How to Sew with Liberty Fabrics Belgravia Silk Satin

Liberty Fabrics Belgravia Silk is prized for its lustrous drape and fluidity, but these qualities also make it a little daunting to sew with for the first time! We have compiled a list of tips and tricks to sew with silk which we hope you find useful.

Tips for Cutting Silk

Cutting silk this slippery is a challenge, but with patience and time on your hands, it’s not that bad. Honestly!

Using a rotary cutter will reduce the movement of the silk when cutting, so this is a great option for large pieces. 

sharp pair of scissors will be OK, but make sure they are sharp as a blunt blade, or a blade with a nasty nick in it could damage your silk. 

Use lots and lots of pattern weights rather than pins. You don’t need anything fancy, just whatever you have to hand. As you can see I have used tins, coasters . . all sorts! 

Cut the silk as a single layer to reduce slip. It's a more long winded approach but believe me, it's better to take longer cutting the silk rather than trying to stop the silk slipping around as you cut a folded layer!

Which Needles and Pins should you use for Sewing Silk?

When machine stitching silk always use a Sharps needle size 60 or 70, these needles have a very sharp fine point and are designed to go through tightly woven fabrics such as silk. Sharps needles are also known as microtip or microtex needles. 

Always use a new needle! A blunt needle can ladder your silk.

I tried lots of different pins and clips and found the Skinny Black Pins from Sewply to be the best. They are extra thin, very sharp and have a soft black enamel coating which gives a better grip with fine fabrics such as silk. 

Clips are also useful, but I did find that the weight of them dragged the silk down so they were only suitable for smaller areas.

Tips for Stitching Silk

You will probably need to alter your machine's stitch length and top tension when sewing silk. I found that on my Bernina 350 a 2-3mm stitch length was good and I also had to reduce the presser foot tension to 1.

If you have a walking foot then this is a great time to use it.

Use your hand to apply gentle tension to the silk whilst sewing. Play around with what works with you, but I found using my hand to slightly pull the silk at the back and front of the presser foot stopped the cloth puckering.

When starting and finishing stitching don't go forwards and backwards to secure the thread as the silk is likely to get sucked into your throat plate. Instead, tie your threads to secure. Again, it's more long winded but worth it.

Tips for Pressing Silk

The main rule when pressing silk is to only press it one way, with the grain of the silk. Never iron backwards and forwards as this can stretch and warp the fibres beyond repair. 

Always test the temperature of your iron on a scrap of silk. Use a lower temperature setting and go slowly - less is more when pressing silk.

Use a pressing cloth, a bit of calico will do.

Be careful with your steam setting too as steam can sometimes damage the silk. 

Tips for Finishing and Hemming Silk

This silk frays so finishing your seams well is really important. French seams are always the best option for sewing silk as the seams are hidden and they give a lovely neat finish.

Overlocking seams is a good option too, but consider reducing to 3 threads to reduce any bulk. Always use new, sharp needles or you risk damaging the silk!

Fine silk like this calls for a delicate hem like a baby hem or a rolled hem. The benefit of the baby hem is that it also adds a bit of weight to the silk.