Folksy Ltd

Sewing with silk

(Mylittlesewingshed) #1

Afternoon! I’ve been asked to make bags for a hen night (think grown up party bags), but have been asked to make a special one for the bride … out of silk! arrgghghghg! I’ve never used silk! I thought it left pin marks and couldn’t be ironed?? For the other bags I have used some interfacing … can I use interfacing with silk!? Any advice would be a lifesaver! x

(Lizzie Gillum, Bedfordshire, Uk ) #2


Yes, you can use interfacing - even the iron-on type, but you need to be careful as silk is damaged by too much heat. The setting on the iron for silk is much lower than cotton, so if you’ve been used to using iron-on interfacings with cottons, you will need to revise your method a little.

I make bookcloth for covering my books and often use silk. I’m attaching paper to the back of the silk pieces, using iron-on bondaweb. The way I stop it from burning, is to put the silk face-down on the ironing surface, with the bondaweb & thin lining paper (it’s a bit like tissue, but stronger!) on top. BUT, then I put a sheet of greaseproof-type paper on top of all that and iron through the paper. The thing is, you need to get the interface glue hot enough to melt it and stick it evenly, but you don’t want to scorch the silk. The paper protects it a bit. I would do a test run (or two) before committing to the actual bag pieces!

If you don’t want to use iron-on interfacing, you can always inter-line it with plain interfacing (ie. no glue/ironing). You can stitch it in at the side seams.
Or you can iron interfacing onto some fine cotton (lawn for example) and use that as the bag lining. If it’s cut and attached carefully, it will give the bag strength and a nice lining too.
Perhaps a little experiment is a good plan…

Don’t be scared of silk. It’s actually pretty robust; but you can pull threads and make the surface pill if you’re rough with it and as I said, it’s more liable to damage from heat.
You can avoid pin-marks by using lace pins (they are finer - buy at a good haberdashery/sewing shop/department) and/or pinning carefully at the edges. Again, a bit of trying-out to see what happens is a good idea.

Good luck!


(Ann Chandler) #3

Most of my bags are made from vintage kimono silk and I find it a joy to work with. Obviously some silks are slippery and I tend to avoid those but most are very robust. I use woven iron on interfacing and then sew in interfacing and/or thin wadding. Check out my shop - annchandleroriginals and you will see how silk can look made up into bags, purses etc. For lining I use silk dupion which I would recommend as a great choice if you are nervous about using silk.


(Leanne Woods) #4

The only thing I could add is to use a brand new needle in your machine for silk, I’ve only sewn with it a few times but the one time I pulled threads was with a needle that had sewn cotton beforehand, it needs to be nice a sharp and mine could have been sharper:)

(Ann Chandler) #5

That’s a good point Leanne - I do change my needles fairly frequently and use a size 70 or 80.