Wednesday, August 14, 2019

About Starching Your Fabric

Lately, I've had more than a few inquiries about how I starch my fabric.  I have been doing so for at least 15 years now and can't imagine piecing without starched (read stiff) fabric.  The difference is amazing!

Truth is I use Magic sizing instead of starch.  It's inexpensive, readily available (.94 at Walmart), has no odor and works like a charm.

People ask me what I think about Best Press.  I like it!  
It's a bit expensive for the amount of starching/sizing I do, but if you like it, it works well.  It doesn't get the fabric as stiff as the Magic sizing does, which you may prefer.

Why bother starching or sizing?  I use this analogy....
would you rather piece with tissue paper or card stock?
Which would go where you want it to go?  Which would give you more control?

Card stock, of course!  

You will notice a difference when cutting, pressing and piecing for sure!  

Two caveats!  

One......Be sure to starch or size your fabric before cutting it!!  I don't recommend starching already cut or sewn pieces as they can shrink or warp.  

Two.....don't starch or size precuts.  Same reason...they will shrink a little bit and you likely need every thread you have of a precut.
I lay a old beach towel on top of my big board ironing board so it will soak up excess sizing.  Be sure to thoroughly spray....thoroughly saturate your fabric.  I don't just lightly mist it...I saturate it!  The photo above shows partially dry fabric on top to show the difference.  
I usually fill the ironing board with fabrics close together so as not to waste sizing.  
I let the fabric rest, especially if I will be ironing it dry right away.  I pile like-colored fabrics together.  This allows the sizing to permeate the fabric fibers so I won't get any flaking.  Flaking happens because the sizing is basically sitting on top of the fabric and the hot iron cooks it which causes the flakes.  If you're going to allow the fabric to air dry, resting is not necessary.
 
Most of the time, I hang the fabric on a drying rack and allow it to air dry so I can go on to do something else.  The sizing does not drip on the floor...so no worries about that.

Once it's dry, steam iron the wrinkles out.  If a wrinkle persists, give it a little spritz with the sizing and that will take care of it.  Then, you're ready to cut!

Often, I am sizing scraps.  These fabric squares are actually from a pack of 3.5 inch squares....a precut if you will.  I know it's ok to size them because they are larger than what I need to work with, so the little bit of shrinkage is ok.  

With scraps, I try to group them tightly together when sizing them and for pressing.  That way the iron is touch multiple pieces as I move it around.  It goes pretty quickly.

I hope this gives you an idea of how to starch or size your fabric.  It took about 15 min to spray the fabrics this morning and hang them.  Then, I went on and began sewing and doing other things.  By noon, the fabrics were dry.  I will iron them when I have a chance and they're ready for cutting.  It doesn't take much time but the results are huge.  

Don't believe me?  Make one block and give it a try.  Starching/sizing help to prevent stretching, you won't have stringy fabric either, and oh...the control!   The smaller the pieces, the better it is!  Experiment with sizing or actual starch to see what level of stiffness you prefer.
Once the quilt is done and washed, all the sizing and starch are gone.  Actually, the fabric becomes softer and softer the more you handle and piece with it.

I have also begun spritzing my pieced units and blocks with Best Press.  (I can because I size my fabrics before cutting.)  You can read about that here.  

I'm off to Iowa in the morning.  I'm teaching at The Little Red Hen Quilt ShopClick here to read about the classes I will be teaching Friday and Saturday.  Come join the fun!

12 comments:

  1. thanks so much about explaining how to starch correctly. I've not let it dry enough and have gotten flakes!! Will give this a try...hugs, Julierose

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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      My husband and I have been married for about 7 yrs now. We were happily married with two kids, a boy and a girl. 3 months ago, I started to notice some strange behavior from him and a few weeks later I found out that my husband is seeing someone. He started coming home late from work, he hardly care about me or the kids anymore, Sometimes he goes out and doesn't even come back home for about 2-3 days. I did all I could to rectify this problem but all to no avail. I became very worried and needed help. As I was browsing through the Internet one day, I came across a website that suggested that Dr Great can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he did a spell for me. Two days later, my husband came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my family are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Great . If you need a spell caster that can cast a spell that truly works, I suggest you contact him. He will not disappoint you. This is his E-mail:

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      My husband and I have been married for about 7 yrs now. We were happily married with two kids, a boy and a girl. 3 months ago, I started to notice some strange behavior from him and a few weeks later I found out that my husband is seeing someone. He started coming home late from work, he hardly care about me or the kids anymore, Sometimes he goes out and doesn't even come back home for about 2-3 days. I did all I could to rectify this problem but all to no avail. I became very worried and needed help. As I was browsing through the Internet one day, I came across a website that suggested that Dr Great can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he did a spell for me. Two days later, my husband came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my family are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Great . If you need a spell caster that can cast a spell that truly works, I suggest you contact him. He will not disappoint you. This is his E-mail:

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      Delete
  2. Excellent and invaluable information Pam. I'm going to print this out and pin it on the wall in my sewing room.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pam - Thanks so much for this information! It came just at the right time. I'm starting another quilt soon, and can't wait to try this.

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  4. The main reason I no longer participate in block swaps (besides living in a city that has no quilt shops that stock 1800's reproduction fabrics) is that I'm highly allergic to the new products made for pressing. What's wrong with what our mother's and grandmother's used? A spray bottle filled with water or an old soda bottle with holes punched in the lid!

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  5. I had been looking for the one thing that would give me better accuracy in making mini quilts and yesterday I discovered it was starch! I had pre made blocks, but had to add tiny sashing and it all went together like a dream, because I had pre starched the sashing before I cut it. Your post has definitely made me a convert when it comes to my general piecing. Interesting what you say about Best Press, as I can buy that in Australia, but I couldn't get the nozzle unclogged so I used a cheap starch from the supermarket and it was fine.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You have solved the mystery of the flakes for me. I don't use much starch, so when making my 1880 blocks I was puzzled when I experienced flakes at random times. Now I know. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Appreciate your tips and explanation of two products. In the past I’ve stood in the laundry aisle trying to choose which product to purchase. However, my concern are the propellents.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I was in both of your classes at the LRH. I had a wonderful weekend---thank you for coming to Muscatine.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I never starched before I started making these little gems and it really does make a big difference! Thanks for the helpful tips! I have started making "row piles" of blocks so all I need now is time to stitch them together!

    ReplyDelete
  10. My husband and I have been married for about 7 yrs now. We were happily married with two kids, a boy and a girl. 3 months ago, I started to notice some strange behavior from him and a few weeks later I found out that my husband is seeing someone. He started coming home late from work, he hardly care about me or the kids anymore, Sometimes he goes out and doesn't even come back home for about 2-3 days. I did all I could to rectify this problem but all to no avail. I became very worried and needed help. As I was browsing through the Internet one day, I came across a website that suggested that Dr Great can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he did a spell for me. Two days later, my husband came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my family are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Great . If you need a spell caster that can cast a spell that truly works, I suggest you contact him. He will not disappoint you. This is his E-mail:

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