When reading this article, please remember that all products have pros and cons....and people have their personal preferences. These are my personal preferences.
When I bring home new fabrics I like to give them a little "welcome home" spa treatment ;) Translation- I like to starch and iron them. Here's my routine:
First, I gather my liquid starch and spray bottle. I got this sprayer at Harbor Freight for around $7, and I love it! It is SO much easier on my hands, wrist, and forearms than a plain squirt bottle. Next, I mix my water and starch 1:1 in my sprayer and shake it up.
Luckily, I have outdoor curtains on my patio, so I use their clothes line to hang, spray, and dry my fabrics on. All I do is spray them and set a timer for 30 minutes. They're usually dry by then. Obviously, more time will be required on a humid day (like today). When they are dry, I iron them smooth, using lots of steam. NO MORE LIQUIDS (starch, best press, or water) will touch my fabric until a block's final pressing and squaring up before quilt assembly.
Brodhi- my helper!
I like to tease my husband, so one day I asked him if he waved to his money hanging in the back yard when passed by...his reply was, "No. I don't want to think about it." He's just no fun :(
Why do I starch my fabric? First of all, it does a bit of preshrinking. It stabilizes bias edges, so they don't stretch as much during handling and piecing. Starching will definitely improve the cutting process- fabric lays flatter and is stiffer, allowing for more accurate cuts. So if you're making a quilt using flying geese, half square triangles, diamonds, hexis, half hexis, etc., or just lots of small pieces -to me that's anything smaller than 3.5" square-I recommend this starching method.
If I'm pressed for time (he-he...pressed for time), I will spray BOTH sides of fabric heavily with starch in a can and iron it. Either way-make SURE your fabric is dry before cutting it. If it's not your fabric likely continue to shrink as it dries. Ask me how I know-I've seen students do this several times, and the whole quilting process just goes down hill from there. Quilting is a lesson in patience.
I don't starch my fabric if I know I'm going to use them in a hand piecing project. Those fabrics will be sprayed with Best Press and ironed.