Last Updated on 2 months by Susan Mayrich
Silk is a fabric that has been around for centuries, and it has a long history of being used in clothing. It is one of the most luxurious fabrics around, and it has so many uses. Sewing with a new fabric for the first time can be challenging, but with the right tools, you can make it a breeze. There are many different types of silk fabrics available and each one requires different techniques when sewing them.
This article will explain things you need to know about sewing silk, the tools you will need, and tips for sewing silk for your next sewing project.
What is Silk Fabric?
Silk is a woven fabric made from the fibers of the insect silkworm. The name refers to its shiny appearance, which comes from the way it’s processed, not its actual material.
Silk fabric can be made into a wide variety of styles: satin, organza, and chiffon are just a few of the most common types.
Can You Sew Silk
Yes, you can sew silk just like any other fabric. The only difference is that the sewing machine may have a special setting for sewing silk. But you can use your regular sewing machine to sew silk as well.
Is Silk Easy to Sew
Silk is not hard to sew however the luxurious nature of the fabric itself makes it difficult to sew. As a result, it takes more time and effort than other fabrics like cotton or polyester.
Can You Sew Silk on a Machine
Yes, you can sew silk on a machine, but it will take much longer than normal fabric because of its luxurious nature.
If you’re a beginner it will take some practice. It’s best to start with small projects like trimming your own curtains or making baby clothing, as these are relatively easy tasks that don’t require too much attention.
The Tension Setting for Sewing Silk
The tension setting is one of the most important things to pay attention to when sewing any fabric. The tension setting determines the size of the stitches, and how tight they are.
The tension setting must be between 1.5-2.5 in order to sew silk fabric properly. If it is too loose, you will see a lot of puckering or rolling on your edges. If it is too tight, you will run out of thread quickly and have a harder time getting through your fabric.
Do You Need a Special Needle to Sew Silk?
The right needle for sewing silk fabric is an absolute must. Unlike most other fabrics, silk requires a special needle that has a very small eye, called a “petite” or “pitch” eye. This is because of the delicate nature of the fabric and how it moves with your motion as you sew.
If you use any other type of needle, it will either stretch out the thread too much or break the thread at the beginning and end points of your stitch.
A specialty sewing needle will give you better results than an ordinary needle because it is designed for the specific thread and fabric you are working with.
What is The Best Thread for Sewing Silk Fabric
The thread used in this project is known as “silk spooled” because it contains fibers that are long and straight like those found in a silkworm cocoon. It comes in different weights, so choose one that is right for your project.
What Needle to Use for Silk Fabric
The first thing you will need to do is determine the weight of your silk fabric. Silk fabric comes in many different weights, so you will need to know which weight you are working with before choosing a needle.
60/8 and 70/10 are the most popular sizes for silk fabric, but there are other options as well. These include 75/11, 80/12, and 90/14. Each size has its own set of pros and cons depending on the application and stitch type used in that project.
If you have never worked with silk before, then it’s best to start with 60/8 or 70/10 because tends to be easier to handle than heavier-duty needles like 80/12.
12 Tips for Sewing Silk Fabric
#1. Washing your silk first
Wash your silk fabric before you begin sewing. This will ensure that there are no marks left behind. The best way to wash your silk is to use cold water and hang it dry once it has been washed. You must also avoid using hot water when washing the fabric, as this will leave watermarks on it.
#2. Use weights and a rotary cutter
When sewing with silk, it’s important to use weights so that the fabric doesn’t stretch too much when being sewn.
Using weights also ensures that your seam lines are perfectly straight and square.
A rotary cutter is especially helpful when cutting out patterns for clothing because it allows you to create precise seams without having to worry about your fabric moving as you’re cutting out shapes.
#3. Use the right threads and needles
When sewing with silk it is important to use threads that are right for the job at hand. When choosing a thread color, look for a thread that matches your project’s colors closely (if possible).
It is also advisable to use needle sizes that match those of your project as well. These two things will ensure that your work stays secure throughout its lifespan.
#4. Utilize silk pins
Silk pins are essential when sewing silk fabrics because they help prevent the fabric from shifting along the selvage (the edge of the fabric).
If you want to sew with silk or other slippery fabrics, it is important to use these pins to keep your work secure and prevent raveling or puckering at the edges of your project.
#5. Test fabric pens
You should also test out pens made specifically for sewing with silk fabrics before you start sewing along your seam lines.
These pens have different tips than regular pens do, so they are designed specifically for working with this type of material.
They can help you see where your needle is going through the material so that there are no holes or tears left behind after sewing.
#6. Work little by little
Sewing silk is a little different than sewing other fabrics because it is so delicate. When sewing with silk, it is best to start with the smallest stitches possible.
If you want a straight line, make sure that your needle is sharp and has a pointy tip. This will ensure that you get a clean cut when you sew through the fabric.
Test your machine. Silk is very susceptible to stretching and shrinking when sewn, so make sure your machine is working properly before starting any project.
#7. Have a practice run
Sewing with silk is actually quite easy once you get used to it and understand how things work together.
But if you’re new to this type of sewing, I recommend practicing on some scrap pieces first before moving on to your project piece so that you don’t ruin the fabric.
#8. Avoid permanent marks from needles and pins
Pins are notorious for leaving permanent marks on your silk fabric, which can be very difficult to remove later on if they are not removed immediately after sewing has taken place.
To avoid this problem, sew through tissue paper or tissue paper strips before placing your pin into the fabric so that there will be no damage done during pressing time.
#9. Press carefully and use a pressing cloth
Silk fabric is more delicate than other types of fabric and needs to be pressed carefully so that it doesn’t stretch out. Use a pressing cloth if possible as this will help protect the surface of the fabric from damage.
#10. Sew with cotton threads
Sew with cotton threads for best results when sewing silk fabric. Cotton has the right amount of flexibility to keep the fabric flat without causing it to stretch out over time or shrink upon washing or drying in hot weather conditions.
#11. Stray from the fray
The easiest way to prevent fraying when sewing silk is to not sew through the fray of your fabric.
Instead, sew on either side of it, so that when you turn your project inside out, only one edge will have a visible line of stitching. This works for more delicate fabrics like silk chiffon.
$12. Always use a French seam
A French seam is one where you sew two pieces of fabric together with an invisible seam line between them. This helps prevent fraying because it creates smooth edges throughout your project, no matter what direction you turn it in.
Sewing silk fabric can be tricky, and a little messing up is not uncommon. But if you’re careful, attentive to detail, and most of all patient, you can get it right.