Silk, luxurious fabrics, can be expensive and difficult to maintain. Silk has some limitations, but the results of a sewing project made with silk are often worth the cost. On the other hand, polyester has become a viable and less expensive alternative to garments originally used for silk only because polyester mimics some of the more desirable characteristics of silk.
Steps to Sew with Polyester & Silk Fabric
- Silk is washable, and it will not shrink. However, the silk fabric is tightened during washing, resulting in a shrinkage effect of up to 5 inches per yard of fabric. So, before cutting out the pattern pieces, you had better wash silk. Polyester, a synthetic fiber, will not shrink when washed or dried.
- Use small shaft pins (such as wire nails) to pin the fabric and blocks. These needles are less likely to leave permanent holes in silk, polyester, or other fine fabrics. Use sharp scissors to cut the pattern piece, because the blunt scissors are particularly prone to chew silk fabric.
- Sew using the same fibers, polyester or silk as your fabric, and use the same fiber baseline. You had better not use cotton thread, for it is too heavy and causes the stitches to look more pronounced.
- The thinner fabric does not have as much body and strong seams as the heavier fabric. So, you had better use a short sewing stitch, for this type of stitch also provides a measure of support for seams.
- Use the appropriate seam treatment (such as cleaning the finished seam) to complete the seam edge. Fold the edges of the seam width allowance under to the inside of the fabric by one-eighth of an inch, and then sew near the fold. The carding machine also provides the finished seam edge for silk and polyester fabrics.
- Iron the finished clothing, handicrafts or decorations in a low-temperature and use a pressing cloth. Polyesters are not high heat resistant fabrics, and they will melt if exposed to too much heat. And, if silk exposed to high heat, it could turn yellow.
- If silk fabric has not yet been cut in preparation for sewing, it can be put into the dryer. However, finished garments that are not placed in the dryer prior to sewing should not be dried in this manner.
- Polyester should not be used for children’s sleepwear because it could melt when exposed to high heat.