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Thread: How do you treat silk?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rosie the "Ripper"'s Avatar
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    A friend is in Laos for a month and offered to bring back some silk fabrics for me to quilt with. I am far from being a "seasoned" quilter. I have no idea what to do with it when it arrives. Does anyone have any suggestions as how to handle the fabric because I am quite sure that it will have its own specific set of problems. Also, what kind of pattern would you suggest? I know there are some great ideas out there from this wonderful quilting board that I have had the opportunity to interact with. Thanks so much ahead of time.

  2. #2
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    I will be watching this thread as I have some silk stashed in the cupboard not knowing how to handle it. Patterns would be nice.

  3. #3
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Silk comes in several different types of weaves and each has its own characteristics. Some are slippery and some are ravely. But they all need to be ironed on the silk setting.

  4. #4
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    There is a quilt book with a title somewhat like
    "On the Silk Road" that gives all kind of information about quilting with silk. You might search for it. Not sure I can find my copy to give you the title etc.

  5. #5
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    i typed in "quilting with silk" and found what looks like a good video on using silk in quilting.

  6. #6
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    You lucky girl!!!

    What scissor queen said ... a lot will depend on the type of silk. Some (Chiffon, Crepe de Chine, Charmuese for example) is very fine with gorgeous drape and hand but difficult to put through a machine (it slides around). Dupioni is usually nubbed, a little thicker. I've got some silk at home that is ribbed like coruroy that you woudn't guess was silk.

    I've never tried it, but I have a friend who works with Chiffons a lot - for garments not quilts. She places masking tape over the seams to lend some "body" to the cloth and it is then easier to machine. As I said though, she's making garments - much larger and far fewer peieces to handle. So not sure if this is a viable option. Paper piecing might be viable but you still need to take care not to pull the fabric in any direction as silk has a lot more give even on the warp and weft.

    So I would say wait till you see what she presents you with!! And have fun!!

    And if you decide that you absolutely HATE it and must leave your sight immediately ... I'll foward my address :)

  7. #7
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    There is silk used for blouses which is very light weight. Dress weight silk is a heavier weave, it can be thin and flowing or firmer like the duponi silks. Your pattern for the quilt will depend largely on the type of silk you get. For the very thin and flowing silks, you can use a lightweight backing fabric for support. However, for that, use a familiar pattern. Thin silks do not withstand a lot of stress and ripping out stitches can destroy the delicate surface. I would suggest larger pieces in your pattern. Thin silk is very easy to get off grain. But it can be made into a beautiful quilt.

  8. #8
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    I would write your friend and make some suggestions about the type of silk you want and can work with and not take a chance it would be unusuable.
    You can at least give some suggestions on weight of fabric - such as "about the weight and feel of a man's shirt" and not the thin chiffon type. Most likely what will be found is the heavir more brocade silk from the area. But help your friend in the selection at least of the type.

  9. #9
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    I would get what they call raw silk it's not as slippery. You can wash silk on very gental cycle and line dry

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