Sewing with delicate fabrics

Delicate fabrics like sheer silk can be tricky to sew and cut out, particularly if they are really light weight.

Here are a few tips to make this easier

  1. Cutting out your delicate fabric is helped by using either a spray stabilizer (often starch) and/or placing a tissue paper underneath the fabric. Place your paper pattern piece on top of the fabric (which is on top of the tissue) and pin through all 3 layers before marking and cutting out.

  2. Use fine pins - ballpoint pins are blunt and thick on delicate fabrics. Use a fine pin with a long taper and more pointed end.

  3. Use a new sewing machine needle also ensuring it is sharp and pointed (not ball point).  For chiffon or silk, a 65/9 or a 70/10 is recommended.

  4. Press seams using a low setting on your iron. If you’re using silk, be careful about steam, as water spots can be tricky to remove.

  5. Hem your garment and/or finish your seams to prevent fraying using a narrow rolled hem foot or light zig-zag stitch. You can also use a serger/overlocker to create a rolled hem.

  6. Remember: You often only get one shot at sewing your delicate fabric. Unpicking is treacherous and will often rip the fabric. Take your time and be patient. It is worth the result.
How to finish seams on delicate fabric


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