Want to Learn to Sew with Silk?

by Beth Cooper

Have you ever sewn using silk fabric? Do you love it or hate it? Does silk intimidate you? Sewing with silk can seem daunting at first, but with a few tips and tricks, you can create beautiful garments that will feel luxurious and elegant. Here are a few pointers to help you on your journey.

  1. Choose the right type of silk

There are many different types of silk, and each one has its own unique characteristics. Some common types of silk include charmeuse, crepe de chine, organza, and dupioni. It’s important to choose the right type of silk for your project, as each one will behave differently when you sew it. For example, charmeuse is a soft, drapey silk that can be difficult to work with, while dupioni is a more structured silk that is easier to sew.

  1. Use the right needles and thread

When sewing with silk, it’s important to use the right needles and thread. A fine, sharp needle (size 70/10 or 80/12) is best for silk, as it will create small, neat stitches without damaging the delicate fibers. Use a high-quality silk thread that matches the color of your fabric.

These 70/10 Sharp Needles by Schmetz are perfect for silk! Find them at Missouri Star Quilt Co. Click here.
  1. Pre-wash and pre-shrink your fabric

Silk can shrink when it’s washed, so it’s important to pre-wash and pre-shrink your fabric before you start sewing. This will help ensure that your finished garment doesn’t shrink or warp after you’ve put in all that hard work. To pre-wash silk, hand wash it in cold water with a gentle detergent, then hang it to dry.

  1. Cut carefully

Silk can be slippery, so it’s important to cut it carefully to avoid any uneven or jagged edges. Use sharp scissors or a rotary cutter, and consider using weights or pins to hold the fabric in place while you cut.

  1. Sew slowly and carefully

When sewing with silk, it’s important to take your time and sew slowly and carefully. Use a light touch and avoid pulling or stretching the fabric, as this can cause it to pucker or warp. Consider using a walking foot or a needle feed attachment to help keep the fabric moving smoothly through your sewing machine.

  1. Finish your seams

Silk frays easily, so it’s important to finish your seams to prevent them from unraveling over time. You can use a variety of seam finishes, such as French seams, flat-felled seams, or bias binding.

  1. Press carefully

Silk is sensitive to heat, so it’s important to be careful when pressing it. Use a low heat setting on your iron, and consider using a pressing cloth to protect the fabric. Always press from the wrong side of the fabric to avoid leaving marks or shine on the right side.

This pressing sheet would be a good option when pressing silk fabric. You can find it here.

Sewing with silk can be challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. With a little patience and attention to detail, you can create beautiful, high-quality garments that will last for years to come. Happy sewing!

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11 months ago

Have not been sewing since Covid, just getting back into it and I feel like a Beginner once again. Reading my manual for my machine and I am anxious to get started. I have purchased silk in the past but was unsure of how to sew it your tips and advice were extremely helpful . Thank you.

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