Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life

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I’m sewing a skirt – Part 2

Before I started this project I did a search online to find out whether I dared to sew in silk. I found this excellent Youtube video on the web by Professor Pincushion (great name!) which helped enormously.

Here are the suggestions I used:

Use tissue paper
I actually laid the fabric on top of a sheet of tissue and cut the fabric out as a sandwich. This helped to stop it sliding around and helped stabilise the fabric. Also it meant that the tissue paper was in place and I could sew the fabric and the tissue paper together. This worked a treat. I tried, for a giggle, to sew without it and found that the two silk layers just slipped past each other all the time and it was impossible to sew a straight-looking line. Sandwiching the silk between tissue paper meant that the layers stayed put and it was possible to sew

Use sewing needle on the machine
The video recommends a 70/09 needle. I think this is a normal recommendation for sewing with silk.

Use thinner pins
There are silk and pleating pins, 0.5 mm in diameter. However, I didn’t manage to find any of these in the local shops. Having said that it didn’t seem to be a problem with the fabric, but it might have been necessary with a thinner, more refined looking silk.

Use silk thread
This was recommended by the Youtube video, but I found conflicting information about this on the web. Silk thread can cut through the fabric so I decided to stick with normal thread (polyester in my case, 100% cotton can also be used).

Cut out with pinking shears
Another top tip was to cut out pattern pieces using pinking shears. I didn’t do this, but actually I regret this as I found that the fabric frayed very easily.

I just used standard interfacing as I could use the iron on my fabric, but the Youtube video did suggest that sew-in interfacing or with a very sheer silk, organza could be used.

Other sewing tips
Starting away from the edge of the fabric and taping up the hole in the plate so that fabric isn’t pulled down into the hole, should make sure that the fabric isn’t sucked into the machine. There’s nothing worse than mangling your fabric in the sewing machine, so I took this advice/

Holding the fabric tight, but without forcing it through can also help stop it puckering. I think this may be necessary with thinner fabric as I didn’t find this particularly necessary.

Silk skirt close up

I’m nearly finished on the skirt as you can see. Next post, the finished product!

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Pyjama Trousers Part 2 – Thin fabric problems

When I started sewing my pyjama bottoms, I got a problem with doing the zig-zag stitch on the leg lengths.

After a search on the internet I found this problem is called “tunnelling”. Basically, this is where the fabric is pulled together by the tension in the stitch. I suppose it is because my fabric is rather light. The “flimsy-fabric” alarm hadn’t been ringing though at the start of the project, as it isn’t what I usually expect with a woven cotton fabric. However, it happened and I didn’t like the look of it. At the back of my mind was the fantastic silk / cotton blend fabric upstairs, waiting for the day when I am experienced enough or brave enough to sew it.


My internet search also gave several suggestions for a fix:

1. Use a different stitch

All the suggestions here, aren’t possible on my ancient Singer. Is it time to face facts and get another machine?

2. Hang the stitch off the edge of the fabric

This sounds possible, but a bit fiddly.

3. Sew with tissue paper

I tried this and found that it was largely successful, until I pulled the tissue off the fabric and this pulled the thread enough for the “tunnel” to reappear. However, after I examined the lengths that had been done with this technique, there did seem to be some improvement.

4. Use a different technique

French seams may be the answer. I’ll definitely do this next time I use the fabric.

5. Don’t worry!

Yes, even though it may annoy me, perhaps I should just relax and live with it! After all, this is only visible on the inside.
There is a lesson for me in this – it’s all good learning. I really should check how a new fabric behaves on a scrap piece first, before I attempt the project.