Tips for working with Slippery Fabrics!

If you’ve stuck around here long enough, you’ll have noticed I have a real affection for slinky fabrics.

With the completion of my Satin pyjamas I thought it was about time I share some of my personal survival tactics with Satin.

BUT most of these also apply to Silks, Viscose, Chiffon, Crepe or Georgette.

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1. Storage
I’ve always heard it’s best to store Satin rolled up to avoid getting creases that need to be ironed out later. I’ve stored it both rolled up and loosely folded and I have to say I didn’t have much problem either way. That being said, best not to put a ton of Corduroy and Denim on top of your Satin if you’re not sewing it up straight away.

2. Can’t stand the heat!
Satin has a special kind of weave that creates a glossy right-side to the fabric and a dull wrong-side. This lustre can be damaged by the high heat and steam of an iron or even accidentally picking an overaggressive spin-cycle on your washing machine.

Wash at 30 degrees and turn your iron to its coolest setting. Always press on the wrong side of the fabric or if you must press the right side then use a pressing cloth. The weight of your iron, more than the heat will help you achieve neatly pressed edges.

3. Lay it down.

Don’t be fooled, slippery fabric wants to escape your cutting table as soon as your back is turned! So unless you can fit all the fabric on the table without gravity coming into play I’d suggest cutting out on the floor (not the carpet). Basting will also be your new best friend – pin or stitch the folded fabric together to increase stability.

Best to also clear a good space around your machine, as again, you’ll be sewing along and suddenly your fabric will fling itself off the table like it has decided to end it all!

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4. Nap.
It’s not as obvious as the pile of velvet but there is a subtly different sheen when you view Satin one way rather than the other. Remember to lay all your pieces out in one direction even if your print is multi-directional… if you care about things like that.

5. To the point
First off, I hope you don’t have a tin full of dented blunt pins. That’s going to end in disaster.

Use the finest machine needle you can get hold of. Nice and sharp. I always use polyester thread. Use a small stitch length and try not to rip out stitches.

If you need to unpick, hey it happens, break the threads at regular intervals and then carefully unpick the shorter lengths to save trauma to the fabric.

6. Grain
I’m going to say the words people aren’t supposed to say. Deep breath… don’t beat yourself up about the grain. HEY I didn’t say ignore it completely! If you end up slightly off-grain because of the slippery nature of the fabric, you’ll be okay.

I generally find drapey fabrics far more forgiving in this regard and they very rarely warp over time. A significant amount of ready to wear clothing is produced off-grain and it’s never done us that much harm. But it’s not like it takes long to do so make the effort to line things up as best as you can.

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7. Finishing
Before you end up in a sea of Satin-fluff you might want to think about how to finish your seams. I definitely recommend French seams. I used them for 90% of the pyjamas except for the crotch seam on the pj bottoms and around the armholes in the pj top; there I used my serger to neaten things off.

French seams are so good because they’re secure, look pretty awesome and are really easy to sew when you’ve thought through the logistics! You can even use them on curved seams, even though I didn’t as I was honed in on the finish line – aka lazy. I did take the time to encase the exposed edge of my shirt facing with Satin bias binding as I was feeling classy for about 5 mins. .

Other options still apply — zig zag the raw edges, use pinking shears or bias/seam binding, or maybe you’ve prefer to fold under and top stitch your seam allowances out of sight.

Final thoughts

  • You can use a gelatin bath or similar on your fabric to give it temporary body – this washes out easily enough but I don’t like how slimy it makes the fabric and my machine bed.
  • If you want more tips for silk check out Jen’s awesome tutorial which covers helpful cutting techniques using paper. This is a very common method for a good reason.
  • Familiar with the tissue paper technique? This is for sewing (rather than cutting) and I’ve found it very handy in the past.
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Feeling fruity and a review of New Look 6962

Oooh yeah feeling fruity again…

I’m obviously referring to my berry sewing fest from last week. I was making New Look 6962 view D without the tie.

I used my raspberry chiffon and am extremely happy with how  it turned out.

Sadly I didn’t get to wear it anywhere but my hallway as Sewing Sarah, my sewing class buddy, was poorly and so we couldn’t go out for her birthday drinks.

