SEWING WITH SLIPPERY FABRICS

Feb 04 2020

SEWING WITH SLIPPERY FABRICS

 

What have I been sewing lately? This was a garment I cloned and originally made in a Liberty cotton print (see previous Blog post), but I also wanted to recreate it in a fabric similar to the original garment to achieve the same look and drape. I chose a polyester satin fabric from our online shop, it was however, much more tricky to work with. Fabrics like chiffon, charmeuse, georgette, voile, sateen, organza and many others are notorious for being slippery and unstable, making them difficult to sew. When sewing with such fabrics (which includes many lining materials as well), having some essential sewing tools and knowing proper techniques can transform a difficult sewing experience into an (almost) enjoyably rewarding one.


The fabric slipped around a lot while laying up, using a piece of corduroy, wool, velveteen or something like that to act as an underlay that ‘grabs’ the slippy fabric or tissue paper sandwiching the fabric can keep the layers in place, making cutting easier. I used long sharp pins to hold the fabric in place and serrated scissors to grip the fabric when cutting. However, when it came to the bias binding, a rotary cutter and mat worked much better as it kept the fabric flat.

For sewing, I changed my needle to a thinner size 9/70, reduced the thread tension to prevent the fabric puckering or gathering up, made sure I wasn't using a thick thread and attached a walking foot to help the material glide smoothly through the machine while keeping the fabric layers together.



I starting by finishing the back neck edge with bias binding and used a lot more pins than I usually would to hold the fabric in place.

The back piece was gathered onto the back yoke, slippy fabrics are very easy to gather because the thread slides easily through the weave.


I used the coolest setting when pressing and on the wrong side of fabric where possible. I used a pressing cloth where I needed to press on the right side of the fabric. I avoided using steam as it can leave marks on the fabric, the weight of the iron, more than the heat helps achieve neatly pressed edges.


The method for attaching the frill second around time was easier (although handling the fabric was more tricky). I used a separate piece of binding for the front and back, however, next time I am going to attach it in one piece to hide the end of the shoulder seams at the inner neck edge.

The fabric managed to recreate a similar drape for the frill to the original garment.

The bodice and sleeves were made up with an elasticated finish at the bottom hem and sleeve openings, it was easier to overlock the hems and press a single turning rather than try and press and double turning. This is what the finished garment looked like.



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