Satin is a beautiful material. It is glossy and flows with your body. However, it’s not that easy to sew as it slips and slides as well as being delicate. However, don’t be put off. We are here to guide you and with some patience, you should be able to sew something beautiful in satin.
Table of Contents
Make a Toile
If you are new to sewing with satin, it is a good idea to first make a toile. Using a seam ripper to correct any mistakes you make can cause the material to fray. Just buy a cheap satin material and practice before you move onto the proper garment. It is easier to do this than to make mistakes on your expensive satin.
Pinning and Cutting
You will first need to place the pattern pieces on the material and then pin them. You will need to be very careful when pinning because the pins can tear the material. Use pins that are specially made for satin and silk.
When you lay down the fabric make sure that all of the pieces are going in the same direction be it on the bias or on the straight grain. The reason for this is that satin has a shine and reflects light differently depending on how it is cut. If the pieces are cur in all different directions they will look slightly different colors. The bias is probably the best choice because the seams don’t pucker as much as if you are sewing on the straight grain. In addition, the more seams you have, the greater is the chance of puckering so keep them to a minimum.
Cutting the material can cause problems as satin tends to move about. A solution to this is to put some tracing paper underneath the fabric and pin the pattern, the fabric, and the tracing paper together. This helps to stop the material from moving so much. However, you are still better off cutting a piece at a time and not putting in two layers of material even if that’s what you need. The material can move and you might end up with two uneven pieces.
Rotary cutters are not a good idea when it comes to cutting satin. You are best off using very sharp sewing scissors that will stop the edges from fraying. They are also easier to use than a rotary cutter.
If you need to mark anything on the material now is the time to do it. You may want to have darts on a dress or blouse or maybe pleats on a skirt. To do this use an air soluble marker or tailor’s chalk. However, it is important to note that chalk can be quite difficult to remove. Don’t use a water-soluble marker as water can leave stains on satin. It is a good idea to test your marker on an odd piece of satin to check how easy it is to get off, but whatever you choose, remember to mark on the wrong side of the material.
Satin can stretch after it’s been cut, so it’s a good idea to leave it to rest before you start sewing.
The Seam Allowance
Satin frays so it is best to have a wide seam allowance. This gives you the opportunity to cut any frayed edges. In addition, you will have more support on the sides of the fabric while sewing otherwise, the fabric could be eaten up by the machine.
Once you have gone through these steps, you need to prepare your sewing machine. You need a walking foot which will help the layers of material get through the machine. This will help to stop the fabric from puckering.
A regular needle may cause snagging, so it is best to use a very sharp needle. It is a good idea to use a new needle at the beginning of each project. Yes, the needles might leave holes in the fabric, but they are easily got rid of if you scratch a fingernail over them.
Sewing with satin can be a pain because it slips around, but we’ll give you a few tips that should help you to succeed.
- First, take off any rings or bracelets that you may be wearing. They can easily snag a fabric as delicate as satin.
- Because satin slips, it is a good idea to baste or tack your material before sewing. This helps to hold everything in place.
- Hold the fabric taut, but don’t pull it as this could stretch the material.
- Reduce the top thread tension.
- Make the fabric stiffer by adding a fusing strip to the wrong side of the fabric, just slightly wider than your seam allowance. As an alternative, sew with thin paper underneath the fabric.
- Sew with a short stitch length.
Press the Fabric
It is also a little difficult to press satin, but hopefully, these tips will help.
- Satin is, as we have said, prone to water damage. Make sure that when pressing you use a dry iron and not a steam one.
- It is best to press on the wrong side of the fabric. If you do press on the right side, use a pressing cloth.
- Use low heat to press satin otherwise, the fabric could be ruined.
- Place a piece of paper under the seams when pressing as this stops the fabric from creasing.
- It is a good idea to test your iron on a piece of scrap material. By doing this, you should avoid burning a hole in your garment.
Finish the Seams
It is important to finish the seams on your garment because they can fray so easily. The best option is to use zig-zag stitches as they are lightweight and they won’t show up on the right side of the garment.
If you aren’t happy that there are raw edges, put in a lining. It is more work, but satin can look even better with a lining.
As can be seen, satin can be a little more difficult to work with than say cotton, but it only takes a little time and patience to learn how to make a beautiful garment out of this fabric.