Sewing Organza, silk and satin

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Original Post

Hey everyone! I am looking for a little help, advice, tips, whatever you can offer me for sewing with organza, silk and satin. I've never made anything with these types of material and it's giving me fits. It's slippery, frays horribly (especially) the organza and is about to drive me bonkers. Can anyone tell me if there are any tricks to sewing this stuff so that it doesn't slide all over the place. My stitch lines from my sewing machine are all wiggly. I just can't keep it straight. And the organza is fraying all over the place. I am helping a non sewing friend with her neices wedding and making some of the wedding wear, tableclothes, curtains, etc. I sure would love any help. Thanks in advance!

Posted at 11:17am Jul 30, 2009 EDT


P.S. I don't have a serger, just incase anyone recommends that I use that for the fraying :)

Posted at 11:19am Jul 30, 2009 EDT

stitch99 says

Hi timeless - I would recommend using fray check to hold that organza in place. You can get it at most craft/sewing stores - it comes in a little bottle and just seals up the edges with a clear liquid. It is quick drying and you can evening put it on the edge and then trim any fray that is there. There are also different stabilizers available that tear away or dissolve in water (not for silk) that you can put on your fabrics to give it a little more body. I tend to just pin pretty close together my satins and organza and that works fine for me but it can be hard getting use to the feel of the fabrics. I would also make sure you are using a 9 or 11 needle (start with a brand new one) so that it won't pucker on you.

If you have any trouble cutting with these fabrics pin to tissue paper or newspaper - and cut as one.

Posted at 11:40am Jul 30, 2009 EDT

stitch99 says

good luck :)

Posted at 11:41am Jul 30, 2009 EDT

I just saw something somewhere...

nope, can't find the link.

Anyway, the person was using a hot knife (like you might use to cut stencils out of acetate) to cut out her organza; it melted the very edges and sealed the fabric to keep it from fraying out. The tool looked like a soldering iron with an exacto blade.

Posted at 12:18pm Jul 30, 2009 EDT

Baste your fabrics together first, before putting through the machine.
Pin them, then hand stitch them (this doesnt have to be neat precise hand stitching, just enough to keep the fabrics from sliding apart) sew them on the machine, then unpick the basting(hand) stitch.
To stop the fraying you could cover the seam edges with bias binding once the seams are sewn together. Make sure to use a narrow width binding. Or you could use French Seams, this is when you sew the pieces wrong sides together first so that the raw seam edges are visible from the right side of the fabric, its then trimmed neat & folded back on itself & sewn as it should have been the first time, with right sides together. So that when you now look inside there is a very neat seam line with no raw edges: look at the tutorial here.

Posted at 12:19pm Jul 30, 2009 EDT

I use the hot knife tool, I used to use a lighter and just hold the organza close to the flame and it gently melts the edge and prevents fraying. You can cover your organza in a water soluable stabilizer and it makes it a breeze to sew. The sewn object can then be immersed in water and the stabilizer dissolves leaving behind all your lovely stitching.

Posted at 12:23pm Jul 30, 2009 EDT

I got my tool at Michaels (AC Moore carries them in the states), it's a product made by walnut hollow. Just do a quick search on the web to check it out.

Posted at 12:28pm Jul 30, 2009 EDT

Organza and chiffon have minds and agendas of their own. ;) they are definitely not the easiest fabrics to sew on ever invented. Yes, they are slippery. If you do not have a pinable surface cutting table, you will need to pin the *snot* out of them to get the pattern cut out accurately. You may wish to mark the *seam lines* on the fabric directly before removing the pattern, too, as well as cut yourself a slightly more generous seam allowance so that if the fabric frays a little, it won't affect the fit as much.

Definitely second the recommendation for french seams where possible. They do NOT work well on curved seams, though, so I suggest double stitching the seam (two lines of small stitching really close together) and trimming the seam close to those stitches, with a pinking shears if possible. If this is a one time wear outfit, that should be sufficient. If the item may be worn more than once, I do recommend binding the curved seams -- cut a length of bias from your organza, about 4 times the width you want it to be. Fold it in half and press it. Line the cut edges up with the cut edges of a seam. Stitch together on the seam line. You may want/need to trim the seam allowance down here. Then fold the bias tape over the seam so that the fold is slightly past the main seamline. Pin in place, and either machine stitch or hand stitch in place. Your edges are now completely bound and will not fray.

I do not like to use Fray Check on organza as it sometimes leaves a cloudy residue that can show. Please test this on a scrap if you decide to use it.

As for keeping it from wiggling around while sewing: The poster above who mentioned pinning and hand basting is dead on if you have the time to do it. As I generally do NOT, I basically pin the snot out of the seam edge, pins going perpendicular to the seam, and stitch fairly slowly, holding the fabric both in front of and behind the stitching line (taut sewing). Holding the fabric front and back helps to keep the wiggle factor to a minimum. Please, please, please practice on scraps first! I know the temptation is to just dive in, but a little practice can help the final project look SO much better!

Last tip -- be sure the needle you are using is a fine (I usually use a size 8 or 9) SHARP pointed needle. They usually sell these as a "microtex" these days. Universals are fine for most fabrics, but I find a sharp needle really works better on fine and slippery fabrics.

Best of luck! And if you can borrow a serger, go for it. They do make finishing the seams on organza and satin much easier.

Posted at 12:35pm Jul 30, 2009 EDT

Wow! Thanks so much everyone! You are all so awesome for taking the time to help. I will look for that hot tool at Micheals. I didn't even know they had such a thing on the market. All the advice was wonderful and put it to good use. Thanks again all :)

Posted at 1:59pm Jul 30, 2009 EDT

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