Last week I thought I would have my niece’s top done and in her hands by now, but the rehab center for whom I sew walker bags called and needed some bags ASAP. At about an hour a bag, it took about 20 hours, so, with those now done, I am back on track with my own sewing. I thought I would share with you some tips on working with silky materials. My niece’s top happens to be a polyester silky print, but these tips are useful on all kinds of slippery fabrics such as satin, silk dupioni, silk, flannel back satin, crepe back satin and anything else that has a silky quality.
First of all, you need to make sure to save a piece of scrap material from whatever you cut out. You really need to do a test on any machines you plan to use; sewing machine, serger, iron, etc. Test what stitch lengths, needle size (I used a 75/11 embroidery needle. I liked the thin needle, sharp point and large eye) and presser foot pressures are best as well as what temperatures your fabric can tolerate. Next, look at your pattern to understand the order of construction. I must admit, I rarely follow the steps in the order given in a garment pattern. I tend to do all the fussy stuff, such as applying interfacings, serging raw edges and pressing in all hems first. This leaves easy construction and pre-pressed hems when all the pieces are being assembled plus I get to stay away from trying to manipulate larger pieces of fabric in awkward ways. Lastly, pinning will be essential. The fabric will move against itself and against the machine in unpredictable ways. Some fabrics will even catch on your hands as you manipulate the fabric! When going around curves, (like this top’s neckline) make sure to pin any facings or cut pieces starting in the middle and work your way around each side.
Let’s take a closer look at some points along this slippery journey!
I hope these tips help you should you choose to sew on one of these great fabrics. Happy Sewing!