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Starching your Fabric // Technique Tutorial Tuesday

This post is part of the Technique Tutorial Tuesdays Series. Click here to see all of the posts and learn more about the series.

Last week I was unable to do a Technique Tutorial for the series, but I am back today with a tutorial that should really be helpful in your quilting. I personally feel it is absolutely imperative that you do this with all quilting projects! So what technique is it? Drumroll please…

Starch Your Fabric!

Well, you may be thinking starch? What? I haven't starched anything since 1980, who uses starch anymore? When ironing my clothes I never use starch, but with quilting I ALWAYS use it. Yes, this may seem silly, but just try it once and you will be hooked.

This is one of the steps I talked about in the Skill Builder BOM and I had a few questions on exactly how I starch my fabric, how much starch to use, and so on. So today I have prepared a 2 part video tutorial walking you through each and every step.

Part 1

Part 2

Summary of Video Tutorial

Here are some important points to remember:

  • Starching your fabric before cutting it can help stabilize the fabric and prevent it from stretching. It can also help you achieve more accurate piecing.
  • You want your pressing table/board to be harder than a standard ironing board. A soft table will cause issues when trying to press your fabric.
  • Use a DRY hot iron (medium-high heat), no steam, preferably 1600 watt or more.
  • Always put the side of the fabric you sprayed with starch down toward the pressing board and press the dry side with the iron. (don't worry about getting starch on your pressing board).
  • Starch your fabric in layers, using very little on each layer. I usually starch mine 2 - 3 times on each side.
  • Press your iron - do not rub or move it too quickly or roughly.
  • Don't worry about how your fabric feels, the starch will wash out when you wash the final quilt.
  • If you have small precut pieces that need to be starched, just be very very careful to gently press them so that they do not become distorted or stretched.
  • When starching a finished block, spray starch very lightly on the back side only.
  • When pressing your final block be sure to pay close attention to the seams. If they were all pressed open they need to stay open!
  • Something I did not note but wanted to mention. If you notice burn marks on your fabric you need to lower your heat and possibly use lighter layers of starch.

    So as silly as it may seem I promise you that starching your fabric can be life-changing. Give it a try and let me know what you think or if you have any questions!


      Post Comments

    • Liz says...

      I am new to quilting and find your starching tutorial really helpful. Thank you very much. I love your block too.

      On January 15, 2015

    • Nina With Freckles says...

      Hi Alyssa, I just wrote a blog post on how to make spray starch at home (based on Kati/from the blue chair’s tutorial) and added a link to this excellent tutorial. Thanks so much for a thorough explanation on how to use it!

      On November 10, 2014

    • Sabeena says...

      Thank you so much! Brilliant and clear explanation I cant wait to use this technique now you have explained it so well. thanks again x

      On August 20, 2014

    • Aiming for Accuracy Quilt Along 5, 6, 7 ve 8. Bloklar | Lace & Ribbon says...

      […] kolasının nasıl kullanılacağına dair internette küçük bir araştırma yaptım. Bu video nasıl kullanılacağını gerçekten çok güzel […]

      On August 20, 2014

    • Alessandra says...

      I can’t believe I did not find your blog earlier… It would save me so much time… I had to try and try and make a lot of mistakes before understanding starching… And now, there you come… And everything seems so obvious…

      On August 20, 2014

    • Lynn C says...

      Would this work for starching aida cloth and linen before cross stitching it? Would it make the colored embroidery flosses run when hand washing the projects in prep for framing?

      On August 20, 2014

    • Debbie says...

      I used the Bounce pressing spray, which i have loved, but I just noticed that I have spots on the white sashing of my quilt. I am terrified now. Are you familiar with that product? I love the “stiffiness” of the square when I am sewing, etc. but I don’t wish for stains!

      On August 20, 2014

    • Gladys says...

      Hello, Alyssa!
      Thanks a lot! You have changed my life with the technique of starch!
      Just one question. I don’t live in your country and I don’t know this brand. Can you tell me if you use it directly from the bottle or if it diluted with a little water before use?
      What exists in my country is much more thick and white.
      I love the SBQA that you shared! I hope someday to get these beautiful fabrics and make one very similar to yours, because I think it is fantastic!
      A big hug!

      On August 20, 2014

    • Alyssa says...

      You are going to love the accuracy you can achieve with this!

      On August 20, 2014

    • Alyssa says...

      I think this would definitely help! It should work on any woven natural fibers. The starch is just a sizing agent and should not cause any running, but be sure to test it.

      On August 20, 2014

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    Alyssa Lichner from Pile O' Fabric

    Welcome to the Pile O’ Fabric blog, my name is Alyssa Lichner, I live in sunny Gilbert, AZ. I am a freelance web and graphic designer turned avid sewist. I write modern quilting tutorials and share techniques and inspiration here at Pile O’ Fabric… Read More

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