Any Press is Good Press

Best Press, Starch, and Vodka?

by Beth Cooper

Starch. Love it or hate it?  It can be an invaluable tool in the quilting world.  What is your favorite kind?

Best Press and June Tailor’s Starch Savvy are two phenomenal products that most quilters are familiar with. Both of these products are made to stiffen your fabric, flatten your seams and wrinkles, and make your fabric easier to work with.  These products don’t leave little flakes on your fabric and have proven their excellence. 

Mary Ellen’s Best Press comes in a variety of scents. It makes your fabric smell yummy!

If you’re in a pinch and want to make your own starch, pull the vodka out of the liquor cabinet and whip some up.  Just make sure your vodka is made from potatoes, a natural starch.  Add ¼ cup vodka to 1 cup distilled water.  Put it in an empty spray bottle and voila! You have starch.  If you want it to be extra starchy (Is that a word?), you can play around with the ratio.  Some quilters make it 50% vodka, 50% water.  Cheap vodka is the best kind to use but be warned, even the cheap stuff doesn’t make this the most cost-effective method.

The cheapest and perhaps the most effective starch product is simply, spray starch.  This is found on every laundry aisle in the world.  It does a great job of flattening your seams and giving your fabric a very nice crisp feel that makes it easier to work with.  Experienced quilters will always mention that spray starch will leave flakes on your fabric.  That is possible.  The best way around that is to spray the starch on the backside of your fabric yardage before ever beginning to cut or piece.  Then by the time you cut and sew, your fabric is nice and crisp.  No need to spray again when you press your seams. 

Starch is available in stores everywhere.

You can check out a variety of pressing aids here. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better than these options.  Have fun, quilters!

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Marilyn Schroeder
Marilyn Schroeder
1 year ago

Great information ! Thank you

1 year ago

Vodka is made via distillation. The chemistry of distillation results in no starch polymers (amylose or amylopectin) in the distillate at all. The assertion in this article is not supported by science.

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