Hope we can rearrange soon, not only to let this little number out on the town but also so Sarah doesn’t miss out on a celebratory pint of ale! Yep that’s right, we’re the new breed of seamstresses that drink ale and cider and we look right foxy doing it.

I think it’s much smarter without the tie. And I didn’t line the sleeves so you get that lovely sheerness in them.

Crazily the lining cost more than the chiffon thanks to the wonderful world of Jack’s Fabrics. £1 /m for the chiffon, with £2.40/m for the lining.

Want to hear a secret? The lining is actually red. Like strawberry red! See…

Wild eh?

It took about 3 days, a few hours here and there so it wasn’t stressful to make.

And because I’d made the pattern before there was no surprises.

I altered the front panels to be a cm wider so it was more modest. Don’t want to be flashing people now do I!

Review:

Jeez the girl on the envelope has a weird expression. It’s like constipation meets terror. Or something like that anyway. But I still wanted to make it! (maybe I shouldn’t criticise on photo poses, ahem see above!)

Given the variations and the sweet top in the photo I knew this would be quite versatile and straightforward. I’ve made views C and D and neither disappoint.

Negatives:

Working with chiffon is always a nightmare so think my negatives are all tied up in that (I’ve made it twice in chiffon/georgette). Really, I bet it would be a dream in a simple cotton!

Also I hate flapping ties at the front of a top when you know there is elastic in there as well. Either use a tie or use elastic, why both?!

My only other comment is that without the front panel adjustment I need to wear a tank top underneath. That’s not necessarily a negative as sometimes layering is a good luck, but if I wanted that sheer style I could have saved myself the time lining my first version.

Positives:

The elastic waist is easy to fit and flattering. The design and instructions are nice and simple too. I omitted the facings since I was lining the fabric but they seem rather simple to add in.

Would I make it again? And what would you do differently?

I’d use a cotton! Man, just a nice simple cotton where I only need to add a few facings and bias tape and be done even quicker than normal!

I definitely want to try the variation on the neckline with a contrasting colour. I see that as my way into some colour blocking fun.

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Berry good!

After a super busy week (and a bit) I’m back in business with some sewing!! Firstly I’ll say Portugal was lovely and hot and relaxing.

When I got back I went to my Little Fro’s second graduation!

Super proud of him. He got a distinction don’tcha know. Look at him in his cap and gown, so dashing.

Then on Friday I got whisked off to A BALL! Yep you heard me. I’m kind of gutted that I couldn’t make a ball gown but as I was only given 3 days notice I couldn’t really have whipped one up. Really it was amazing to be invited at all!

The ball was part of a charity golf day and dinner with Bedfords that Jimi and his work colleagues were attending (as they manage the marketing for the company). We had a slap up dinner, then there was a raffle and auction before the dancing started.

OH MY THE DANCING!

Jimi and I tore up the floor. His work colleagues were in awe as they’ve never seen his unbelievable dancing before. I am well aware how good his is and use it to my advantage, dragging him up every two mins. At one point it was just the two of us, spinning and quick-stepping around. Legendary night.

And then the weekend arrived and I raced back to my sewing table!! Hence the name of the post.

It’s all gone a bit pink and fruity here in the flat.

First off I got a new sewing pattern off eBay. Now isn’t this a cute little number?!

Look at that grapefruit pink! It totally works on the blonde fox on the envelope. She’s so chic… I’m jealous.

But what the heckers fabric should I use?

No, seriously!

It doesn’t tell me anywhere on the envelope  or pattern sheets what fabric to use.

I’m kind of guessing some kind of  opaque polyester?! (As there’s no lining instructions.)  Possibly thinking red and white polka dot…..

Raspberry ripple

Secondly, I’m working on a top for next weekend’s night out. It’s Sewing Sarah’s birthday drinks in Saltaire.

I have some lovely raspberry chiffon and I’m making New Look 6962 view D without the tie.

I hate chiffon. Well I hate sewing it. I love wearing it. Quite the dilemma.

I’ve made good progress already. I altered the front bodice so I don’t have to wear a top underneath like my star-print top.

Then finally I’m starting on a secret strawberry project. All I’ll say is that if it goes to plan it’ll be a treat for someone nice and I might put a tutorial up as well.

Time to log off and watch more Wilfred season 2 (omg that show is hilarious, watch it) while tidying up the sewing corner! Turrah for now!

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