What You Will Need:
*1/2 c. of cornstarch
*1 c. cold water
*2-6 quarts of water (depending on starch strength)
*a large pot
*rubber gloves (optional)
*petticoats or items to be starched
*large round garbage cans, lawn chairs, or some hangers
*iron & ironing board
1. Soak your petticoats. I like to put them on the quick wash cycle on my washer--that way they're not only wet but clean before I starch them (so I'm not sealing in dirt or stains!). Petticoats can also be dunked in the bathtub or shower and wrung out.
2. While the petticoats are washing, mix up your starching solution. Pour your 1/2 c. of cornstarch into the pot and mix it with one cup of cold water. Now you need to decide how heavy you want your starch solution to be.
Heavy--recommended for petticoats
Medium--recommended for articles of linen
Light--recommended for other unmentionables and collars
|Heavy starch should look like milk once the quarts have been added.|
|Petticoats in a pot!|
6. Time to dunk! Be careful, your starch may still be hot. Put your items in one at a time and swish them around until they are completely submerged. When you lift them out they will be covered with a goopy solution. You can either leave this on (for stiffer petticoats that take longer to dry) or skim it off with your fingers (you might want to wear the rubber gloves for this--starch can dry out your hands). I like to skim most of it off, leaving a nice thin layer of starchy goop on.
7. Once each item is starched, hang it up using your method of choice. You can now dispose of the starch solution (remember, don't pour it down the drain!) and clean up the mess. Keep checking on the petticoats to see if they're damp yet.
|A bevy of beauties!|
|You can see the difference pressing makes here--pressed on the right, unpressed on the left.|
After several washings/wearings you will notice that the starch will start to wear off...which means it's time to starch again! :) You can read more about starching (including different recipes, such as one using potato starch) at the Sewing Academy.