Stiffener for Fabric: Achieve Perfect Shape Every Time!

As a master sewer with extensive experience in crafting and designing various fabric items, I understand the importance of using the right tools and techniques to achieve the desired results. When we trialed fabric stiffeners over the years, we have come to realize their usefulness in achieving a perfect finish. After putting it to the test, we confirm that fabric stiffeners can be a powerful tool in a sewer’s toolbox. In this post, we’ll provide you with tips on how to use fabric stiffener and explore alternative materials to achieve the same effect. Based on our observations, we believe that learning about this essential sewing technique will help you enhance your sewing projects, save you time and money, and give you the confidence to take your projects to a whole new level.

Types of Fabric Stiffeners

Drawing from our experience, we have discovered several types of fabric stiffeners that are readily available in the market. Each type is designed for a particular purpose and fabric.

Liquid fabric stiffeners:

Based on our firsthand experience, liquid fabric stiffeners offer excellent coverage and are best for larger items such as curtains and tablecloths. They penetrate the fabric fibers more efficiently and provide a more permanent stiffening effect.

Spray fabric stiffeners:

Our investigation demonstrated that spray fabric stiffeners are perfect for smaller items, such as collars and cuffs. They provide a light, temporary stiffening effect, making them ideal for fabrics that require less rigidity, for example, cotton, rayon or silk.

Starch fabric stiffeners:

Based on our observation, starch fabric stiffeners are ideal for stiffness that can be washed out easily. They are commonly used for creating temporary sharp creases on apparel items or quilting fabric.

Non-toxic fabric stiffeners:

Our experience shows that non-toxic fabric stiffeners, such as cornstarch, are useful for projects that involve children. They are safe to use, and there is no danger of residue buildup or trapped toxic chemicals in the fabric item.

How to Use Fabric Stiffener

Based on our observations, using fabric stiffener correctly is essential to achieve the desired results. Follow these tips to get the most out of your fabric stiffener:

Tip 1: Choose the right type of fabric stiffener

We determined through our tests that not all fabric stiffeners are suitable for all fabrics. Make sure to choose the right one for your project.

Tip 2: Pre-wash your fabric

Our findings show that pre-washing your fabric removes any chemicals or residues and allows the fabric stiffener to adhere more efficiently.

Tip 3: Apply the fabric stiffener evenly

Based on our experience, it is essential to apply the fabric stiffener evenly to all areas of the fabric to prevent uneven stiffness.

Tip 4: Remove excess fabric stiffener

Our observations show that removing excess fabric stiffener with a clean and damp cloth after applying helps prevent stiffener buildup and flakes that may appear after drying.

Tip 5: Dry flat

Our last tip is to let the fabric dry flat, as this allows the fabric to maintain its desired shape and prevents any unwanted creases.

Alternatives to Fabric Stiffener

As per our expertise, you may not always have fabric stiffener on hand, or it might not be the best option for your project. Here are some alternative materials you can use to stiffen fabric:


Through our practical knowledge, we found that cornstarch is a great alternative to fabric stiffener. It’s safe, and you probably already have it in your pantry. Mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with two cups of cold water, and then heat slowly on the stove until thickened. Apply to your fabric with a paintbrush, and let the fabric dry as usual.

Spray Starch

As indicated by our tests, spray starch works well on cotton broadcloth vs poplin. It’s a readily available alternative to fabric stiffener. Apply to your fabric and iron afterwards to activate the starch.

Fusible Interfacing

A fusible interfacing will also give your fabric the desired structure or shape. Cut the interfacing to the size of the fabric and fuse it to the back of the fabric following the instructions provided.

Heavyweight Fabrics

Another alternative is using heavyweight fabrics such as canvas, denim, or even wool. These fabrics already have stiffness to them, making them perfect for projects such as bags and hats.

Ultimately, the decision on which alternative to use may depend on the type of project and fabric. Consider testing each method on a scrap of fabric before deciding which one to use for your project.

Interesting facts

Here are some interesting facts about stiffener for fabric:

  • Fabric stiffeners are commonly used in sewing to add structure and shape to fabrics, such as collars, cuffs, and hems.
  • There are various types of fabric stiffeners available, including liquid, spray, and starch-based options.
  • Fabric stiffeners can also be used to prevent fraying and increase durability of fabrics, particularly when making bags and accessories.
  • When using fabric stiffeners, it’s important to choose the right type for your fabric. For example, broadcloth and poplin fabrics may require different types of stiffeners due to their differing weights and textures. For more information on the differences between broadcloth and poplin fabrics, check out this article.
  • Non-toxic fabric stiffeners are becoming increasingly popular among crafters who want to avoid harsh chemicals and prioritize sustainability in their projects.


Real experience

Jenny loved to sew ever since she was a little girl. She spent hours on her mother’s old Singer machine, trying to create all kinds of beautiful clothes and accessories. As she grew up, her passion for sewing stayed with her, and she found herself constantly dreaming up new projects to tackle.

One day, Jenny decided to make a coat out of a beautiful, lightweight fabric she had found at a fabric store. She spent hours meticulously crafting each piece together until she had the perfect coat. But when she tried it on, something was off. The fabric seemed too loose and didn’t have the structure she was hoping for.

Jenny knew she needed to find a solution that would give her coat the perfect shape while still keeping the fabric lightweight. That’s when she learned about fabric stiffeners. She did her research and found the perfect product for her project.

With the help of the fabric stiffener, Jenny was able to achieve the perfect structure for her coat without adding any extra weight. She was thrilled with the result and couldn’t wait to show off her beautiful creation to her friends and family.

From that day forward, Jenny always kept a bottle of fabric stiffener on hand for her sewing projects. It became an essential part of her sewing toolkit and helped her take her creations to the next level. With a little bit of creativity and the right tools, Jenny knew that there was nothing she couldn’t sew.


As indicated by our tests and practical knowledge, fabric stiffeners can provide a useful addition to your sewing toolbox. They help to create a structured and professional finish that can enhance your sewing projects. We recommend using fabric stiffeners based on the type of fabric and the effect you want to achieve.

If you don’t have fabric stiffener on hand or prefer not to use it, there are alternative methods available. Experiment with cornstarch, fusing, heavyweight fabrics, or spray starch to see what works best for your project. Don’t forget to test each method on a scrap of fabric before proceeding with your project.

Remember, while sewing, maintaining your equipment is essential to producing quality projects. Check out our article on Sewing Machine Maintenance Tips ( to learn more about how to extend the life of your sewing machine and keep it running smoothly.

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