Starch Much?

I’ve mentioned starch before, but never devoted a post to it.  Lately I’ve used lots of starch, and noticed different starches when picking up a can (or three!).  So I decided to collect, use, and share my opinions.

Starch much?

Brands represented: Faultless, Niagara, and Best Press

Why take the time to use starch?

I love the crisp, stiff feel to the fabric once it’s been pressed with starch.  It helps make my cuts more precise, and the fabrics less likely to fray.  In my experience, of course.  Starch helps stubborn creases release and lay flat, and crisp fabrics are easier to feed through the sewing machine.  Starch also helps with any precision that I may be aiming for.

When and how to use starch?

I use starch while pressing before I cut any pieces.  If I do not use it before cutting, I do not use it at any other point in my project.  Sometimes, I like to starch quilt blocks to keep the seam allowances where they should be.  I treat all the fabrics being used in my project the same way, even if that means running to the store just for starch, so that I can continue to sew!

A light to medium spray over the section on the ironing board, does the trick!  Wait for any foam to absorb, then press until dry.  Sometimes I’m too hasty, and I have to go back and iron a couple sections again – that works too.

Any reason to not use starch?

I don’t use starch with projects that will be used for, or around electronics.  Or items that may not be washed right away.  Some of the fragrances added to the starch, can cause allergic reactions, so be careful of who it’s for, or be sure to wash before giving.  Or if you are having trouble breathing while using it – Stop!


The most often used in the group above is the Faultless Premium.  It has a nice fine mist, and crisp finish.  I like the Best Press as well, but I’m very sensitive to the fragrances used, and have to use the unscented.  Best Press yields a little less body than Faultless, but still nice and crisp.

The non aerosol, trigger sprays by Faultless and Niagara, are not my favorite.  They tend to saturate the fabric more,  thus I spend more time ironing.  And the Faultless Heavy Starch works, but I prefer the finer spray of the Premium label.   (Less time ironing).


What do you think?  Do you regularly use starch?  If so, do you have a favorite?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!


**If you are concerned about the cost of Best Press, (not in stores) sells it by the gallon, which you can occasionally use a coupon for.

By | 2017-02-06T09:18:27+00:00 January 12th, 2012|sewing|30 Comments


  1. KristyLou January 12, 2012 at 5:28 am - Reply

    I have used start a few times for appliqué. And I started to think it would be good to use all of the time! So slowly I have been incorporating it more. I will have to check out the kinds you have suggested. Thanks.

  2. Melissa January 12, 2012 at 5:45 am - Reply

    I’m very new to using starch, so don’t know much about it. Why don’t you use it on fabrics that will be used around electronics?

  3. sandyquiltz January 12, 2012 at 5:49 am - Reply

    I’m a big fan of Mary Ellen’s Best Press. I didn’t realize Joann’s website carried the gallon, though–I pick those up when I manage to find them at a quilt shop. Fortunately, a gallon lasts me a long time so I don’t have to look often! Thanks for the tip–now I know where to check next time. When I started quilting, the only starch we had in the house was Niagra and I quickly learned to seriously dislike it–I had problems with it flaking. Eventually I learned I had to wait a bit after spraying to press it, but knowing just how long to wait was a problem. I don’t have that issue with Best Press at all.

  4. Becky M January 12, 2012 at 5:53 am - Reply

    Funny you posted about this. I just pulled out my starch yesterday and wondered when I should be using it! I don’t tend to starch because I heard it can attract bugs. I was afraid of putting fabric back on the shelf and having an infestation. Also, I am concerned about having it all over my ironing board and getting it on projects I don’t want it on (ie those electronic covers/baby stuff/ wall hangings).

  5. Suzanne January 12, 2012 at 6:26 am - Reply

    I really appreciate the comparison here. I haven’t had a real preference. In fact, I would just buy whatever was in the aisle at the store I was at. I can’t even tell you what is on the ironing board this exact moment but I sure hope it’s Faultless.

  6. Pat @ Color Me Quilty January 12, 2012 at 6:34 am - Reply

    I use the unscented Best Press all the time. Really gets rid of wrinkles and leaves a nice finish on your fabric. I think I get better, more accurate results if I starch my fabric. I also use it before I machine embroider.

  7. Becky January 12, 2012 at 6:35 am - Reply

    I have never used starch but recently I have started pondering it’s value so I appreciate this post and the timing of it. I was at the point of wondering which brand to try and now I have a couple, at least, to choose from.

  8. Patti January 12, 2012 at 6:55 am - Reply

    I hadn’t thought about using it prior to cutting, but I do use Best Press when I finish a block to make the seams lie flat.

  9. Debbie January 12, 2012 at 7:34 am - Reply

    I rarely have used it, so this is very interesting to me! Thanks.

  10. Nancy D. January 12, 2012 at 7:55 am - Reply

    I’ve not had very good luck with having a good sprayer nozzle on two cans of the Faultless brand. I took the nozzle off and tried to see if cleaning it, but it still sprayed clumps. I read somewhere about the Sta-Flo liquid starch. So I bought it and a spray bottle and mixed it with water and it works pretty well. But, I’ve also started using Best Press – Linen Fresh scent and really like it.

  11. Ktquilts January 12, 2012 at 8:21 am - Reply

    I loved the Fautless Premium, but after a day of lots of sewing, my zhusband would come home and be bothered by the aerosol fumes. I tried Best Press, but it left me unimpressed. Just too limp, and way too expensive. Now I use the Niagra. It is as crisp as I like, without the aerosol fumes. It may take a bit longer to press, but better that my family breaths easier.

