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What should I do to prepare silk for sewing?

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  • Cindi
    Greetings, I have on order two yards of silk taffeta (10mm) and as I have never sewn or owned silk before I figured I would turn to the wisdom of the group in
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 1, 2002
      Greetings,

      I have on order two yards of silk taffeta (10mm) and as I have never sewn or owned silk before I figured I would turn to the wisdom of the group in dealing with this delicate fabric.
      Should I prewash it as one does linen/cotton? Differently? Not at all?
      It says it can be handwashed or dry-cleaned, how do those of you experienced in silk care for your completed garments?

      If this experiment turns out well (using this for sleeve linings) then I hope to get enough for a dress.

      YIS,
      Nastasia Caterina di Rosati
      Shire of Alderford
      Middle Kingdom
      Canton, OH USA
      (MKA Cindi)


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • n2kye
      ... garments? It depends on the silk and the garment. Some silks will waterstain, so you need to take a swatch, drop a single drop of water on it, and let it
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 1, 2002
        --- In italianrenaissancecostuming@y..., "Cindi" <natashammud@n...>
        wrote:

        > ...how do those of you experienced in silk care for your completed
        garments?

        It depends on the silk and the garment. Some silks will waterstain,
        so you need to take a swatch, drop a single drop of water on it, and
        let it dry, to see if the silk will waterstain. A water stain can
        either be a discoloration or a marked change of texture from the rest
        of the silk that remains even after the fabric dries (and is ironed
        if necessary). If the silk in question waterstains, then you *must*
        dryclean it, use only a dry iron on it, and protect it from sweat and
        other fluids.

        Personally, if my silk garment is a dark/bright color and I need to
        make sure that it will not fade unevenly, I have it dry-cleaned.
        Period. I won't deliberately let a drop of water touch that sucker in
        order to try to prevent uneven fading or the sort of "crackelure"
        fading that sometimes occurs in the wash (hand OR machine, even on
        the delicate cycle).

        If the garment is a piece of everyday wear (garb or mundane) that is
        light in color or that can look, well, worn-in (think pre-washed
        denim, sandwashed silk/rayon/etc., etc.), then I'll prewash it in hot
        water, dry it in a hot dryer, distress the hell out of it first
        before I sew it, then wash it on the delicate cycle and either hang
        dry it or dry it flat, or dry it in a very cool dryer.

        If the garment is lined, I'll either prewash the fabric first (hot,
        to get the excess dye out and shrink it maximally) and wash on
        delicate with line/lie-flat drying, or I'll have the garment dry-
        cleaned from the get-go.


        Brenda
        webwarren@...
      • Bella
        ... If the silk in question waterstains, then you *must* dryclean it, use only a dry iron on it, and protect it from sweat and other fluids.
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 1, 2002
          --- n2kye <webwarren@...> wrote:
          <snipped> If the silk in question waterstains, then
          you *must* dryclean it, use only a dry iron on it, and
          protect it from sweat and other fluids.<<<<<<



          Anyone know what types of silk waterstain? Personally
          I've used silk only three times so far - none of these
          (an organza, a low-shine tabby weave, and a slightly
          slubby one woven with metallic gold threads) stained
          when washed. I'd like to avoid these silks if they
          exist - after all, there was no dry cleaning in
          period. I washed these all by machine silk cycle, and
          I'd like to keep it that way. :)



          Bella



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        • n2kye
          ... I think a lot of it is the dye rather than the silk itself... My one particularly *bad* experience with silk waterstaining was a very inexpensive unlined
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 1, 2002
            --- In italianrenaissancecostuming@y..., Bella
            <bella_lucia_da_verona@y...> wrote:

            > Anyone know what types of silk waterstain?

            I think a lot of it is the dye rather than the silk itself... My one
            particularly *bad* experience with silk waterstaining was a very
            inexpensive unlined silk shantung suit in a mid-range blue which I
            had purchased (at employee discount) at the retailer I was working
            for at the time. I had gotten the jacket in black as well as the
            blue, and don't remember having had a waterstain problem with it, but
            then again, my sister commandeered it almost immediately for
            an "interview suit", so I may not have worn it enough to have caused
            a water stain or to have noticed the existence of one.

            Note also that the worst waterstaining is not from overall immersion,
            but from spotting (getting caught out in a drizzle, for example, or
            the condensation from your beverage dripping onto your skirts)...
            which is why I said a swatch and a single drop of water. Using any
            laundry pretreatment against having just stained silk of this type
            *will* make it worse, BTW.


            Brenda
            webwarren@...
          • Holly Frantz
            There are also products sold designed to set the dye in silk. Many silks are actually over-dyed to get their intense color, which is why they water-stain when
            Message 5 of 5 , Oct 2, 2002
              There are also products sold designed to set the dye
              in silk. Many silks are actually over-dyed to get
              their intense color, which is why they water-stain
              when wet.

              I've had good look with products from Dharma Trading
              that set the dye in fabric. They also sell white silk
              and lots of dye to make it any gorgeous color you
              want.

              Niccola

              --- n2kye <webwarren@...> wrote:
              > --- In italianrenaissancecostuming@y..., Bella
              > <bella_lucia_da_verona@y...> wrote:
              >
              > > Anyone know what types of silk waterstain?
              >
              > I think a lot of it is the dye rather than the silk
              > itself... My one
              > particularly *bad* experience with silk
              > waterstaining was a very
              > inexpensive unlined silk shantung suit in a
              > mid-range blue which I
              > had purchased (at employee discount) at the retailer
              > I was working
              > for at the time. I had gotten the jacket in black as
              > well as the
              > blue, and don't remember having had a waterstain
              > problem with it, but
              > then again, my sister commandeered it almost
              > immediately for
              > an "interview suit", so I may not have worn it
              > enough to have caused
              > a water stain or to have noticed the existence of
              > one.
              >
              > Note also that the worst waterstaining is not from
              > overall immersion,
              > but from spotting (getting caught out in a drizzle,
              > for example, or
              > the condensation from your beverage dripping onto
              > your skirts)...
              > which is why I said a swatch and a single drop of
              > water. Using any
              > laundry pretreatment against having just stained
              > silk of this type
              > *will* make it worse, BTW.
              >
              >
              > Brenda
              > webwarren@...
              >
              >
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