Thursday, August 18, 2016

More Thoughts On Starch

For my next project, I'm reaching into the magic basket of Fig Tree Quilts fabric.  Yes, another Fig Tree Harvest quilt!

I've made six major quilts, a baby quilt, and a wall hanging in this series to date.  As a result, though I'm not exactly down to scraps, it would be hard to put a quilt together out of five to eight coordinating fabrics.  But I got an idea for something that is scrappy, where I can use the leftovers from my other projects.  I have lots of partial fat quarters from which I am cutting 2" strips.  These will go into strip sets, which I will augment with 2" squares cut from the real scraps.

Being a convert to starch, I starched the fabric before cutting.  I started with aerosol cans of Niagara but the two cans I had on hand did not go very far.  I had quite a bit of Best Press on hand so I used that but when I ran out, I still had fabric left to starch.  So next I tried concentrated starch (comes in a big bottle), mixed in a 1:4 ratio with water in a trigger spray bottle (I used the empty Best Press bottle).  Here are my thoughts on these different starches.

Niagara Non-Aerosol Trigger Spray - This is my favorite but it is not readily available to me. None of the stores around me carry it and it is ridiculously pricey on  It is easy to spray and get the right amount of saturation in your fabric so it dries stiff without being too stiff.

Niagara Original Aerosol Spray Starch - The price is right, less than $2 a can at stores around me, but one can does not cover much fabric (around 2 yards) so I've been going through a lot of it and feel guilty about the environmental impact of all those aerosol cans.  But it gives the right amount of stiffness and the finish is great.

Best Press - This is billed as a starch alternative and while it gives fabric a crisp finish, it does not get it as stiff as I'd like.  And a bottle does not go far so it is too pricey to use for this purpose.  On the positive side, it comes in some great scents that add that your ironing pleasure.  I'm saving it to use more as a finishing spray.

Starch Concentrate - One bottle goes far when mixed with water in a 1:4 for 1:3 ratio, making it both economical and perfect for getting the exact degree of starchiness you want.  I'm going to stick with it for now, unless I find Niagara in a trigger spray bottle again.

More on my new project next week.

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  1. Which pattern are you going to use for these fabulous fabrics? I too have learned of the benefits of using starch. I tried the Best Press first and I agree that it does not make the fabric as crisp as I would like. I used my Joanne's coupons for it which cut the price considerably. I do like the scents. I recently started using the Niagra non-aerosol spray starch and it gives me the result I wanted. It doesn't leave any residue which is a big plus! I think it will be used a lot when I start my hexie project.

  2. I like starch too but don't use it all the time. I've been using the Niagara non aerosol along with the Best Press. I also have in the cupboard Faultless, Maxx. Although I haven't seen it lately. None of these are flakey, thank goodness.

  3. Scraps? Fig Tree? You have my attention! :-) Thank you for your thoughts on the starch... some times I think about diving right into a quilt project without any starch (to get to the sewing quicker!).... but know that I will regret it after the sewing starts! ;-)

  4. Oooh, thanks for the comparisons! I gave up on aerosols a year or two ago because the nozzles kept getting clogged long before the can was used, and I've been using Best Press since then -- although 1. I don't starch ahead of time like you (but I need to try -- it sounds like a great method!)do which would use too much for pricey Best Press, and 2. I just don't think Best Press comes near aerosol for crispiness. I never thought of mixing concentrated -- what a great idea!

  5. Hi Cathy I love your blog and appreciate your thoughts on starch, I use best press and niagara....I did not know niagara had the trigger spray so went looking for some that was not fifteen dollars a can....I found it at Home Depot of all places....its was under three dollars a can...I bought all my local store had in stock. I am in TN but checked and there seems to be Home Depots in NJ. I hope you are able to find some near you. J D

  6. Don't you just love Fig Tree Fabrics. I think they are my all time favorites! Just can't get enough of them. Your quilt is going to be beautiful!


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