If you even remotely dabble in the sewing world you have probably heard the rumors about how challenging fine fabrics like silk, satin, chiffon, georgette and many more slippery goodies, can be.

It is my opinion that when learning anything new and different there are always lots of problems that pop up. I am here to share a few of my favorite fine fabric tips today.

This dress was made for the Clash Dayton Fashion 2019 and I decided to use my own print on a tricky chiffon fabric with a vintage designer sewing pattern. I must just love a good challenge! Lets get to those tips.

The cut

When cutting shifty fabrics it is easier to keep it on-grain if you cut single layer over tissue paper. Something about the tissue paper keeps the fabric from slipping around. Some people use newspaper, too.

The type of scissors you use can be very important and I think this may be a big reason people do not want to sew fine fabrics. You MUST use serrated scissors.  Serrated scissors will grab the fabric and hold it tight instead of letting it slip out and around.

Always use a smaller size, brand new needle. Old needles can get spurs and cause a fine fabric to run like panty hose. I also use a walking foot to help with slipping. When you pin your fabric, pin in the seam allowance because in some fine fabrics the holes will not disappear.

Some fine fabrics have little or no stretch in any direction. Take this into account when choosing your pattern size. A size 12 in the 1960s should have fit me perfectly out of a fabric that had a little give on the crossgrain. This fabric had no give and my dress is tight under the arms, but wearable.

If lining your garment let it hang for a few days. Lining fabric may hang differently and peek out of the bottom. I wound up hemming my dress twice for this very reason.

Pressing fine fabrics is where it gets tricky. They can all call for different temperatures. Try testing a scrap first. Chiffon can be pressed just a little warmer than synthetics with good steam. Watch those fingers!

Photographs can also be tricky. Both photos are in the same room at the same time of the day.

When you are finished no matter how many mistakes you made be proud you ventured into a new craft. Learning something new should not be scary if you have a few simple tips and tricks to help you out.

Special thanks to:

RP3 Photo Works for the professional photos with the back drop. Brian Mukulski for the runway shots, Kristin Marie Degaldo for modeling and Clash Dayton for putting it all together.

Behind the scenes~

What an exciting week.  I have influenced a teen with my Zero Waste Fat Quarter Skirt blog tutorial. She made the skirt for a 4H project and got an A+.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!


Tracy McElfresh
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