I wanted the dress to be stiff and starchy as the muslin was too soft and shapeless. I tried spray starch which was patchy and burned on the bottom of my iron. I found a recipe for the kind of starch that my nan used on my aunt's nurse's apron and hats in the 60's. Starch was used to not only stiffen the fabric but also to make it last longer as the dirt stuck to the starch and not the garment.
I used 2 tablespoons regular cornflour mixed with a little cold water, added 4 pints of boiling water, stirred, then added 4 pints of cold water. Once it was cooled I soaked the damp dress. Then it was hung out to dry. I was surprised just how well it had worked ..the fabric really was stiff as paper.. and completely stuck together. I was worried how well the handstitched seams of this delicate fabric would hold up being pulled apart but it was ok. Once dry it was slightly dampened again and ironed. It wasn't easy as it is so big and it was hard keep the ironed area smooth while moving on to the next bit. It was then folded in tissue and boxed up ready to hang.
I'm following my bliss.