  12. Monica January 12, 2012 at 9:46 am - Reply

    I don’t used Spray Starch a lot but when I do I use Faultless Premium. I use it mainly for starching quilt backing before quilting on my home sewing machine. It helps prevent the chance of a pucker on the back while I’m quilting…or so I think. I also use it when I’m making circles with Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circles templates.

    I use Best Press for wrinkly fabrics that I don’t want to come out really starched feeling.

  13. Jenn January 12, 2012 at 9:47 am - Reply

    I have only used it for applique (Natalia’s method) but have been wondering recently if it would help for keeping my seams better in place. Thanks for posting, I wouldn’t have thought to spray it before cutting too.

  14. Cindy Sharp January 12, 2012 at 9:52 am - Reply

    I choose to use or not use starch for much the same reasons that you mentioned. However, if I am totally honest, I most often use it because it smells good and i can linger over the warm steam of the iron and day dream a little.

  15. Jennifer O. January 12, 2012 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Before I started quilting I used Fautless and Niagra for irning shirts and etc. When I started quilting I rarely touched any starch but soon learned it was a necessity. I learned through other quilters in what they were using. Majority of the folks out there rave about Best Press and I happen to agree with them. It is a great product. But for me personally, I went through the stuff so fast that my bank account can not keep up with the expenses. Another starch that my mom has used over and over again is Magic Sizing. To me Magic Sizing is the in between of Fautless, Niagra and Best Press. Yes, you have to wait a little bit for it to settle into the fabric before ironing, and it is light weight too. But the fums are low and so is the cost. Wal-Mart sells it in my area for a $1.00 and our Dollar General sells it for .99. Not a bad deal!

  16. Queenie January 12, 2012 at 11:43 am - Reply

    I use spray sizing as opposed to spray starch. I can’t remember the name of the brand off hand. Spray sizing does not leave any residue like spray starch can. I mainly use spray sizing when piecing miniature quilts. It is sooooo helpful for sewing and pressing the itty bitty pieces when they have the extra body and stiffness spray sizing brings.
    Have a great day.
    Always, Queenie

  17. diane stanley January 12, 2012 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this post. I don’t use starch regularly but love the way it makes things a lot easier to work with. I might give it more of a chance and get into a practice of always using it.

  18. kelly January 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    mary ellen’s! there’s no comparison. no residue, and not too stiff. and it smells nice.

  19. pattyskypants January 12, 2012 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    I will not use aerosol products of any kind ever.

  20. Linda Winters January 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    I use the Premium Faultless. I use a LOT of starch in my quilt making.

  21. Michelle in NH January 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    I use home-mixed starch all the time. I like the control & the finished crispness. I use liquid starch & using directions on the back of the bottle to dilute the starch, I fill a spray bottle. I like that I don’t use a aerosol can too. Somewhere I read that you can mix cornstarch to make your own starch, but I haven’t tried that yet. Thank you for the post & the chance to contribute.

  22. colourdujour January 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    I like to use Niagara because the smell reminds me of my grammie.

  23. Tove Leggett January 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    intersting post, I know a gal that makes her own its works great! i’ll have to get the recipe from her for you too try or at least compare.

  24. Pam January 12, 2012 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy,
    This is a great topic and knowing when to use starch is very important. I just put unstarched fabrics together in a quilt top and boy am I sorry! First of all, there was frequent use of the lint remover! You know, for those shredding pieces…being in a hurry to start the project was my excuse. That will not happen with my next project (starting next week)! I know this information, but my arm just wasn’t going to hold out with all the cutting (at the last minute) AND pressing fabric too! I sacrificed and although the blocks are together, they aren’t as well sewn together and there are more areas where blocks do not match! Oy! Anyhoo, Ellen’s BEST PRESS is my favorite and outside of that I use another starch when pressing yardage…I’ll have to go and look at the name…think it’s “Easy On”. So I encourage everyone to starch and press fabric before using those nice soft fabrics; you can always wash before gifting or selling…most like those nice comfy looking and feeling quilts! Just a note; paper piecing is a breeze when the fabric has been starched!
    okay…happy starching…smile!

  25. Beth T. January 13, 2012 at 2:35 am - Reply

    I, too, had heard that starch can attract bugs. I haven’t been able to get confirmation of that or a certain assurance that it doesn’t. Any idea about this?

  26. sue January 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Remember that starch is made from food, and bugs like it…so definitely do not use it on something that will not be washed!

  27. Sew Create It - Jane January 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    For those in the UK we have Dylon Starch and Dylon Easy Iron which is more like a fabric sizing and the one I use over starch. The starch tends to be more flaky. I love the Easy Iron and use it for everything from before cutting to appliqué.

  28. Molly January 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    I learned about starching from you when I first started quilting. Even since then I’ve starched all my fabrics when I’m ironing and love the smooth finish. I do think it helps me cut straighter. I’ve been using whatever is on sale but I’m looking the Faultless next time.

  29. SusanM January 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Does anyone have a tip for getting the starch overspray off my pergo flooring? I didn’t give it much thought before I placed the ironing board there… thank you!

  30. […] Starch is still a favorite tool for crisp fabric, and great points! This is a pile of fabric waiting to be cut, after starching. […]

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