I sew a lot of jersey knit fabric, and it’s much easier to sew a skirt from an upcycled T-shirt when the T-shirt fabric doesn’t curl up all fiddly-like.
Spray starch is the solution for lightly, naturally, temporarily (and cheaply!) stiffening knit fabrics while you sew them. The spray starch will wash out in the regular wash that you put your finished project into, and will leave your jersey knit neatly and regularly stitched.
Spray starch, depending on the brand, can be quite expensive, but if you’re a regular consumer you’ll be thrilled (or horrified) to see how cheaply and easily you can make your own version.
Frankly, homemade spray starch is even better than the store-bought kind because it’s completely customizable. If you want a light starch, you can make it. If you want a heavy starch, well, you can make that, too!
Read on for the easy recipe, and options for customizing it to fit your exact sewing needs:
Start your recipe with plain distilled water. The water where I live is hard, and so I always worry about water stains on my pristine white fabric, so I use distilled water in my iron and for laundry recipes like these.
To each cup of water, add between one teaspoon and three teaspoons of cornstarch, depending on how stiff you’d like your spray starch to be. One teaspoon will give a very light starch, suitable for a child’s dress shirt, while three teaspoons is a heavy starch, and what I use when I’m stitching jersey knit.
This is a raw recipe, so it doesn’t require cooking at all. Some spray starch recipes call for boiling the water, but all you have to do with this recipe is funnel it into a spray bottle–simple, quick, and easy to do while little kids pester you.
I believe the theory behind cooking the spray starch is to help it keep longer, so rethink this particular raw recipe if that’s a concern to you, but during times when I haven’t sewn regularly (can you imagine?), I’ve kept this particular spray starch recipe perfectly fine in its spray bottle for several months with no spoilage.
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