Scared of slippery fabrics?
Party season is almost here, and that means you may be rustling up a posh frock or two! Read on for my top tips on sewing slippery fabric and fear it no more!
For many DIY dressmakers, the leap from a stable woven fabric like cotton or other natural fibres can seem too daunting. Whilst sewing slippery fabrics can be more challenging than sewing cottons, the rewards really are worth it. My biggest tip would be to only have a go at slippery fabrics once you’ve really mastered your sewing machine and have several garments under your belt!
There are lots of tips and tricks for sewing slippery fabrics, here’s favs.
- The lovely sheen on silky fabrics is similar to a “nap”, so cut out your pieces using the “with nap” layout instructions ensuring the pieces all run in the same direction. This makes sure there’s no colour difference on your pieces.
- One way to cut out delicate fabrics is to layer the fabric between 2 pieces of tissue paper. The paper stabilises the fabric and makes it easier to cut out as normal. You can even use strips of tissue paper as you machine sew your seams, which stops the fabric getting sucked into the machine.
- Invest in some bridal or lace glass headed pins, and a microtex needle. Both the pins and the needle have sharp fine points that will slide into the fabric more easily and are unlikely to snag and mark your lovely delicate cloth
- Avoid using wax or vanishing markers on silky fabrics when transferring pattern marks, as they can leave a residue that’s impossible to get out.
- ALWAYS test your iron on some scraps of fabrics, as lots of silky slippery fabrics can be easily watermarked by the steam.
- Pin and pin again! Slippery fabrics need to be held in place before they can be successfully sewn on a machine, so this is not the time to skimp on your prep. ALWAYS use parallel pins, if you place them horizontally you’re marking the outside of your garment. If you ‘re sewing eased or curved seams it’s a good idea to tack. Make sure to tack just inside the seam allowance to avoid needle marks being visible from the outside.
- When I start sewing a seam on a slippery fabric I always use a fabric “stitch starter” placed just above the top of my seam. A stitch starter is a piece of fabric folded several times that you begin sewing into, and then butt the silky seam close to the “stitch starter” It allows the machine to grip into the stable folded fabric before gliding onto the trickier fabric stopping the start of the seam getting chewed up.
I've just got back into sewing and I find your newsletter tips really useful so do please keep them coming.