Satin Brocade is a luxury fabric and can be challenging to work with. If you look closely at the photograph above you will see that two problems are instantly obvious. The first being that it quickly frays away to just a pile of threads, the second being that it plucks very easily.What is not obvious from the picture is that it is very slippery to work with. There is a product on the market which helps to prevent fraying called Fray Check. If you spray it on the edges of your fabric it will temporarily seal them. do be careful with it though if you do decide to use it, it makes the fabric stiff, it may not wash out, indeed you may not want to wash the garment initially, and it could stain some fabrics. Also if you are a slow sewer there is always the danger of it wearing off. The way I deal with fabrics such as these is to cut slightly larger seam allowances and to zig-zag or over-lock inside the seam allowance. You of course need a brand new needle, a finer one than usual will be perfect. The fabric does pluck easily too so only use sharp pins and needles and please remove your rings!
Satin can prove very slippery to work with so you will need to tack seams in place before sewing as this will hold them in place much better than pins, you may also want to use your walking foot or Teflon foot. The best thing to do is to experiment with a scrap of your fabric and see what works best.
A toille is essential by the way, you do not want to be unpicking this fabric, it is sure to leave marks or pulls.
It sounds all bad news so far! Far from it though, the fabric is vibrant, solid, and very very flattering so just take a bit of extra care with your preparation and give it a go. You will not be disappointed.
As you can see I have started to put the dress together. The darts have been sewn and all the edges are over-locked.
Press as you go, but try pressing a spare piece of fabric first, mine did not like too much steam. again steam can cause water marks, so test it first.
I am using an invisible zip and an invisible zip foot. I feel that these give the most professional finish
Rather than pin the zip in place I used this wonderful double sided basting tape.
It holds your zip in place securely without the need for pins. It is also useful for securing seams and has 1001 other uses!
AS you can see I have only used one pin in the entire zip insertion, and that was just to prove to myself that basting tape is indeed the preferred option.
the zip really is invisible. I wish that I could have matched the dragons up along the back seam a bit better, but I had to sacrifice that for better matching across the front.
By the way, here is a tip for you. When it comes to stitching the centre back seam below the end of the zipper use your normal zipper foot, it enables you to stitch right up to the edge of your stitching where you stitched the zip on and avoids leaving a gap which has to be finished by hand
For the hem I first over-locked the edge and then turned the hem up by half an inch. I then turned it up using the hem measure on my tailors dummy before trying it on to ensure it hung correctly.
You have options for finishing the hem. You can hand sew it, machine it or use your invisible hem foot. I have been experimenting with mine and found it very easy to use and I have now decided that it is much underused and I will be using it a lot more. If you have one and are not sure how to fold the fabric there are a lot of videos on You Tube. Or you can just ask me of course!
I finished the dress off with a long tie which looks great tied in a bow at the front of the dress. This is just two long pieces of fabric sewn together to make a belt. I also added small shoulder pads. to make them fit I whizzed along the small curved edge with my over-locker which made them shorter and a perfect fit.
I would like to add that sewing is something to be enjoyed, so please do not get too hung up on perfection. each time you make something your expertise will grow, but meanwhile we all have to learn and we all make mistakes. feel free to experiment with fabrics and designs which appeal to you and love what you do just for the sake of it. Above all feel proud that you are wearing a beautiful garment which you have made yourself and is unique.
And this is the finished dress. I have to admit that I really Love it. The fabric is divine, it feels very elegant and I think it is very flattering
The gold on red is stunning and I love the way it catches the light, it truly is a remarkable fabric as I am sure you will agree
The back too looks very elegant, the belt just nips it in at the waist a bit more than without it and adds a bit of interest.
I wanted to add a little story which I told to Vicki. When I was 18 I made a long dress in a fabric very similar to this for a Police ball, it was a long dress and the fabric was a very similar satin brocade in red with dragons on it. I loved the dress and it was much admired. I seem to remember eventually making a skirt out of it. When I saw this fabric on the Minerva web site my heart leapt for joy and I just had to use it. I chose a different colour so as not to spoil the lovely memory . He was the love of my life. His name was Dennis Woods, pc 3500. The ball was at his passing out parade at Bruche. His first posting was in Urmston Greater Manchester.
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