Tips on Sewing Satin Fabric

By Mercedes Valladares
Take extra care when sewing satin fabric.

Weddings, graduation, proms and formal dinners often include special dresses. Each season, as designers introduce trendy gown and dress silhouettes, delicate fabrics such as satin are often incorporated. With its natural drape, this fine fabric requires extra care while cutting, stitching and pressing.

Cutting

Taking extra precaution while cutting out your satin pattern pieces can benefit your stitching. Satin is best cut with the fabric folded selvage to selvage, with right sides facing each other. Like fur, satin has a nap, so ensure all your pieces are facing in the same direction. Review your pattern for double-thickness cutting layouts. To avoid pinholes, avoid pinning your patterns outside of the seam allowance area. Use fine pins for satin to ensure minimum markings. Use tailor’s chalk to mark any special pattern details. Don't use fabric-marking pens, which often bleed and can permanently damage your satin fabric. You can also use a rotary cutter to ensure smooth, raw edges.

Stitching

Prior to stitching, check your satin’s fabric weight and change your needle size and thread accordingly. Test your needle on a scrap piece of satin fabric prior to construction. Some satins work best with a sharp, lightweight needle. Use a fine polyester or lingerie thread for stitching your satin fabric parts together.

Increase your machine's tension to sew satin. This secures the satin fabric as you feed it through the machine. Use a single-hole throat plate to keep the fabric from jamming into the machine. You can also change your sewing attachments and use a straight stitch or flat-presser foot, which runs smoothly over the satin.

Pressing

Although satin fabric has a natural drape and flow, you can opt to lightly iron your garment or fabric. Iron the garment inside out or on the wrong side of the fabric panel without adding steam. Satin retains unwanted water spots that can permanently damage your fabric. You can use fabric scrap or pressing cloths to lightly iron on the right side of the fabric.

About the Author

Mercedes Valladares is the founder of M721Organics and has been an independent designer for over 15 years. Her work experience commenced during college with manufacturers based in New York and Hong Kong. Her education includes LIM College, International Fine Arts College and design certification from the Paris Fashion Institute. She produces eco-crafting videos and writes recycling articles online.