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Conversational Threads

Silk Shantung and Stablizer

thorrebe | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

News Years Greetings from snowy Idaho…I received my new copy of Threads yesterday….nice surprise to find after the first day back to work following the holidays…I have not particpated in a sewing mesage group for many years…and look forward to learning more from everyone here. Currently, my project is a beautiful silk shantung, fairly light weight fabric, christening gown. I would like to place machine embroidery on the bodice, sleeves, and along a fancy band near the hem with lace and entredeux. Problem…the proper stabilizer for the embroidery. I spent most of Sunday researching through past Threads magazine for information, but did not find any specific information for what to do with silk. Looked in Fabric Savvy and the Fabric Sewing Guide as well…I have experimented with two different solutions..a light tear away that left puckers, although thread tension was a bit too tight, and a layer of silk organza,that I intend to use for the underlining, with another layer Pellon light cut away together. The cut away shows through…Has anyone found any good solutions for this? I’ve sewn dupioni for years, but never anything as light as the shantung.


  1. carolfresia | | #1


    Check out Barbara Skimin's article in Threads, nO. 106 for suggestions. What I suspect is that the shantung is too lightweight and also too tightly woven for the embroidery motif you're trying to use--or rather, that the embroidery motif is too dense for the fabric. You might be better off choosing a different motif with a similar look but more open stitching, or, if you have the proper software to do so, edit the motif to a slightly less dense form. Bear in mind that a less dense embroidery design will not alter the hand of your lightweight fabric as much, either, which is probably a plus for a delicate christening gown. Oh--another thought is to test the embroidery motif you have using a lighter weight thread. Most embroidery thread is 40-wt., but if you can find a 50-wt. thread, the overall result with be softer and less dense.


    1. SewTruTerry | | #2

      Carol you took the words right out of my mouth.  She is also on track (or maybe it was you that said it) regarding the silk organza but couple that with the lighter thread and design should work out wonderfully.  Several years ago I made a christening gown and teddy bears out of a badly worn,spotted, and antique wedding gown made out of silk and had to use the silk organza and lighten the thread count to add details that I copied from the gown onto the bears so that they were coordinated. 

  2. gammarae | | #3

    Sorry, I can't help with your question, but I have  question for you.  Where do you buy your fabrics?  Can't seem to find nice silks, and have been reluctant to buy from catalogue ads.  Thanks.  Cardstitcher

    1. sarahnyc | | #4

      you didn't ask me - but I'm a big fan of the folks at thai silks.. http://www.thaisilks.com   it is worth ordering their swatches at least once so you have something to go by when they describe  something as being 8 mm or 40 mm. or descrive something as being say a pongee or a tussah silk or a four ply - it helps to train your fingers.

      I also like the folks at http://www.supersilk.com - they have a smaller selection than thai silks but they too are honest folks - I invested in their fancy swatch notebook several years ago - it helps to have it around.

      there are other places that are jobbers who carry fabic when there are overruns at mills or if a manufacturer does not use all the fabric they ordered.. they may charge less than thai or supersilk .. but if you know you need exactly X pattern of embroidered dupion in celadon .. i would turn to a place like thai silks or supersilks.

      the other thing about dupion is that it comes in many many qualities.. some of the lower grades can come with some very thin patches... a higher grade tends to be more consistant and more dense... you don't always see it as the fabric is first pulled off of the bolt - but I have purchased some bargain dupion with sections that were

      I'm a bargain hunter of the first order

      sarah in nyc

    2. thorrebe | | #5

      Good Morning!! I also order my silks from thaisilks.com who have been very good about the delivery, cost, and quality of the fabrics...a couple I haven't been able to cut into because they are sooo beautiful. So far Idaho just doesn't offer any establishment with good quality fabrics, so I have been ordering more and more online. I've just ordered dupioni from fabric.com that I hope will be very nice. I am still careful about ordering from unknown online sources, but have found all I have done business with to be very good..by-the-by...I found most of the ads for these companies in my Threads magazine.

      1. anneelsberry | | #6

        I'm another fan of Thai Silks.  Never a problem with them, and their prices are usually half or more what the same fabrics cost in the local boutique fabric stores.

        I also order from http://www.handmades.com, a store in Alabama that specializes in fabrics for heirloom sewing.  Mostly lightweight cottons and laces.

        G Street in the Washington, D.C. area doesn't have a website any more but the folks there are wonderful about putting together swatches and doing phone orders.  I believe Britex (my favorite place in the world) in San Francisco will do the same.

        1. SewNancy | | #7

          I am very lucky in that I can shop in NYC for fabric.  But when I can't get in I call Paron fabrics and ask for Lucy. She is great.  I tell her what I want and she sends out great samples.  They are usually big enough to really see the fabric, not a tiny square.   They are on 40th St.  They have a half price store that has amazing bargains and they will send samples from there too.  I bought a stretch fine wale cordoroy for $6 a yd that  was great for pants.  I had the 57th street number, so look for their ad in Threads.  They are really fast.


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