The Rhapsody: How to Sew with Silky Fabric

Mar 15, 2019 | Feature Friday, How To, Ladies, Rhapsody Blouse | 1 comment

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The Rhapsody: How to Sew with Silky Fabric

Mar 15, 2019

Learn how to sew with silky fabric on the Rhapsody! The Rhapsody is one of Love Notions’ best-loved and most-awarded sewing patterns (did you know it won for best woven top of 2018 on Patternreview.com?!). While it looks just dreamy in silky, drapey, light wovens, it can be an intimidating sew. So, we’ve invited Karina from liftingpinsandneedles to demystify working with this potentially scary, slippery type of fabric. Read on for lots of inspiration, tricks and tips! And don’t forget to take advantage of our one day $5 sale on the Rhapsody Blouse as part of our Feature Friday series. It’s the perfect make for spring and comes with tons of options, including EIGHT sleeve choices. Happy Sewing!

Rhapsody Blouse: Sewing with Silky Fabric

Hi! My name is Karina Trinidad and I have a sewing channel on Youtube called Lifting Pins and Needles. I am used to “talking” about my sewing, so writing about it has been a new experience.  Here we go!

Silky fabrics are tricky, but worth it

I have a biggish pile of chiffon, silk and lightweight crepe that are dying to be made into gorgeous clothes. Why do I keep buying them if they are harder to work with? Well, because… pretty, light, airy, cool and of course…. The PRINTS.  Any garment looks so much more delicate and feminine in these types of fabrics. I have been actively making garments with them over the years and taking the appropriate measures gives great results. So far so good!

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

The Rhapsody Blouse by Love Notions

I’ve had my eyes on the Rhapsody for months and due to its relaxed fit and the fact that it does not have a thousand seams and closures. This pattern is an excellent candidate for chiffon.  The double yoke piece constructed via the burrito method will also stabilize those shoulder seams and keep the edges of the fabric enclosed neatly. This Friday, the Rhapsody blouse is on sale for 50% off! And it’s a perfect pattern for my chosen fabrics.

Let’s get into the process!

Pre-sewing Tips for Silky Fabric

  1. Create new pattern pieces so that they are not “on the fold”.  Basically, doubling up the pattern pieces into one entire front, back and yoke.  This allows you to place the pattern pieces on the fabric in a single layer.
  2. Fully extend the fabric on your cutting surface. This is when a mammoth sized table is handy.  

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

3. The fabric can be stabilized with starch spray to reduce its “moving” powers. (I personally never do this)

4. Align the edges of the fabric to a straight surface like a cutting mat.  

5. I put a bit of tape on the selvedge to keep it from sliding.

6. Use pattern weights of any kind to secure the pattern on the fabric.  Avoid pins like the plague

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

7. If you REALLY like pins, they need to be NEW sharp thin pins.  Pin on the edge within the seam allowance.

8. Rotary cutter with a fresh blade! I won’t dare use scissors. Unless I want wonky cutting.

9. Mark notches with chalk.  No cutting into them… the silky fabric is too delicate for that and will ruin the possibility of French seams.

10. Once the pattern pieces are cut, avoid manipulation and sew within a short time frame.  The silky fabric might stretch and lose all the marks you’ve made with chalk.

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

Whew, just a few ideas to consider right? All those steps will make a difference.

Sewing Tips for Silky Fabric

  1. Use high quality polyester thread.
  2. New needle in 65/9 – 70/10 number.  To be honest, I’ve also used a 80/11 and it’s been ok.
  3. Keep stitch length slightly shorter.  My preferred is 1.8-2.0.
  4. Practice your machine setting on silky scraps until you are happy.
  5. As tempting as back-stitching seems….. this needs to be avoided, some machines love eating up the silky fabric.  Leaving long tails of thread and tying a knot by hand will be better.

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

6. About machines eating up the fabric: Placing tissue paper under the fabric and sewing over it helps.  The paper can be torn away later. I personally don’t need to do this because my sewing machine does not mind sewing chiffon.

