Posts Tagged ‘silk’

Sewing: Silk is A Pretty Beast


One of my favorite new aspects of the Alt Summit conference was that the bulk of sponsors did not give out swag at the conference. They mailed it to our doorstep the months leading up to the big week. Brilliant. I can devote one-on-one attention to some very neat, hand-picked brands and I don’t have to lug anything home. This was probably the most effective and tasteful brand-placement I’ve seen at any conference I’ve attended. Good Job Alt peeps. Good job.


Kollabora sent us special gift codes that went towards a purchase on their site. Of course, I used my gift code for fabric. Their other supplies were tempting, but look at this silk! I’ve bought silk before, but I haven’t really worked with it until now. Not from scratch, anyway. I wanted to make sure that I did everything right with this yardage, so I did a little (not a lot, mind you) research. Here are a few tips that definitely came in handy:

Use a pattern that’s a winner. Silk is so tricky to work with, you don’t want to be altering anything afterwards, so either make something that’s a winner or draft up a muslin before-hand. I drafted this skirt pattern from scratch, but I had made it before (here) and it was a real winner. The drape of the fabric was a perfect fit with this particular pattern.


Pretreat. If you plan on dry cleaning the silk in the future, no need to do this, but pre-wash the yardage beforehand if you plan on laundering the garment yourself. I just threw the yardage in with my regular wash, but I’ll definitely be hand-washing this now that it’s made. I don’t want my 35 year old top-loader to rip it to shreds! It’s nice to have the option, though. If you’re not sure about how the silk will wash cut a small swatch and see how that does in the laundry first. I’d hate for you to mess up some $80 a yard fabric because of my previous success with laundering silk!

Cut carefully and cut once. My pattern pieces were all on heavy paper, so I trued up the grain on my fabric, carefully laid out the pattern pieces, weighed them down with weights and cut each piece out with a rotary cutter. Jen has a fabulous tutorial on how to cut silk (or slippery threads) with scissors.


Finish all seams. If you have a serger, use that. If you don’t, you’ll want to encase all of your seams with binding or French seams. You don’t want any raw edges showing.

Use a silk needle. Use the sharpest needle possible. I used microtex with great success.

Pin twice, sew once. Go slowly if you have to, but try to get your seams done right the first time. It’s fine if you have to unpick the silk, but you’ll still be able to see those old holes from the previous seam.

Iron carefully. Use the silk setting on your iron and/or use a presser cloth. I just have a sheet of white quilting cotton that I use. I can use my highest setting, and as long as I’m using that cloth over my precious fabric, nothing will go wrong. Nothing should, anyway.


I think this goes without saying, but I love my new skirt. The fabric drapes and flows so nicely as I walk, and it’s so silky and soft. Probably the nicest fabric I’ve worked with ever.

So have you worked with silk before? Am I the only one who trembles behind the knees at the thought of working with something so nice?

Outfit details:

  • top: H&M
  • bow tie: handmade
  • bracelet: thrifted
  • skirt: handmade
  • tights: H&M
  • shoes: thrifted

Fabric was provided by Kollabora, this is not a sponsored post.


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