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behavior of materials (cloths)

cely | Posted in Fitting on

i wonder if somebody can help me with this.  Everytime i press a finish gown, it becomes a little bit bigger, specially bridal satin.                     cely


  1. solosmocker | | #1

    Are you pressing or ironing? Pressing involves lifting the iron up and down with no movement on the fabric. Ironing means going back and forth on the fabric, without lifting. If you are ironing on the bias you definitely could be stretching out your fabric. Also, a large garment like a wedding gown puts lots of weight on the fabric, pulling it when it shouldn't be pulled. This may not be real obvious but it can do damage. Many bridalwear makers use a pulley system from the ceiling to hold the gown while it is being pressed and not stress the fabric.That's all I can think of but maybe others have some different ideas.

    1. cely | | #4

      hi solosmocker,

      I am just pressing the seams.  The necklines, armholes and bodice become bigger.  Maybe because i don't pre-wash the materials?  But, if I do it looses the shine and crisp of the cloth.  Thank you so much for your advice.


      1. solosmocker | | #5

        The neckline and armholes are all curved bias mostly shapes. They can easily stretch out of shape and grow when pressing and some care is required. I would suggest stay stitching these curved areas right after you cut them out. This will help them keep their shape as they are handled.

        1. cely | | #6


          I think I would try that.  Thank you so much.  Its a big help when one is just learning without formal schooling.

          kind regards,


  2. Ralphetta | | #2

    Are you pressing all the seams as you assemble the garment?  I guess if you didn't, and waited until the end to press everything it might be bigger

    1. cely | | #3

      hi Ralphetta,

      thank you for your response.  Do i need to pre-wash my material?  Because when I do, it might loose the shine of it.


  3. Cathie | | #7

    I have had this problem with the more delicate fabrics, and often find this with RTW, and gentle washing, or wearing, or even handling. I do not like the stay tapes often used, as very "tough", and we are going for the drapey, elegant flowing look, and also fitted, with some comfort. I have been looking into alternatives. Once I used rayon soutache binding (vintage, that I found at a church sale), this was the right hand and weight, but had a little ridge. The stabilizer should be on, or just inside the seamline (snaking along). I am looking further into this. Staystitching (directionally) is a must - it can ce done by hand too. I am thinking of 1/8 inch ribbon, but sometimes it hasn't enough ability to curve. Burda recommends narrow cut iron on light weight interfacing, with snips cut into it, so it curves. But, I am leery of iron on with delicate, so, was thinking of improvising with these options, and seeing what I come up with.

    1. cely | | #10

      hi cathie,

      thank you for giving me so many options!  I'm on my way to experiment.


      1. Cathie | | #11

        Hi there. The poster talking about fibers was very enlightening. So glad we found this site!!!!!!!! I thought of another tip: how about underlining? A favourite of Sandra Betzina's (see Power Sewing books). About 100 years ago I made a semi-formal dress of cotton shantung, and underlined, so it would have more body. I think you will need to be careful doing darts (haven't tried this myself), but the method can be used to stabilize. Something with a light hand, but added body (play with scraps of the 2 layers for effects). Also, Susan Khalje has a lovely book on wedding dresses, useful also for finer sewing. I do not have, but, she once hosted DIY sewing show, and, I have down-loaded some helpful shows, with small photos and helpful explanations. Maybe in Threads Archives there are articles by her. Happy experimenting (something I must do more of - to improve skills, confidence, and results). Cathie!

        1. cely | | #12

          hi cathie,

          You're right there.  Experiment and practice will make one go a long way!

          Thanks alot....... Cely

          1. Teaf5 | | #14

            Experiments, practice, and a lot of mistakes have taught a lot of us most of what we know about fabrics.  Check out the archives for the "sewing disasters" thread of this forum for (now) hilarious stories of experiments gone wrong...

          2. cely | | #16

            hi teaf5,

            I'm giggling already reading your comments!  Thank you


    2. sewingkmulkey | | #15

      Why not use a strip of torn selvedge from the fashion fabric?  I find this to be stable on most woven fabrics.



  4. Teaf5 | | #8

    Bridal satin (the most commonly available kind) is a nearly bullet-proof fabric that can easily take washing, rewashing, and stitching and restitching and pressing without harm.  Fabrics with acetate, though, react very unpredictably to water and heat; they should be dry cleaned and touched up with a very low heat, absolutely dry iron.

    Pressing down hard on any fabric will flatten the fibers; most seams don't need much pressure to lie flat.  With any washable fabric, you can lightly mist the over-ironed garment, toss it in the dryer on low with a couple of towels, and get the fibers to spring back into shape.  For an acetate fabric, you can try tumbling it without misting first on low with dry towels to get the same response.

    Let us know if anything works!

    1. cely | | #9

      hello Teaf5,

      that was very enlightening.  I wish i had joined this gathering long time ago.  Thank you every one for your help.


  5. SewFit | | #13

    There are a couple of products on the market you may find helpful.  Dritz Seams Great is a bias cut tricot that is very light weight but great for stabilizing seams (and shaping sleeve caps). They also make Seam Tape that is also tricot but cut on the straight grain.  You should be able to find it in your local fabric store.  It's also available at http://www.nancysnotions.com.


    1. cely | | #17

      Dear sewfit,

      It's unbelievable how can everyone come up with so many solutions to a problem!  I'm so grateful i joined this discussion or should I say posted this problem.  I thank you soo much!


      1. SewFit | | #18

        You're very welcome!

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