7. Hand basting with long stitches within the seam allowance is preferred to using pins.

8. Seam finish is very important as this fabric loves to unravel.  French seams are ideal for longevity. The Overlocker is also appropriate.

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

 

 

Bias Binding

Yes, it can be done.  Once the long strips are cut (I use the continuous bias tape made from a square), the length of the long strip of bias-cut fabric can be sprayed HEAVILY with stabilizing starch spray. I then can pass it through the bias tape maker and press it normally.  I used the 18mm and 25mm bias tape makers for my blouses.

The bias binding for the V portion was hand-basted on and then sewn close to the edge.  The neckline binding and long ties were also treated the same way.Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric    

The bias binding for the V portion was hand-basted on and then sewn close to the edge.  The neckline binding and long ties were also treated the same way.

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

 

Hemming: Double Hand Baste, then Machine Sew

Hemming is such an important step and a sure tattletale of being in a rush if the result is not precise. The most delicate finish is with a narrow double hem.  Whilst there are specialized feet for this…. I have not mastered that skill and still rely on old fashioned hand basting. Twice. Once the hem is hand basted double, I can machine sew.  The narrow hem will deal much better with the curved hemline.

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

For one of my blouses, I used bias binding to finish the hem.  It’s visible and due to the nature of the print, I thought it would be an interesting look.

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

About my Rhapsody Blouses in Silky Fabric

Rhapsody Blouse with border print:

Taking all the above into account, I have made this lovely version in border print chiffon with the ¾ length sleeve option and the little cuffs.  I made the cuffs slightly smaller and gathered the sleeves into the cuffs. Chiffon and delicate gathers are a win. The bias binding was made from the same fabric using a 25mm bias tape maker.  

I played around with the placement of the pattern pieces to get a cool effect from the border print and this was super fun. 

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

The Bright Rhapsody in Silky Fabric:

I made another Rhapsody in a bright colorful crepe.  This one is the sleeveless option and I used black chiffon for the inner layer of the yoke.  The armscye and hem is finished with bias binding made from the same fabric using the 18mm bias tape maker.  This version required little amount of fabric. People will see me from a big distance with this one!

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

The Sentimental Rhapsody in Silky Fabric:

My final Rhapsody is made from a beautiful chiffon in grey tones with little golden strands.  I have had this fabric for YEARS and it’s a type of souvenir. I have lived in many countries and carry an international special stash with me every time I move! This one was purchased in Auckland, New Zealand.  I lived there for 6 years and was insanely happy there. This special Rhapsody will help me relive those happy times. I made this version by lengthening it into a dress.

Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric Rhapsody blouse how to sew silky fabric

 

Step Up your Skills with Silky Fabric Sewing

I’ve gone on and on about slippery fabric…. It’s an option if you are wanting to further your sewing skills and start making beautiful garments in special fabric.  I have surely enjoyed this journey.

Try the Rhapsody Blouse in all kinds of Silky Fabrics!

You can go ahead and make this beautiful pattern in other lightweight wovens like rayon, crepe, georgette, voile, peachskin, cotton lawn… and it’s noteworthy that silk and chiffon are mentioned as appropriate, too.  Get your pattern here and make your fabulous Rhapsody.

My link is:

https://www.lovenotions.com/product/rhapsody-blouse/?affiliates=366

Happy sewing!

Karina from Lifting Pins and Needles

rhapsody silky fabric

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1 Comment

  1. Cathie Paski

    Thank you for all your advice for working with slinky fabrics. I have some silk I want to make into a rhapsody blouse and will use your suggestions.

    Reply

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1 Comment

  1. Cathie Paski

    Thank you for all your advice for working with slinky fabrics. I have some silk I want to make into a rhapsody blouse and will use your suggestions.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Gathered Skirt Hack for Summer Basics Dress - Love Notions Sewing Patterns - […] worry about dealing with applying binding to such a slippery fabric? (P.S. If you need some tips on working…

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