Silk is a beautiful fabric. Its garments are comfortable and smooth on the skin. It is expensive and should be well taken care of especially when sewing. Sewing silk is a difficult task for a beginner. With experience, you will learn all the techniques suitable for working with silk.
One of the many challenges that a tailor may face while working with silk is how to finish the edges. Different finishing techniques may not be suitable for silk fabric. Left unfinished, or not finished properly, silk fabric starts to fray.
How To Finish Silk Edges?
Finish your silk fabric edges by hand stitching or sewing machine. Hemming by hand is the most preferred method of finishing silk edges. Due to its delicate nature, hemming by hand makes it possible to take good care of the silk fabric. You can finish your silk edges by using the French seam.
Steps to Finish Silk Edges With The French Seam
This is the best seam to use when finishing silk edges. It is difficult for beginners. Here is a step by step guide on how to make this seam on silk fabric.
- With the right sides of the fabric on the outside, make sure that your wrong sides are touching.
- Sew 1/4” seam
- Press for firm stitches, and to make sure that the seam is flat. Press from both sides of the fabric for a completely flat seam.
- Fold your silk fabric with the right sides together and press the sewn edges together.
- For the perfect finish, wrap the edges by sewing them in.
- Press the seam allowance and make sure it is flat.
- Finish your French seam by pressing on the right side to finally flatten the seams and complete your French seam.
Steps To Finish Silk Edges With The Flat Felled Seams
Felled seams are used to finish the edges of fabrics that fray easily. This means that flat-felled seams will be an appropriate way to finish your silk edges.
- Place the right sides of your fabric together.
- Leave a generous seam allowance and sew the seam.
- Press the seam allowance flat to make sure the stitches are firm.
- Also press on both sides to flatten the seams completely
- Make sure all your seams are facing in the same direction.
- Trim any side of the seam allowance. You will choose the side you want to trim by the direction you want your seams to face. IF you want them facing left, trim the left seam allowance.
- Fold the seam allowance you did not cut inwards. Press to flatten.
- Fold the same seam allowance again. This time, the fold goes over the edge of the untrimmed seam allowance. Press to flatten.
- Now sew your seam allowance together. Press to meld the stitches.
Steps to Finish Silk Edges By Pinking
Pinking the edges is considered the fastest and easiest method of finishing seams in fabrics. It is a proper method to finish your silk edges. Here is how to go about it.
- Get a high-quality pinking shear. This will help you cut perfect zigzag on your fabric seam allowance.
- sew your seam allowance.
- Place your fabrics with the right sides together then sew your seam.
- Press your seams from both sides to have a flat appearance and to firm your stitches.
- Cut out any curves or notches that are out of place on the zigzag line.
- You may also need to stitch a few inches from your edges. Pinking on its own is not sufficient to keep the edges together. You will therefore stitch to reinforce pinking,
Steps To Finish Silk Edges By Serging
- stitch your seams together
- Stitch a serging stitch along the edges of the fabric.
- Iron the excess seam allowance and you have perfectly finished edges.
Steps To Finish Silk Edges With Hong Kong Finish
The Hong Kong finish is a high-end technique for finishing edges on smooth luxury fabrics such as silk. The Hong Kong finish is best used on light fabrics. This is because it ends up being bulky. It is therefore an ideal method for finishing silk edges.
Here is how you can go about the Hong Kong finish on silk fabric edges.
- You will need lots of bias tape strips for this technique. Make sure that you choose light bias strips for this technique.
- With the right sides of your fabric fixed together, sew your seam allowance.
- Press the seam open, on both sides and flat. This helps to keep the seams flat and to strengthen the stitches used.
- Measure and cut a bias tape strip that is double the width of your seam allowance and slightly longer by at least an inch.
- Pin the bias tape strip along with the seam allowance. Keep the right sides of the strip and seam allowance together.
- Sew the bias strips onto the seam allowance.
- Press this part of the garment that you have just sewn.
- Fold and press the bias tape over the edge of the seam allowance. Then sew over this part to cover the raw edges.
- There are at least three layers to sew over. This is what causes this technique to end up bulky.
- Cut off the excess fabric.
- Press the seam allowance flat for a neat finish.
Tips For Working With Silk
Silk is not an easy fabric to work with. Sewing it with a sewing machine causes it to fay and pucker. Sewing it by hand is the best option.
For the best results, there are some factors you need to consider. These factors apply whether you are using a sewing machine or sewing by hand. First, always use a short stitch. This helps to reduce puckering on the silk fabric.
When working with silk, hold it taut. Silk is a smooth fabric. If you work on it without holding it taut, it will be hard to work on. The stitches sewn on it will not hold unless they are sewn on the taut fabric.
For the best sewing results, it is best to use a silk thread. If a silk thread is not available, use a cotton thread. Also, make sure that you use the correct needles for sewing silk. Needles that will glide through the fabric easily and not leave visible pinholes when you are done. Use customized silk pins and needles where needed.
To avoid watermarks on your silk fabric as you press with steam, it is advisable to wash your fabric before sewing. Pressing with steam will lead to water drops on parts of the fabric. When it is washed beforehand, it will dry properly without leaving watermarks.
When pressing silk fabrics and garments, it is best to have another cloth on top to protect it. Some silk is too smooth to handle pressing, especially with steam. If you press creases in the silk, it may be difficult to undo. Be careful as you press silk garments. Use see-through protection fabric to make sure you do not make it difficult to rectify mistakes while pressing.
Choose the type of seam finishing for your silk fabric carefully. Make sure the method of seam finishing you use, finish the seams. No fabric should be left without seams. If you leave silk unfinished, it will start fraying immediately.
Working with silk is a difficult task. As such it is important to prepare early before you start your project. Identify and have at hand every tool that you will need to finish your silk edges. As you work, be careful and patient to ensure that you get your expected results.