Starch knitting?


Here are yet another silly newbeginner question of mine… :aww:

I’ve got a lace project going on, and I would need to make it a little bit more stiff.

It’s mercerized cotton.

Iv’e heard that you can starch it. How is this done? What is the kind of starch used. Simple corn starch?

And yet another VERY stupid question. Wouldn’t that be washed away in the loundry?! I want to make my lace edgings stay stiffened for long!

So: Is there a permanent way to stiffen knitted cotton?

Thank you so much for help. :slight_smile: I feel so stupid!


At the bottom of the page at Get Your Crocheting Patterns
they give two suggestion one is to mix equal parts of white glue and water, dip the crochet item in the mixture and squeeze out the excess mixture. Lay flat and block in the desired shape.

The second is to brush with Shellac for a very hard finish.


Thank you so much for reply. :slight_smile:

Shellac seems to be axactly what’s suitable for my needs!

But: Corrects me if I’m wrong. Doesn’t shellac have a yellowish tone?
I need it to be transperent. :slight_smile:


You can stiffen lace with cornstarch, diluted in water, but it may wash out over time. Extremely stiff treatments, such as diluted Elmer’s glue or shellac, are usually only used for items that are to be framed and displayed; not worn. All chemical-based stiffening solutions have a chance of yellowing over time, but some do worse than others. For very, very stiff lace, some people use clear nail polish or enamel, which is less likely to yellow than commercial shellac. I usually go with Stiffy, a commercial product that you can get at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s and other craft stores. It’s a lot like Elmer’s glue, but is designed specifically for stiffening fabric.

Above all, I would recommend doing some small swatches from the same yarn and test them out with your options before you do the final piece. The extra step is definitely worth it so as not to ruin your hard work!

Thank you. :slight_smile:

Well, that rules out cornstarch as an option unfortunately… And I can’t find the brand name Stiffy in my country… Otherwise, that would sound good to.

I would love experimenting with a dozen of stiffeners, but it’s also an economical question. I can’t buy it all, just for testing. :smiley: I would like something that’s proven to work.

Ofcourse I woulnd’t run away and clog up my real piece right away. A swatch is the first step. :slight_smile:

Anyone who knows if there is a thing like “bleached shellac”?

What is the project-- meaning, what will be done with the lace? Worn? Are there any other yarns being used for it?

It’s a thin lace project, that should be sewed on, “on” a scarf.

The scarf would be worn on skin, the lace wouldn’t. It would be sewed on the scarf, as an application.

Mercerized cotton, both pieces.

Got any ideas from the info above? :slight_smile: As hard as shellac would be super.

I have not done it, but when I was a kid, my mother used to starch home crocheted lace with regular starch all the time. I remember people used to have these doilies that had deep ruffles all around (Like an Elizabethan collar). Mom would starch hers, and then leave it to dry with coke bottles holding each individual ruffle, and when dry, the doily would stay like that. Tastes change, but I always sort of liked those. I think she mixed it a little bit stiffer than regular starch mixture that she’d use on our shirts & bed linens. (Yes she starched and irons our sheets and pillowcases.)

One thing from long ago, that I still do use, though are lacy knitted chairback & arm covers. I prefer them to the self-fabric ones because they are lighter and also tend to stay in place better. I cannot tell you how glad I am they are there when my beloved brother who is a trucker and cannot get to a place to wash his hair as often as he’d like, come to visit. He lays his head back and it is on that chairback cover, NOT my new brocade chair fabric.

If this is for a scarf, and therefore not going to be washed very often, I would starch the lace, using regular laundry starch-- I wouldn’t use glue or shelack. Then sew it on, or pick up the sts, or however it works, and do the rest of the scarf.

Hi again!

Iv’e got an idea about starching knitting by a male friend of mind a couple of days ago.

He suggested Envirotex epoxy. Anyone that knows how that would work? How stiff would that make my lace?

Thank’s a bunch for all the ideas you’ve already given. :muah:

More info on this product:
Environmental Technology Inc.

I have not worked with this product, but , epoxy in general would then to be thicker than what I would want to work with. I may be possible to create a form. place the lace inside the form and pour the epoxy over the lace. Once the epoxy was dry the form could be removed and you would have epoxy encased lace. I would be concerned about how the edges would look and how they could be cleaned up.

This would be too stiff for use on a scarf.

It’s a thin lace project, that should be sewed on, “on” a scarf.

The scarf would be worn on skin, the lace wouldn’t. It would be sewed on the scarf, as an application.

If this is an application…you would be sewing the edge to the scarf and while your there…tack it down a few places in the body too…therefore it would stay in place, you can wash and wear…and you dont need to “stiffen” it at all.

Just a thought

I used this Stiffen Stuff on crocheted snowflake ornaments. It worked great and still stiff years later.

I haven’t tried Aleene’s, but I’ve heard it was good.

Jan in CA: This sounds just like the perfect thing!

How stiff does the Stiffen Stuff get?

I’ve tried to wash a swap for scarf and the lace got all messed up, it looked really terrible. I’m in big need of real STIFFENING stuff. :cool:

They are very stiff, but of course they get no wear and tear to speak of. I don’t think it’s washable so you’d have to redo it if you need to wash, but it wasn’t hard.

Okay… But the Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener says specifik in the text that it’s “water resistant”?

It doesn’t say washable though. It’s probably just if it gets splashed. Like maybe if you used it on a coaster or doily it might get splashed or damp. I don’t know of anything other than the iron on stuff that are washable.

That’s too bad. :frowning: I need something that is washable. It’s in the loundry that my lace gets messed up…

Hi again. :slight_smile:

Maybe got a new idea. How would it be to use wide meshed aida cloth and either sew on or iron some interfacing (

Pros and cons?

Aida cloth can as I understand be cut in the shape you want without needed to be folded?

How about shrinkage? My lace shrunk a bit in the loundry. Would interface and aida shrink? I have to put on the aida BEFORE wirst wash, so it is of big importance…

Does aida soften if you wash it by the way?

Ideas, tips, advices? :slight_smile: