Tutorial · weekly update

Starch Baby, Starch

I do not usually starch my fabrics. I just never really started and didn’t work with a lot of bias pieces…therefore I didn’t really ever find the need to.  However this week while I was testing out my new pattern, I was getting frustrated with myself that I didn’t get my fabric starched.  Therefore this week’s tip:  Starch!

First, I should explain what starch does and what it’s used for.  Fabric has different types of grains:  straight grain and cross grain.  Straight grain is the direction of the fabric that is parallel with the selvage.  The cross grain is the direction that is perpendicular to the selvage.  Bias is referred to pretty much everything else sometimes stated 45 degrees off the grain of the fabric.  Bias is also what makes the fabric really stretchy and can cause puckers.  Everything that is not a square has some sort of bias stretch, for example diagonals, curves, etc..

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Starch is used to control the bias of the fabric.  There are a lot of products out on the market for starch and starch alternatives.  The starch products will say that they are starch on the label and you can find cans of spray starch (Faultless is one example) in places like Target, not just at the local quilt shop.

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Photo from Amazon

For starch alternative products, Best Press is what a lot of quilters seem to find useful and can be bought at most local quilt shops.  Best Press also touts no white reside not flakes from ordinary spray starch.  However there are natural starches in Best Press just at a lower amount.  I use both of these products, and I can see value in both.

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Photo from Amazon

In my opinion, Faultless gives me a firmer starch feeling like less stretchy fabric than the Best Press.  However, this may be that I’m not spraying enough Best Press to get the same result.  Getting Best Press from Amazon seems to be the best deal since you can purchase a gallon of it as long as you already own a spray bottle.

Some tips on applying starch:

  • Always starch BEFORE cutting your fabric.  Starch will shrink the fabric, so if you cut before starching your dimensions will be wrong.
  • After you spray the starch/starch alternative on the fabric, wait for the fabric dry before pressing.
  • Good practice is to also spray on the front and press on the back to get a good bond between the starch and the fabric.
  • Using a hot iron is great.  However, if you start scorching your fabric, use less starch or turn down the iron a bit.

So what is Flatter, and how does that fit with the starch topic?  Flatter is a product made by the Soak company that is a starch free smoothing spray.  Its purpose is to relax wrinkles and freshen fabrics.  It does not control bias since there is no starch in the product.  I also own this product, and it’s really nice for scenting the fabrics as well as getting them flatter, but again, I do not use it to control bias.

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Photo from Soak

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

As I eluded to before, I was working on my next pattern PBQ103 that will have lots of bias to work with.  However, I did not work on my list of quilting to-dos this week due to the creative process of figuring out how this next pattern is going to work.  It is not a straight-forward math calculation unless we have hundreds of tiny squares to sew together which is not ideal for a pattern to sell.  I’m hoping I can get the measurement correct so I can start making this quilt soon!  So look for some spoilers or teasers in the coming weeks.

The only thing on my list of to-dos I managed to complete was the Quilter’s Planner block this month.  This block is called Double Edged Star by 13 Spools aka Amy Garro.  It was a great tutorial to follow for a fast and easy block.

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Speaking of hundreds of little pieces to sew together, I decided this week was a great week to make the Mega Man pixel quilt my husband was asking for.  He’s a speed runner for Mega Man, so he wanted a quilt of Mega Man.  I’m hoping to have it up behind him when he’s streaming his Mega Man runs on Twitch.  This quilt was 744 pieces in total.  All of the white background were individual pieces not strips.  Each square was 1.5″ so it would be a 1″ finished block.  I used a technique called web or webbed piecing.  Check back next week for a tutorial on how to use this method.  There is another method called fusible grid that I have yet to try for blocks like this as well.

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Mega Man turned out so cute I almost wanted to keep him for myself.

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Maybe this week I’ll be more aligned with my to-do list, but who knows.  Creativity strikes where it wants.

3/7-3/14 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Thursday PM, Saturday and Sunday

Projects I want to work on:
Quilter’s Planner Block
Modern Building Blocks
Powered By Quilting PBQ103
Blog Hop Quilt

Goals for the Projects:
Quilter’s Planner Block: Complete this week’s block
Modern Building Blocks: Complete 8 blocks
PBQ103: Starch fabrics and make test blocks
Blog Hop Quilt: Complete 3 blocks and mail.  (Oh yeah, the next blog hop I’m doing has a quilt made by the bloggers for the grand prize! WHAT?!)

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6 thoughts on “Starch Baby, Starch

  1. There seems to be a lot of discussion on the pros and cons of starch at the moment, so it is always interesting to hear different points of view. Like you, I don’t use it regularly but every now and then it really helps to make piecing easier. Thanks for sharing

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  2. Agreed – not regularly, but sometimes I find starch very helpful! I love the Mega Man quilt! My son is also a speed runner – Smash, though. His birthday is tomorrow. Wish I’d though to make him a Falcon quilt!

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  3. Just popping over from the 2017NQB group. I have never used starch for piecing but I do use it’s shrinking properties when I get a quilt to longarm that has wavy borders – I am always surprise how much a starch and a steam can take out!!

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  4. There was another longarmer that was telling me she uses starch to get the wave parts down. That’s such a good tip! One day I’ll get a longarm… it might be a long ways from now, but one day!

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