up all the time when I go to the usa have never seen it in Canada …also this time I bought sizing spray someone on my quilt group said it works great too …I use it to starch fabric before I embroider it and also before I start to cut ….and when I piece blocks then I iron the whole quilt top and spray it till it’s nice a crip …the man who stipples my quilts said he loves them because so much less time making sure the wrinkles r out …so myself ..I always use starch ..and I also find the blocks don’t stretch after it’s been sprayed ..just saying 🙂


    I use Niagara spray starch. It’s a pump container, not an aerosol. Works great. It’s cheap. Available at Walmart. P.S. Starch only attracts bugs if you live in a humid climate.


    I’m a starcher, and proud of it! I’d like to dispel some starching myths: 1. To eliminate rust stains forever from happening when using aerosol – roll a piece of Kleenex and pack it into the nozzle depression; 2. Doesn’t matter what side of the fabric you spray. To eliminate flakes, spray then flip fabric and iron on reverse side. Pushes starch into fabric and the heat from the iron dries it quickly – no flakes, no waiting! I repeat this two more times per each piece of fabric. WORTH IT every step of the piecing process thereafter!; 3. Aerosol or pump – starch is starch. For best results, make sure you’re using STARCH, not sizing. Mary Ellen’s Best Press is sizing and won’t give you the same results as using starch. Cheaper too! And 4. The bug issue. It’s my understanding that bugs are attracted to the gluten found in the starch. Many mfr’s are not putting gluten in, so no more bugs!


      Thank you for the info Sue! By the way I am really enjoying your books! For those who are unaware, sue is currator of Kismet Quilts! She has fantastic books


    What Sue Heinz said! Also, if you’re working with fabric that is cut on the bias or has bias edges you wish to control, starch will help you with that, keeping your block from stretching out and getting wibblywobbly. For this, it *has* to be starch, not sizing. The only thing I hate about starch is that I am sensitive to strong smells, and I wish it was odor free. I have tried making my own, but… it’s lacking a little something.


    It is so encouraging to hear folks who use starch. I do as well, but sometimes felt guilty that I was not using Best Press – thinking I was doing things “wrong.” But starch works so well at stabilizing the fabric, especially for tricky angles and curved piecing. Also, thanks for all the tips about using it. This is a very useful conversation.


    Thanks for all of the in
    fo…I have never used starch for pressing but you can bet I will from now on knowing the right way to use it! Thanks so much everyone!


    I like using best press, but I’m also a big believer in spray sizing. Regardless of the type there are times when it is absolutely necessary to “make” the fabric behave. I’ve won exchange blocks that many have worked on and not everyone has the same 1/4 inch for their piecing. They always need to be adjusted and starch has been a big help for me.


    I’ve been told that it is best to press your block without starch first, heating up the fabric. Then spray the starch on and allow it to absorb and press again. I’ve used this procedure and have been very happy with the results.


    I’ve only used starch when working with flannel, but I’m going to try it on cotton thanks to this discussion and the comments. Thanks!

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