Tips for Sewing with Silk

I haven’t sewn with silk much. I mean, there’s been a whole lotta hemp and linen and cotton going on with the Hippie Doomsday Cult look. But this jacket in red dupioni was too good an idea to pass up.

It’s challenging for me because I tend to make a lot of little mistakes when I sew. I unpick a lot. I keep a sharp seam ripper at hand at all times. I also am lazy. I sometimes don’t pin like I should, or I kinda sorta do things like I should.

Silk doesn’t mess around. You screw with silk, it screws you back. So, gotta get real.

Tip one: Pin in the seams.  Silk shows every little pinhole. Use small pins.
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Tip two: Go slow. I usually set my machine as fast as it will go. With silk, I turn down the speed to half-power.

Tip three: Lengthen the stitch. A lot of resources say to shorten stitches to 2.0 (my machine’s default is 2.2) to reduce puckering, but I find the opposite is true. I lengthen stitches to 2.6 and they come out smooth.

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Tip four: Use a dry iron. Water can spot silk, so as much as it pains me, I avoid the steam.

Tip five: Use silk or polyester thread. A lot of people say not to use silk thread, but I find it melds well with the fabric. Polyester is OK because it’s slippery. Cotton snags.

Tip six: Use a new, very fine needle. A size 9 or 10 is great.

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