Pressing and Biscuits

While visiting the blog of a quilting friend I found a great post on starch/sizing alternatives. Her name is Lois Arnold, and you can see the post at: It contains her product testing adventure with Mary Ellen’s Best Press™. I’ve used Best Press™ and discovered my husband and I are both allergic to something in it – it causes us to cough as soon as the iron hits it. So her alternative recipe was of interest to me. I highly recommend reading her entire article, but I want to share her recipe here:

iron-for-webLois Arnold’s Starch Alternative

3 cups distilled water

1/2 cup liquid starch

3 oz vodka

1 teaspoon essential oil

I tried it myself and love it! Works great and no coughing! My essential oil was a bit strong, so I think I’ll use just a few drops in my next batch.


This week I’d also like to share a picture of a biscuit quilt made by a follower of this blog. Janet had seen the post I did a year ago, about a biscuit quilt made by my friend Louise (click here to visit that post). She emailed me this message:

Janets biscuit quilt

A few months ago you posted a picture of a Biscuit Quilt designed by one of your fellow quilters. I’m always looking for new ideas particularly with children’s and baby quilts and decided this would be the perfect use for some of my flannel scraps. This became a fun “work in progress” project but I quickly learned that overstuffing is not a good idea. The finished quilt was donated to the MS Auction held in southern Wisconsin. The response was great and I know the money raised went to a great cause. Thanks for sharing ideas and directions.

Isn’t it delightful!?! And the matching burp cloths are so clever. Thank you so much Janet! I really appreciate getting feedback from you quilters, especially with pictures, about the things I share on the blog 🙂 .

8 Opinions

  • Carolyn M said:

    Thank you, Chris, for your posting of such interesting and creative projects and your photos and directions. I am intrigued with the biscuit quilt and want to make some for our great grandbabies.
    I will also plan to show your directions to my quilting friends from our Bible church, if that is OK with you.
    Is there an amount of polyfill you recommend for each biscuit, like a small handful or a loose 1/2 cup? I noticed the comment about not using too much.
    Thanks “sew” much! Carolyn M.

    • clkquilt admin

      Hi Carolyn, True confession – I haven’t actually made one (it’s on my bucket list). When Louise was making hers in class I was able to watch the process. If I remember correctly, it came to about 2 or 3 cotton balls worth. You’ll get the feel once you’ve made a few. Feel free to share with your church friends. Enjoy – and please send pictures 🙂 !

  • Mae admin

    Hi Chris, Saw the recipe for your pressing…
    I also made my own from distilled water, Vodka and a drop or two of lavender oil or
    whatever oil you like. It works great. I don’t put starch in it because it draws bugs.
    I got the recipe from another quilter who got it off the web.

  • Lois Arnold said:

    Hi Chris! Thank you for mentioning my Best Press alternative on your blog. I love using it and for those who need a fragrance free product, just leave out the scented oil. I add the starch because I like just a bit more body in my fabrics, but it could be left out for those who are worried about bugs. I had been using starch already, so adding a bit to the mix seemed a great way to get the best of both!

  • Roxanne said:

    Hi Chris, sometime ago this recipe for pressing starch went around, I tried it and found that it collected on my iron edges turning brown after it dried. Maybe the pressing liquid it wasn’t dried when I pressed the fabric. It also left white residue on dark fabric. Best Press comes in a fragrance free formula which I don’t have a problem with. I can’t use the products with fragrances added. One needs to be cautious with starch, it can draw bug larvae. Thank you for you blogs.

  • Sheila Billington said:

    Again, I have learned some ideas to try to solve my ironing preparation of material before cutting fabric. Have you ever had a question that really stumped you? You always seem to be able to come up with things that help so many of us. We are living in Green Valley, Arizona now. Glad to be able to still be in contact with you even though we have left Iowa. Sincerely, Sheila.

    • clkquilt admin

      I have been stumped a number of times, but then I go searching for the answer. Thanks for your kind words.


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