How To Sew Silk Fabric By Hand

Sewing new silk fabric for the first time can be a difficult task even for experienced people. It requires attention and care, and when you sew carefully, you can get beautiful outcomes.

People can use silk for different purposes, and once you master the basics, you can create elegant fabric and different things.

We would recommend you to start with the basics of sewing linen or cotton and then go with silk. Initially, the slippery feature in the silk can create some problems.

So, you must slowly do the process, and after that, you can go ahead with sewing silk by hand. Read this guide to know where and how to start the process to start sewing silk fabric.

How To Sew Silk Fabric By Hand?

Silk fabrics have a reputation of being tough to work with, but it is not the same with the sewing process. The materials that might make it difficult for you to work. Depending on the silk type you are using, the method can vary slightly based on the outfit you want.

A French seam is the best option you can use in a formal gown. In casual attire, you can have a stitch line to stop greying. While stitching fabric, you must have a short stitch.

It helps to keep the silk tight. If the silk is too slippery, you must hold it tight. In terms of thread, you must use a 100% silk thread as the best choice.

If you do not have silk thread with you, you can go with the cotton ones. Well, take a look here to know about the tips to sew silk fabric by hand.

Step 1: Washing The Silk

Did you prepare the silk? If not, it is the first step you have to do before you go with sewing. Pre-washing the silk is the most important thing for many reasons. It cleans the garment and eliminates the chance of minor shrinking before you start sewing.

It is a crucial step you must do to avoid staining the fabric using watermarks with steam pressing. One more reason to pre-wash is to remove the remnants of dye to eliminate bleeding of color afterward.

It is important when you opt for color blocking. Most silks can be washed in the washing machine, but still, you must ask the salesperson. If they recommend going for dry cleaning, you must stick to that.

Or, you can soak in the warm water if you are too concerned about it.

Step 2: Cutting The Piece Of Fabric

It is the most difficult step while dealing with silk, and getting a perfect cut is not easy. It can break and do the entire project, and sewing also becomes easy. The lightweight nature makes the cloth gorgeous and adds some flowy designs with many movements.

If you do not cut the cloth properly, the same thing will become extremely difficult for you. So, you must pay attention to the piece of the fabric.

Step 3: Stabilize The Cloth

The cloth should be stable if you want to get a flawless cut. In this step, you have stabilized the silk fabric, and for that, you may need some help. For a temporary fix, you must use a light spritz about the scratch spray.

This process will help make things easier for you as the silk will not move out often. If you are worried that it will leave marks, you have one more option.

You can sandwich the silk by placing it between two sheets of different fabrics. If not, you can use paper, so the process becomes easy for you.

Step 4: Eliminate Stragglers

First, you must cut off the stragglers and not start with the mindset that you will cut it anyway. As it may happen that you got distracted because of which the silk laying got affected. It is the one thing that you must always avoid.

Step 5: Get A Rotary Cutter

A sharp and fresh rotary cutter is always recommended to cut fabric as it avoids lifting. It reduces the movement of the silk, and the placement of the patterns also does not get disturbed.

To start the process, the things you will need are a cutting mat and some pattern weights. It will keep everything in the correct place.

Step 6: Work Slowly

You must not go all at once and must avoid laying all of the pattern pieces all together. It is better to work in manageable chunks.

Step 7: Utilizing The Silk Pins

When using silk fabric, sometimes the regular pins do not work well and can even leave holes. That’s why you must buy silk pins as they are fine, sharp, and extra long.

Step 8: Must Practice

For beginners, it is better not to do it by hand instead of using a sewing machine. Take a sharp needle that can easily go through the fabric and does not create holes.

Take a note of the stitch length and the tension. The stitch length needs to be short, and the tension should not be too high or too loose. Slowly, you must start to stitch so that you get it right without spoiling the cloth.

Step 9: Hand-Bast The Silk

Hand basting is a better choice for getting the edges of the silk. It is simpler but is a time-consuming procedure. But it gives a better finishing which is why you must do it by hand.

Step 10: Picking The Right Needle

Choosing the right needle is the most vital thing, and for fine fabrics, you must use sharp and slim needles. You do not consider the needle properly. It can lead to more difficulty, so choose carefully.

Step 11: Go With A French Seam

As you know, silk is prone to fraying, so that unsightly frayed edges can destroy the entire look of the design. It decreases the seam’s lifetime, so you should go with a French seam.

In this way, you can cover yourself against fraying seams as they will be enclosed within the seam. When you go ahead with a French seam, the design will look great and last for a long time.

Step 12: Sew Using Cotton Threads

You can sew using fabric and cotton threads both. But if you are starting for the first time, you should go with the cotton ones. Silk thread looks great, but it does not keep the material in place.

So, you must opt for a little stronger to ensure the seams are always there to stay. Also, you can go for the silk thread to add details or touches.

Step 13: Using A Pressing Cloth

Now you have created the beautiful design and wish to keep it for future reference. Here, the last thing that you have to do is avoid getting it stained with watermarks.

You can use a sheer and strong garment that can withstand high heat. For that, you can use a pressing cloth to eliminate pressing steam on the cloth. It will ensure that the product is safe from watermarks.

Step 14: Do It Slowly

Always remember that when you are working with silk, you must do it slowly and carefully. If you do not pay attention, it can destroy the entire thing and spoil the entire project.

In the end, you may need to dump the fabric in the dustbin. Instead of that, you can practice on other clothes and then start here to nail the process. With that, creating great silk creations will not be so difficult. You may find it a bit tricky in the beginning, but once you become an expert, you can do as many as you want.

What Kind Of Threads Should Be Used While Stitching Silk Fabric?

While stitching silk fabric, you can go ahead with both silk and cotton thread. But for better finishing and to hold the cloth, you must go ahead with cotton thread. If you want to draw patterns or want a better appearance, choose the silk ones.

The 100% silk spooled threads are the best choices you can go ahead with. They are strong, smooth, delicate, and have a lustrous sheen. It also enhances the beauty of the entire design that you draw on the cloth.

Is Hand Stitching Possible While Working With Silk Fabric?

Yes, hand stitching is possible when working with silk fabric. Just like to stitch other fabrics, the same way you have to do here as well. The process one needs to follow is explained above.

Any stitch can be done in silk fabric, but a French seam is a better one. It can hold the cloth in the proper position. If you have ever done hand stitching before, it won’t be difficult for you to continue stitching silk.

Thus, you must follow the above steps and try to do it. If you find any difficulty, you can look for more references on this site. Also, you can watch some online videos as they will give you a brief idea about it.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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