You thought sewing a cotton wardrobe was troublesome. Wait till you get to silk. That’s the challenge my dear.
Silk is perfect, looks luxurious and resembles wealth but working with it is never easy. It can be complicated and tricky but if you want to learn how to sew with silk here are the best tips for sewing with silk you can get!
1. Choose the silk
With this, you have to be very precocious. Not everything marked as silk is real silk, unfortunately. You must be sure you chose genuine silk! To check it out, there are a few tricks.
Rub the fabric with your hands. If you feel the warmth it’s the right silk!
The price will tell you a lot. Real silk is much expensive than a synthetic one. But, if you want a touch of luxury, that’s the price to pay!
Check the glow. This is one of the main silk characteristics. This is really a special type of glow and the color of the fabric will be different under different angles.
There are some other tricks, like testing with fire or chemicals, but that’s not something we can do before we buy!
2. Wash your silk
Make sure to always wash the silk before you use it. Most types you can find today are washable, even a machine washable so you need not to worry.
There is a slight possibility that some types of silk will lose a bit of its high shine. If you are afraid of this, you can always do dry cleaning (just in case). Washing the silk is important mostly to be free from stains during the ironing part after you have finished sewing.
Silk is slippery and therefore hard to cut. You need to be careful. You’ll need serrated shears, two pieces of tissue paper or two pieces of some old but steady fabric.
Put the silk between the pieces you’ve chosen and take the serrated shears to cut. These shears have a greater clasp on the fabric and it will be easier to cut with them.
If you want you can use a fabric stabilizer. It will make silk fabric stiffer, but you have to watch out (some of the stabilizers can leave marks)!
With silk, you have to be careful. It’s different than any other material. Before you start actually working on it, you’ll need to run some tests.
Firstly, test the fabric. Take one piece of your silk fabric and run it through the sewing machine. This is a great way to check if the thread is all right, then tension, needles, and all other things. If something is wrong, you can correct it and avoid killing your project. Even with hand sewing, always do the checking!
Secondly, test markers. Put on a marker on a piece of silk and wash it. If it’s washed out, the marker is ok to be used. Why this? There are many markers that can’t be washed out.
It’s always necessary to pin something when you sew. Silk fabrics are not different. But, there is one problem. Holes are much easier to see on silk fabrics. So, if you want to use a pin, make sure it’s very sharp. This way you’ll avoid big easy-to-see holes.
Or you can use pattern weights. This way, silk fabric won’t move and there will be no marks. To tell the truth, people mostly use the combination of these two!
6. The position of the fabric
Before you start pressing your silk fabric, make sure it’s turned face down. Silk is prone to watermarks from steams, and yes it’s avoidable as we mentioned, but still it’s better to be safe than sorry.
When you are sewing seams use a cotton thread because it’s firm. On the other hand, if you are embroidering on your silk fabric you can use a great silk thread. It’s beautiful but weak. If you want your seams to be strong, you’ll need a strong thread.
If you are working on something sensitive like the neckline, stabilize your seams. This only takes a few minutes but saves your work.
You’ll notice that when you cut your silk fabric, it’s prone to making occasional stray threads, hanging on the edges of your material. Snip them off, or they’ll bother you a lot when you sew. Use sharp shears to cut! Do this no matter if you sew by hand or by sewing machine!
If you want things to get perfect, there’s one more thing you need to take care of the needles. To avoid any type of damage to your project, use very sharp needles. Needles, the same way as pins, can leave a trace on your silk fabric and that’s something we want to avoid!
Whatever you do, especially around silk, be calm and patient. Silk is different than other materials, especially those you are using every day and can be a little tricky. This doesn’t mean you need to give up. Absolutely not! You just need to give yourself some time to learn and be extra careful.
If you want to work on silk and be absolutely sure you won’t make mistakes, you’ll need to devote some time to learning about this fabric. We gave you ten quick, but most important tips on how to work with silk without making mistakes, but you’ll still have to learn.
Working with silk is like working with a kid. If a kid trusts you and you make one small mistake, you’ll lose the kid’s trust. Similar is with silk fabrics. If you make a mistake in the beginning, your entire project can be ruined. Be careful, follow or 10 best tips for sewing with silk and you’ll have nothing to worry about!