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Starch and Bias Stretching?

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    Starch and Bias Stretching?

    The question was raised for some of these patterns which require a significant amount of sewing on the bias (Disappearing Pinwheel, DP2-Churndash, Double hourglass, etc.) would starching the fabric help reduce the stretching and pull while bias sewing?

    I am very new to using starch and while I like the crispness it adds to when pressing open, I am unsure if it would have advantages or disadvantages with regard to bias sewing. I know the simple answer is "if you are worried about bias stretching, use a walking foot" but I don't have a 1/4" foot for my walking foot and don't want to invest the $30 that one would cost.

    Starch users out there- Do you think it would help, hinder, or be neutral with regard to bias stretch when sewing?
    Loosely based on a true story.

    Re: Starch and Bias Stretching?

    I would rather use the walking foot. Ryan - can you adjust your needle position? I put a ruler under my presser foot and adjust my needle until its like a thread to the right of the 1/4" mark. I would rather use the edge of my walking foot than that little guide thing.

    Another easy way to adjust needle position is to use a lined 3 X 5 index card. Those little lines are 1/4" apart.

    Also like to put the stretchiest fabric underneath and only tug on the fabric when I need to stretch it a tiny bit.


      Re: Starch and Bias Stretching?

      yes , I think starch helps.

      Also this is where it is CRITICAL to PRESS not iron. I press on a plain piece of wood covered only with a one layer thin birdseye baby diaper. (not the kind that has multiple layers with the thick center, just plain one layer birdseye)

      I have not found the fabric to stretch while actually sewing, (yes I do have dual feed). Don't pull it or try to force it, let your machine guide it. If it DOES seem to be pulling, try reducing the presser foot pressure and slow down a bit.


        Re: Starch and Bias Stretching?

        Using index cards is a great idea not only for 1/4"but for 1/2". This is a great tip. Thanks
        Hugs Ann


          Re: Starch and Bias Stretching?

          Yes starch does help. I use Mary Ellen's Best Press and I do not have any problems.


            Re: Starch and Bias Stretching?

            It helps a lot - the key is to starch your fabric before you cut - if I am sewing curves I also starch again when pressing seams. My accuracy has increased significantly since I became a starch fiend haha I've used Mary Ellen's and the cheap grocery store stuff, honestly do not see a difference...
            Murphy :icon_wave:


            Quilting forever, housework - whenever!


              Re: Starch and Bias Stretching?

              There is a way to determine the 1/4" on the walking foot. I discovered that the edge of the opening to the R. side of the needle is exactly 1/4". I just line up my fabric with that edge. I would never have thought to use a walking foot with just plain fabric piecing. Whatever works. JCY


                Re: Starch and Bias Stretching?

                I find that starch helps tremendously.
                And like Murphy, I'm not exactly ready to jump on the Mary Ellen bandwagon. A little too pricey, for me....
                I really need to get off the exclamation point.
                It may give people the idea that I'm bright and cheerful all the time....


                  Re: Starch and Bias Stretching?

                  I am making a Big Star quilt now, and am using Jenny's method for HST. Before I cut them into quarters, I have heavily sprayed them. It is too early to tell if that helped or not since I only have one block made. Having had disasters in the past, I am very leery of sewing anything with bias edges. I even have a recent example. I used MSQC's 10 inch papers to make a string quilt. What I forgot was that made the edges on bias, and putting on the border, it was stretched. Now I have a wavy border. What I should have done is not taken the paper off the blocks until they were sewn to the border. Live and learn. I will never use Jenny's HST method again, preferring the traditional method and June Tailor's HST ruler to square up. The only reason I did for the Big Star is that I needed it to work for a layer cake.
                  Joyce "She who dies with the most fabric wins!!"


                    Re: Starch and Bias Stretching?

                    I use Best Press to keep things in line. As for the cost, it's really not bad when purchased on sale and then I dilute it with distilled water and it holds just as well as full strength. I do mine about 2/3 BP and 1/3 water.

                    Even starched you have to be careful with bias, but I think it helps.
                    K is for Karen 😊​ Albuquerque, NM..................
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                      Re: Starch and Bias Stretching?

                      I'll repeat that starching before you cut is he best way. On one project I starched after cutting the strips, and the edge of my strips stuck to the ironing board. Not a good thing to deal with.