Monday, April 19, 2010

An experiment.........

Note: This post is for Ginny! I know you are reading this and you inspired me to try it!

I have to admit that I was being a little eccentric when I started on this experiment :) We were leaving for an event the next day and I needed my petticoats to be starched but I also wanted to try my hand at what the original cast might have done. Per a friend's suggestion I used this recipe that was found over on the Sewing Academy Forum.

"Heavy Starch: In large saucepot, mix 1/2 c. starch (laundry or corn) and 1 cup cold water. Gradually stir in 2 quarts water. Stirring constantly, bring to boil over medium heat and boil 1 minute. (Note: 1 minute of boiling, no more or less produces the best starch solution.) Use warm.

Medium Starch: Dilute Heavy starch solution with 2 quarts water.

Light starch: Dilute Heavy starch solution with 4 quarts water.

For best results:
Fabric should be clean, wet, and unfolded before dipping into starch solution.
Use starch solution while warm.
Iron fabric while damp."

The starch solution was so hot that I had to use gloves and a wooden spoon. Becca and I were giggling about something when she took this picture :)

Wringing the solution out of a petticoat......

The finished product the next morning! The petticoats are so stiff that they rustle and the corded bonnets turned out great! I only starched the brim of course but it was so easy that I think I like it better than my slat bonnet. I am looking forward to seeing how long the petticoats stay stiff and if the starch truly acts like "scotch guard" like it is praised to do :)

I didn't starch anything on those drawers but I finished them that same day and I thought adding them to the line was more pleasing to the eye than just having four things in the picture. :)

I forgot to take pictures of what the starch looks like but it just looks like white-ish water and is very slimy to the touch. It feels not so pleasant but is great after it dries :) Now all I have to do is the rest of my petticoats and about 8 others that my mom and sister have. I think this would be a great educational project to do at an event as it is so hands on and yet practical.

As Always,
Bethany Lynn


  1. Wow that looks kinda fun! Glad it worked!


  2. Thanks for posting! I've been too afraid to starch petticoats, but I think I will try it now.

  3. They look great. What kind of starch did you end up using?

  4. Stephanie, I did end up using corn starch.

  5. Thanks Bethany! :D Starching is a lot of fun. We had all our petticoats spread out over lawn chairs in the front yard. They looked pretty funny. :P

  6. I am so glad I ran across your blog. I have always wanted to make my own starch. As I have made soap and other cleaning products. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  7. I was going to starch one of my petticoats (using an identical recipe/method found on, but when I went to the cupboard I found I was all out of starch! Oh well, I'll get some next shopping trip.
    Questions: did you dry the starched things until damp before ironing? Or just iron right after wringing out? Also, would the "heavy starch" be the one to use?

  8. I recommend letting it dry until it is only slightly damp and THEN ironing. Works best that way. If you iron right after you wring it out, it will get gunk all over your iron. If you iron after it is completely dry, it won't even iron because it is so stiff!

    I do recommend "heavy starch" for petticoats. That is what I used. I would use the lighter for men's collars and cuffs and things of that nature.