May 8th, 2012

me and my vulture

Things to do with potato starch

So.  I have this standing collar, it's featured on my web site.  I took it out a month or so ago, and decided the lace around the edge looked horrifically plastic and modern, and switched it out for some vintage lace I have.  Then I got a mad idea and dug out some reproduction lace I got years ago for Bob, and actually went ahead and made him a lace-edged falling band and matching cuffs.

So far, so good.  While Bob's falling band does not need starch, his cuffs, my cuffs, and my standing collar all did, and Niagara Spray Starch just wasn't going to cut it.  While perusing Patterns of Fashion 4, I had noticed there was a bit in the back about starching ruffs and such with rice starch, so I went back and looked at it, and then ran into a bit of a problem; one of the steps, after painting on the dissolved rice starch, was to bake the ruff in the oven.  The book says that the starch will not cook unless you do this, and the iron won't work.

I don't know about you, but baking my precious lace in a regular old oven, the type most of us have, no matter how clean, did not seem like a fabulous or easy idea to me.  I dithered, I tried baking the dissolved starch with an iron (indeed, it does not work), and I dithered some more.  Then I realized, by mistakenly putting the starch in the microwave to heat it up, that potato (and rice, but I was using potato) starch cooks if you heat it.  If your ratio of starch to water is too high, you will end up with jelly.  If, however, you work with a ratio of approximately 1/4 cup starch to 2 cups of boiling water, you will get something you can work with.  Yes, you're going to get lumps and lose a bit of starch, but the important thing is you don't have to bake your lace in the oven to make it work.

For the oven-shy among us, this seems like a good thing.

So, here's what you start with:

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