Four Tips: Working With Silk

silk fabric texture 16 1024x682 Four Tips: Working With Silk

Image from Indicot Exports

Working with silk

Silk can be intimidating to work with.  But, if you know a few tips and techniques sewing with silk will become your favorite fabric to work with.

1 Layout/Cutting

Probably the number one complaint when working with silk is that it slips around so much making accurate cutting near impossible.  Here are a few ideas to try when cutting out silk of any type or variety.

Lay tissue paper on the bottom of your cutting surface.  Next lay your silk and then the pattern.  Use weights or special silk pins.  Use a single layer pattern layout.

Place on a cutting table oilcloth with the fabric/fuzzy side up.  Next, lay out the silk and then place your pattern pieces on top. Use weights to hold down.  Use a rotary cutter or scissors.  If you don’t have a large cutting mat this works well, just cut carefully. Discount stores sell oilcloth picnic table cloths in large sizes for even less than fabric chain stores.

You can also use muslin in this way. Double fold the muslin before laying down the fabric and pattern.  Single fold will work too.

Spray fabric stabilizers are popular in working with silk. It can leave white spots so test.  And, work in a well ventilated area.  If you are at all sensitive to aerosols use one of the other methods mentioned.

Use a single layer pattern layout rather than on the fold layout.  It’s time consuming but there will be less distortion.

Use sharp scissors.  If you haven’t had your scissors sharpened in awhile, do it before you cut silk.  Same goes for rotary blades.  Purchase a brand new one or have an older one sharpened before cutting your silk.

2 Pins/Needles

Purchase pins especially for silk or other types of delicate slippery fabrics.  Place pins within the seam allowance. Pinning can leave holes in the fabric.  Clip small notches in the seam allowance.

For sewing needles use a Microtex needle which is good for other types of slippery and sheer fabrics.  Or use small machine needle in the size of 60/8, 70/10 in a pinch.

3 Marking

Tailor tacks work well when working with silk.  Or chalk will work if you hate doing tailor tacks.  Don’t use a perforated marking tool that can leave holes.  If you use a removable fabric marker or other marking tools test first to check for staining.

4 Sewing/Seam Finishes

Polyester thread works for me with no problem. Some will use silk thread too.

Press on a low setting our use a press cloth.  Press the seams flat and then press open for a pucker free, beautiful seam.

Do you have tips with working with silk?  Please leave a comment below.

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 Four Tips: Working With Silk

About Jill

I write for the Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery blogs. I love sewing, vintage and would love to get a comment from you!
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2 Responses to Four Tips: Working With Silk

  1. Jill says:

    To keep silk velvet from slipping under the machine foot, I first back it with water-soluble stabilizer. I cut just enough of a strip to cover the seam allowance. Once stitched, simply rinse the fabric very well with very warm water. It changes the silk a bit, but when using it for complex seams, it makes sewing easy and accurate.