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machine embroidery on silk dupioni

Marie | Posted in General Sewing Info on


I’m new here and also desperate…bad combination! I am trying to embroider a beautiful bird onto silk dupioni and can’t seem to do it without puckers. Does anyone have any wonderful ideas to solve the problem? The bird motif is fairly dense…any ideas would be much appreciated!





  1. SEWWRITER | | #1

    I've embroidered on silk dupioni and the best advice I can give is to be realistic.  Even the highest quality silk dupioni has irregularities in the weave, including slubs. It's also slippery, so even the most tightly hooped fabric is going to slide around a little under the needling. The main problem, however, is that it's shiny and reflects light.  Therefore, every little ripple in the fabric looks like a mountain!  It's possible that the puckers you're seeing would be undetectable on fabric with a matt finish.

    I'm sure others with much more embroidery experience that I have will be along to give you good advice on stabilizers, but for starters I would recommend a stick-on method for slippery silk dupioni.

    -Stephanie Corina Goddard-                                                                              Member, Professional Association of Custom Clothiers (PACC)

    1. Marie | | #4

      Thanks Stephanie for your suggestions. I've been experimenting for 2 days now and have finally determined that this bird is not going to make it on a piece of dupioni! But I haven't given up hope...surely there is a piece of fabric out there that will embroider beautifully and still look elegant in a pillow. I'll try to keep you posted on the results! Thanks again for your help!


      1. JeanetteR | | #5


        Perhaps you could embroider the bird onto fabric that is suitable, and then cut out and appique it onto the silk with a satin stich edging, you could use vliesofix to position it.  If the design is very dense, little of the stitching fabric will show through.  Jeanette

  2. carolfresia | | #2

    Hi, Marie,

    Stephanie has pointed out a number of the problems associated with embroidering on dupioni, but there's another one to consider: it's usually a fairly tight weave with mostly fine threads (though the slubs will interfere, too). This means that if you try to pack too many additional threads into the weave by embroidering a dense design, the fabric is just going to have to pucker. Either go for an applique technique as Stephanie suggests, or try a less densely digitized design. A lighter design will also change the hand of the fabric less dramatically, which is usually desirable.

    When you hoop the fabric, if you stretch it really, really tightly, it's going to relax as soon as you remove it from the hoop, and you'll see all those puckers that weren't showing in the hoop. In general, you need the hooped fabric to be flat and smooth, and firmly gripped by the rings of the hoop, but it doesn't necessarily need to be stretched tight as a drum. However, I suspect no amount of careful hooping is going to eliminate your puckers if your designs isn't compatible with the fabric. Experiment a bit and see what happens--and good luck. Sounds like a lovely project.



    1. Marie | | #3

      Dear Carol,

      Thank you for taking the time to respond. And...you're absolutely right. I think the fabric is simply too tightly woven to allow  for the densly stitched bird. What a shame! My pillow fabric is taffeta and it would be so elegant to have the macaw on dupioni. Well. back to the drawing board. I'm heading out tomorrow to try to find an elegant fabric that will accept the embroidery. Thanks again for your comments. It feels very comforting to have someone to bounce ideas off of, even if the answer is not exactly what I was looking for!



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