Silk Crepe De Chine: photos, tips and sewing pattern suggestions!
Silk crepe de chine is a soft and luxurious fabric. It drapes beautifully and can be worn all year round. If you haven’t already sewn with silk we want to encourage you to start sewing with silk crepe de chine. Firstly, we want to go over why silk is so precious and one of the most important natural fibres. Silk has a rich history and is said to date back to China 3600 BC, it was worth more than gold and the Chinese kept silk a secret for more than 30 centuries. Smugglers caught trying to take silk out for the country were killed. legend has it that Hsi Lingshi, a Chinese Empress, first discovered silk after a cocoon dropped in to her tea, straight from the mulberry tree she was sitting under. She stared at the silk cocoon as it unravelled in the liquid, the thread shimmering back to her, wondering whether this thread could be woven in to cloth. Of course, silk fabric was produced and this developed the Sericulture and cultivation of the silkworm.
One silkworm can produce a mile of silk filament in just two or three days, this filament is usually combined with ten more to make one thread. Silk production is very time consuming and this explains why silk is valuable and worth more than some other fabrics.
Silk Crepe De Chine- Emerald/ Indigo
Silk fibre has a shimmering appearance, this is due to its triangular prism like structure, light bounces and reflects of the cloth to produce different colours. Silk is non conductive and keeps the warmth close to the skin in cold weather, it is a durable fabric due to its strong fibres being closely woven together to form a tight weave. There are many types of silks, today we are looking at Crepe De Chine; a matt, fine silk with a slightly textured surface, perfect for dressmaking.
Sewing with silk crepe de chine:
- Measure and then measure again before cutting
- It is helpful to cut silk with carbon paper or tissue paper underneath to stop it moving and distorting
- Use weights instead of pins. If you use pins, only pin in the seam allowance with silk pins
- Cut your fabric out with a rotary cutter or sharp scissors
- Stay-stitching (about sewing foot width) along the edges before sewing the seams, will help to keep the fabric in place. This should also make it easier to sew on the machine.
- Before sewing, test the tension of the machine on an off-cut of fabric.
- The sewing machine needle should be new and fine so it wont punch the fabric
- for finishing seams you can use an overlocker or french seams will give your garment a great finish
- Use a pressing cloth and dry iron on low. Heat will shrink and damage the fibres
- Silk dislikes hot water and being hung up while wet, wring the water out gently using a towel. Our silk crepe can be hand washed in cool water or dry cleaned
We have put together a few sewing pattern suggestion for inspiration: