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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

'Amateur Hour', or, 'Silk Destroys my Happiness'

Wow, if there's one thing I can't stand it's how imprecise my sewing is. It's something I feel like I'm always struggling with but this really takes the cake.

How? How do you sew with silk? I've only had two sewing failures in the couple of years that I've been sewing and both have been attempts to make silk shirts.

I tried so hard! I:

  • meticulously sandwiched my fabric between tissue and cut it out in a single layer. 
  • used a seam gauge on my machine.
  • used the lowest setting on my iron and used a presscloth and paper
  • followed the instructions to a 't'. 
  • pinned tissue above the top layer so the presser foot wouldn't drag the top layer of fabric

And it looks like crap! To add salt to the wound, I seem to be the only person unable to make this shirt as evidenced by the seemingly billions of fantastic versions of this shirt that have been sewn up by others.

I just can't understand how people actually sew with silk. Ironing it made it look terrible, even though I was so careful.

The facing was made of a double thickness of bias strip but to get it to curve around the neckline, I had to pull it a bit which made it thinner, so the topstitching was wonky and the finish inside looks terrible and it isn't stitched down in places!

Oh, and here's a wonderful close up of the seams.

To get the centre to line up I had to unpick my first and second attempts and baste the seams together. This is the only seam that matches on the whole garment. All of my seams are lumpy and wiggly and so ugly! Some of them are on the bias, too and they're the worst. I couldn't sew a straight line with this stuff to save my life.

How? How do you do it?


  1. Honestly I sew silk and it's usually fine but I had a horrible time with this pattern! You can see my version on BurdaStyle, trust me close ups are NOT nice... I hardly wear it because it annoys me so much! Anyway I very wary when I have seams that will be sewn on the bias with silk now and for instance for this dressthis dress, I interfaced each seam that may stretch with some very lightweight fusible tape! I made things a lot better. Also, avoid pinning as much as you can, I felt that it distorted the feeding of the dogs. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for commenting. It's good to know I'm not alone in struggling with this.

      I'll definitely keep fusible stay take in mind if I ever make anything like this again.

      Thanks for the tip!

  2. You might try hand basting before machine sewing. It is very easy to see that everything is lining up the way you want it, to add some ease here and there, and to have more control when doing something by hand. You can then machine stitch over it for a more uniform look before removing the basting stitches. This obviously takes more time, but could help for that bias strip when you are trying to line up two slippery fabrics.

    Also, needle size? Newness of needle? Sometimes you get a pucker from the needle being pushed through the fabric too hard. It could mean the needle is too big, too dull, or both..