How To Starch a Crinoline

Women who lived in the early 1800s must have known how to carefully wash and treat crinoline. Most women today would mistakenly wash the stiff fabric using the traditional water-and-soap method only to end up deforming its shape. You don’t want your perfectly formed crinoline to be flat and plain. But it’s the common result when you wash it with water. This fabric is stiff because of starch and washing the crinoline will also wash the starch away. You can make it stiff again by a method called starching. Here’s how to do that:

  • Wash the crinoline only if necessary. Wash the crinoline only if a majority of it is dirty. Wash it also if it has been used long enough that it already has a nasty smell. Spot treat it if only a small portion has stains or dirt. This way, you can preserve the fabric’s stiffness. So, think again if you need to wash the crinoline or not. If you have washed it, then let it dry first before you proceed to the next step.
  • Prepare the starch mixture. Mix a cup of hot water and a tablespoon of cornstarch in a spray bottle. Let the mixture cool down. As you do this, prepare the crinoline by hanging it securely so you can comfortable starch it.
  • Spot test the mixture. Test the spray on a portion of crinoline and see if it has adverse side effects. The starching technique will work out just fine on light-color crinoline. Dark colors might be stained from the starch so better check first. If it’s okay, then you’re good to go to the next step.
  • Spray the starch mixture on the crinoline. As you do this, form the fabric into your desired shape. You’ll see that it stiffens almost instantly. Keep on spraying the starch mixture until the crinoline is perfectly shaped again.
  • Let the starched crinoline to dry. Air drying it is okay but using the cool setting of a hair dryer will speed up the drying time.

    If you don’t have a spray bottle, then try one of the following ways on how to stiffen a crinoline:

  • Boil a cup of water. Add sugar into the boiling water and keep on stirring the mixture until the boiling point. Remove from fire and then let it to cool down. Add a tablespoon of gelatin and stir it into the mixture until it is thick enough. Soak the crinoline in this mixture right after washing it. Remove the crinoline from soaking, hang it, and shape it as it dries.
  • Dissolve a pack of gelatin in a cup of water. Soak the crinoline in the dissolved gelatin after washing. Squeeze out excess gelatin mixture. Hang it and shape it to your desired form as it dries. Compared to starch, using gelatin will keep the crinoline’s stiffness longer.

Starching the crinoline should be helpful on stiffening it again. But if this did not work, then try commercially made starch for hardening fabric. Better bring the crinoline to a professional if the commercial hardener is not effective. Sometimes, the damage can be irreparable. In that case, you can either live without a crinoline or buy a new one.


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