Favorite Tools – Starch and a Big Board

I am finally learning to love starch! It took me awhile to warm up to the idea but I’ve used starch on my last few quilt projects and have been pretty happy with it. Once I learned how to spray starch on the back side of the fabric and let it soak in first before I pressed the fabric, I was much happier with my results.

My good friend Alyssa from Pile O’Fabric put together these two wonderful video tutorials on how to starch your fabrics, including blocks and cut pieces.

My vote for favorite brand? Niagra spray starch. It’s super cheap and I can get it by the bundle at Sam’s Club. I was surprised at how quickly I ran through my first bottle.

Along with starch, my other favorite item to share with you this week is a Big Board. I’m sorry that I don’t have a source for them. I’ve only seen them at quilt shows and through distributors. Unfortunately they are way too big and bulky for me to carry in my store. 😦

Big Board

Big Board

If you see one out and about in your travels, be sure to pick it up. I can iron 1/2 yard length of fabric without having to move it around. Yippee! It sits right on top of my regular ironing board and I love it. When I fold up my iron for storage, the board stands right next to it.


Hi all – be sure to read all of the comments that go along with this post. Many of my wonderful blog readers have added links showing where to get one or how to make one. Thank you all for sharing your knowledge!!!

18 thoughts on “Favorite Tools – Starch and a Big Board

  1. mooredcm2 says:

    Another suggestion about starch. My mother taught me to spray completely with starch and then roll or fold fabric. Place fabric in plastic bag in refrigerator so starch has opportunity to completely be absorbed by the fabric. I usually leave my fabric in the fridge for 4-12 hours. The fabric presses beautifully, with very little effort, and the starch does not glop up my iron.

  2. barb price says:

    To add to the previous comment on starch i found this recipe at quiltingboard.com that uses Vodka instead of starch —

    Mix together:
    1 tsp lavender essential oil Note: optional if allergic to scents.
    3 oz. vodka
    Then add to 24oz distilled water in large spray bottle and shake well.
    Hint: Vodka is made from potatoes , a natural starch.

  3. barb price says:

    hi christa, i’m a big fan of starch now too, thanks to the Skillbuilders BOM, anyhow it gets expensive when we use so much and i don’t have the selections you have in the U.S. (i’m in Canada), so i started researching DIY starch recipes. I found this site with a simple recipe–
    there is mixed opinions out there on whether it should be cooked or not, also the addition of essential oils or citrus oil acts as a preservative. Worth a try. Enjoy your holiday

  4. Kirsten says:

    I am also a fan of starch and big boards. My caveat to the big board is to be certain that your ironing board can stand up to the weight of the board. Mine was set next to my bed, and I watched in horror one evening as the leg gave way and buckled and in slow motion everything on the board slid towards me. Fortunately there was not a hot iron on the board at the time.

    I made my board based upon directions I found online. http://quiltingcorgis.blogspot.com/2010/08/productively-mixed-weekend.html Last year I removed the silver fabric and replaced it with a painter’s drop cloth (similar to cotton duck in that it is a thick cotton and substantially cheaper). The silver fabric was pretty slick and squares would slip while I was pressing them. It also reflected a lot of heat back and I was not as satisfied with it when using steam.

    Cheers, K

  5. Linda in Calif. says:

    What a great idea to use it on top the standard board and stand it up next to it when not in use! Why didn’t I think of that. LOL I wanted to make one but just didn’t know where to set it up and store it. I use Magic Sizing instead of starch and it doesn’t glum up my iron. I appreciate the other tips your readers have left. THANKS!

  6. Claire Desrochers says:

    For the best deal on startch buy Sta-Flo at Wal-Mart for under $3 and a spray bottle and mix your own. The $3 bottle will get you about 30 large spray bottles of starch – so BIG savings so you can buy more fabric!!!

  7. Tabatha says:

    I learned the joys of starch from Sharon Schamber, she also recommends a **hard** pressing surface, spongy surfaces may distort your blocks when pressing. Another fave is Elmer’s School Glue — non toxic and washes out in the laundry. Use it to match your points then press and sew. It prevents your fabrics from shifting when stitching and you don’t have to use pins (which can also distort your fabric). Sharon Schamber is an award winning quilt artist and has several videos on YouTube.

  8. sweetsueemily says:

    A “big board” is something I would love to have. I hate how I have to keep rearranging my fabric or quilt top on my ironing board to iron it and then it gets wrinkly again. I am wondering if you would tell me the measurements of the big board, maybe it is something that could be made by going to Home Depot and purchasing plywood in the correct measurements, and then adding some batting and a top fabric to cover it. What do you think? Maybe it could be a tutorial, LOL.
    Thank you! I love your daily messages.

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