Tuesday, 25 September 2012

TTT - Starch

Back again - the week goes around pretty quickly around here. The new blogger interface finally appeared on my blog - I've been avoiding installing it until I was forced to. I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Today I want to talk about starch. I really like starch. It's changed my quilting life.

I pre-wash everything, probably because I started sewing clothing and there you have to pre-wash/pre-treat all your fabric. I also worry that colours will run - which has happened to me - thankfully in the pre-wash stage. I also like the fact that if there is going to be shrinkage in any way it happens before all the sewing work.

Anyway, when you/I pre-wash I take the sizing out of the fabric - that's the stuff the  manufacturer adds to fabric to make it sort of stiff and have body. I add some back in with starch because I prefer to sew with a little body in the fabric. After I've pre-washed and dried (in the dryer) I iron/press my fabric. If I'm using the fabric right away, I give it a light starch when pressing; if the fabric is going in the stash, I don't starch it until I use it.

Another great thing about starch is it helps relax the fabric a bit so you can get the wrinkles out. My Dear Jane blocks lay really flat partly because I starch them when I'm finished (and all the fabric has a light starching before sewing).

Mostly I use this starch which I get at my local grocery store (Loblaw's)

It was recommended to me by my local quilt shop owner when I made a lone star quilt for my cousin
which had a lot of bias edges and the starch would help to reduce stretching.

I like that's it's not too heavy, is very reasonably priced (under $4 a can), and is easy to find. It also flakes minimally.  I think this company makes a heavier starch in a purple can but I've never tried it.

Some people say moths are attracted to starch - I don't know. I have never had a moth problem.

In the spring I bought some of this at a quilt show
because it was on sale there. I got mixed reviews on it from other quilters but thought I'd try it. It has it's place in quilting - and since the bottle is nearly empty I've clearly used it - but I don't use it very often. I like that it's really light - almost too light for my taste. It's also pretty expensive at around $12 a bottle. It flakes now and then. The smell is kinda iffy - it's scented which bothers some people. It is a non-aerosol can.

I did some applique on my Dear Jane quilt and used the blue starch - it worked excellently for that type of job.

I think the most important thing to remember about starch is to not over do it.