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Silk is one of the most beautiful and elegant fabrics available for making clothing and other items with Janome sewing machines. As desirable as it may be, silk can also be challenging to work with because it is slippery, delicate, and tends to fray.

If you are looking forward to trying your hand at using silk, make sure you use these helpful tips. You will get great results with projects made on sewing machines like the Janome HD3000 when you can properly handle fine silks.

Pre-Wash and Press

Like many other fabrics, silk may shrink after it is cut and sewn. Avoid this by either dry cleaning it before you start your project or gently hand-washing it in mild detergent and lukewarm water. Once the fabric is dry, press it smooth and ready to be cut for sewing on sewing machines. Always use a press cloth to keep the iron from burning the silk.

Marking and Cutting

Silk is very delicate and can be easily damaged by marking, pinning, or cutting the fabric. Test marking pens or pencils on a scrap to make sure the ink and lead will come off before you mark the silk.  You can also use a running tailor’s tack stitch made with silk thread to act as pattern markers as an alternative. Pin only in the seam allowance to avoid permanent holes in the fabric that could ruin your finished project.

When it comes time to cut the fabric, be extremely careful to prevent stretching, warping, and fraying. Use a sharp pair of fabric shears to a sharp rotary cutter. Keep your silk from sliding on the cutting surface by laying it on tissue paper, craft paper, newsprint, or even muslin fabric. Only cut one layer of silk at a time to prevent the second lay from shifting and winding up with a mismatched second layer.

Setting Up the Machine

To prevent snagging and stitching problems, always start with a new sharp needle when sewing silk on Janome sewing machines. Use a microtex, sharp, or fine quilting needle and high-quality cotton thread. Cotton is preferred over silk because it is stronger. Use a straight stitch needle plate on your machine so the stitches are precise. You may also want to shorten the stitch length to 2.0 or 2.5 for smaller, tighter stitches.

Sewing On Silk

Once you are ready to begin stitching on your Janome HD3000, practice with a test piece of fabric to get the feel of working with silk. Sew slowly and carefully. If the fabric is sliding around, pin it to tissue paper as mentioned above or lay it over some muslin. Easily stitch around curves by putting a removable basting stitch in the seam allowance to hold the fabric in place for the permanent stitches.

It is important that seams be finished in some way when using silk or you risk having the seams unravel which would ruin the project. Seams finished on a serger are best for delicate silk. A french seam also works well with most silks. Another option is a rolled hem made with a rolled him presser foot at the raw edge of the silk to prevent it from unraveling. This can be done using a rolled hem presser foot. Gently press as you sew, remembering to use a press cloth, to keep seams flat and tightly stitched.

Working with silk fabric with sewing machines like the Janome HD3000 may be intimidating; however, it does not have to be. Prepare the fabric correctly and set up your machine to handle this fine fabric and take your time. When handled properly to prevent shrinking, slipping, and unraveling, working with silk on Janome sewing machines can be simple and rewarding!

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