Sunday Stash: Silk Fabric

As February is coming to a close, I’m starting to think about warmer weather and about how much I love the spring.  I’m not huge into the outdoors, but I just like having the option of going out without a large puffy-coat, after a long and snowy winter.  Spring is wonderful because I can once again open my windows for a fresh breeze, have bbq’s in my front yard, and take my scooter out to do errands and joyrides.

This year marks my very first spring season as a sewer and it has me really thinking about different types of fabric.  I started with cottons in the early fall and throughout the winter I have progressed on to working with wools.  The last few wools I’ve worked with felt like butter, they were so nice.  I wish I could wear wool all year round, but the change in weather has pulled me to think about lighter fabrics.

Having planned on sewing silk for my swing dress sew-along, I ordered the Fabric Sewing Guide book by Claire Shaeffer.  While I love all of my sewing books, I feel like this is such a unique and SUPER informative book.  When it came in the mail, I thought I had accidentally ordered it in hardcover since it was so heavy.  Upon opening it, I saw it was just over 500 pages (and softcover).  It’s a beast of a book, but really informative.  I’ve only read bits and pieces, but one of the highlights so far is the section in the back about seam finishes.

Back to silk, I really ordered this book because I’m undertaking working with lace fabric for the first time.  It has a big section on silks that is also equally informative and helpful.  But to me, what it’s lacking is the nitty-gritty basics to working with silk.

As I’ve been working on the swing dress which I’m making in a printed silk with Bemberg lining, I decided to make the muslin out of a very similar silk (it was on sale and had hockey players on it) just to get some experience before I work with the real thing.  I can’t tell you how much this has helped me work through some silk-related issues.

I personally feel like it’s the little, minor details that are lacking in the books that I currently own.  I’m talking about how many pins to use, how to hold the scissors and/or fabric when cutting, how to hold your fabric as it feeds through your sewing machine. etc.  I realize that I’m a very detail-oriented person, but if you knew exactly what to do to keep your silk from shifting (and when shifting is perfectly okay) wouldn’t you be more confident to try out these different types of fabrics?  I know I would be….

This is rather ambitious of me, but I’m hoping in the upcoming months, as the snow begins to thaw, to be able to show you exactly how to do this, by video no less.  I feel like a million pictures can’t show someone how to ‘feel’ the fabric or see the shiftiness in real-time and that something like this needs to be shown by video.

Since I don’t claim to be any kind of authority on silk fabric, this will be tips from a beginner, for beginners on how to sew a garment in silk.  I want to share all of the little details that I’ve learned (and continue to learn) that may be hindering anyone else from using these fabrics for your spring/summer wardrobe.    Doesn’t this sound fun?  I know I’m really excited to try out something like this since I imagine there are tons of beginner sewers out there, like myself, that have shied away from silk  because it seems too hard.

And since this is a Sunday Stash post, I can’t help but share some of the silk fabrics I’ve collected in the past few months.  I bought them because I knew that one day I’d have enough experience to work with these fabrics and I couldn’t pass them up.

If I’m remembering correctly, this is the first silk fabric I’ve ever bought.

It felt so silky, and I’ve never seen such retro-looking new silk, I just had to buy it.  I still need to find that ‘perfect’ project for it though.

This b&w fabric is a silk charmeuse, it really feels like butter and is ultra-shifty.

I’m planning on using this fabric for a Pendrell blouse by Sewaholic.

I’m not sure what I’m making out of this blue silk, but it’s very art-deco style I couldn’t pass it up.  I found 2 1/2 yards of this in my local fabric shop’s remnant section for a steal.


And doesn’t this look familiar…

This was pretty embarrassing, when I came home with this silk fabric.  I went to go hang it up in my closet, and I then realized I had the exact same fabric in a different color-way.  I knew it looked familiar… hehe But at least I’m consistent in my taste.

Has anyone else done something quite so silly? heh

As always, thanks for stopping by.  And if anyone has some good resources on working with silk fabrics, please share them in the comments.

In: Sewing Sunday Stash

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

Comments (5)

  1. Gina February 28, 2011 — 7:30 AM

    Your silks are so pretty. I haven’t gotten that far to sew with them, haven’t tried wool either. I though of buying the book but haven’t yet. There is so much to learn. I would love any tips you have about sewing silk. I’ll be looking forward to future posts on silks. Thanks for sharing your beautiful fabrics, they are going to make lovely garments.

  2. Tasha February 28, 2011 — 8:32 AM

    A beginner’s tutorial to sewing with silk sounds great. I don’t wear a lot of silk and I haven’t sewn with it yet, so it’s something I would be interested to learn more about, especially as I think it would be lovely for some 40s blouses. When I start reading online about things being slippery or needing tissue paper underneath the fabric to sew…eek, I move on to something else.

    I have that book too and thought the same thing when it arrived. I have found it helpful but I realize probably about 3/4 applies to fabrics I will likely never sew with. I really need to build up my sewing library.

    Love your fabrics, especially those two art deco-y ones. I’ve done that with yarn before. “I really don’t have red yarn for a sweater” and then after a purchase see some sitting in my stash, same weight. How many red fingering weight sweaters could I need?

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  4. Olivia March 1, 2011 — 4:50 PM

    Where did you get the B&W ribbon fabric? it is beautiful! It is almost identitcle to the fabric in Evelyns dress from Pearl Harbor.

    1. Liz March 1, 2011 — 9:18 PM

      Hi Olivia,

      I got the B&W ribbons fabric from a store called Fishman’s in Chicago. I regret to tell you though, I bought the last they had on the bolt (1 3/4 yards). :|
      I do go back there about once every 2-3 weeks, so if I happen across more, I can let you know and you could call in and place an order. Wish I could do more for you; I know how it feels when you see the ‘perfect fabric’ but seems unobtainable.

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