Hey, I have been quilting for a long time (though apparently mainly “bless your heart” quilts) but every once in a while I realize I really don’t know much! Sure I have my moments of brilliance but they are just moments and getting rarer and rarer by the day) I have a sweet customer who is an absolutely fabulous quilter – really, I’m honored to work on her beautiful quilts. One day not long ago she was in my office and mentioned that she starched her fabric before she cut it out. DING, DING, DING! She explained that starching her fabric made it easier to line her points up and to get real definition in her quarter-inch seams. Many of your probably know this already but it was news (and joyously received) to me! So I tried it.
I went to Wal-Mart and got their cheap liquid starch (Sta-Flo), poured it full-strength into a spray bottle and liberally sprayed the back side of my fabric. I used my hand to smooth the starch around and then hung it on a little drying ladder I have in the office. After about 15 minutes I ironed the fabric with a dry, hot iron. Cover your ironing board or pad with something or you’ll get flakey starch residue on it. The fabric will turn of stiff and board-like which is definitely kind of fun. When you cut your pieces they will continue to be stiff which allows you to sew them together with more precision. The fabric relaxes the more it is manipulated and of course, the starchiness goes away when the fabric is washed.
This obviously adds another step in your quilt making but with more challenging pattern designs it is well worth it!