Thursday, October 10, 2013

The trouble with lurex aka sewing with slippery fabrics

Hello there all you lovely people! Its been a very busy week for myself. Working late, crafting up engagement presents and trying to make a dress for this weekend which is taking way longer then normal.

Why is this you may ask? Well the fabric I chose for this task, while lovely and very nice for going out, is having a small fight with my machine. They just don't want to hang out with each other, so I've have to bring in a mediator

The fabric I chose is a stretchy knit gold Lurex. It has a really lovely drape and because its knitted, I can cut the hem in any shape as I please and it wont unravel and fray all over the place. 

But the downside is that my machine has trouble picking up and carrying the fabric through the feed dog. It bunches, it skips stitches and generally makes sewing a dress a lot more stressful than normal

To help the machine and the fabric get along, I simply take a piece of grease proof paper and layer it over the fabric. In the below image you can see that the top layer is normal lining fabric and underneath is the paper. 





I use grease proof paper (baking parchment) as it is a pretty handy tool to have in the sewing kit. Its basically the stuff the they wrap your sandwich in or that you can steam fish with. In the major supermarkets here it costs about 60c for 30 meters. I also use it as pattern paper when I'm tracing off vintage or printed patterns. Its really handy to have! You can of course use tissue paper or Swedish tracing paper - which ever you have on hand 

It should feed through the machine easily and as it does, the needle will perforate the paper, which also makes it easier to tear away at the end. Sometimes you may need tweezers to get at the little bits that get stuck.


On the armscye I ironed on the lightest fusible interfacing I had in a thin strip. Trying to ease in a sleeve is hard enough without there being a layer of paper in the way and the interfacing worked quite well to stop the skipping


And here she is so far! I am yet to add a collar and the sleeves have been done since I took this photo.

The knit fabric allows for the scalloped edges at the bottom to hang free as they wont unravel and because I wouldn't want to add extra weight to the bottom as it will only make it sag more then anticipated. Be sure the allow hanging time when making knit/jersey garments as the final hem may stretch out! On this dress it added an extra 10cm more then I started with! 

So in summary some basic tips for slippery fabrics:

* Use a jersey needle in your machine
* Layer with baking paper to assist the machine in "gripping" the fabric
* Use fusible interfacing or stay tape to stabilise the knit seams
* Hand sew parts that you are concerned with messing up with the machine
* Be patient and don't try to rush yourself or the machine. You'll only end up sitting there in hot mess with your garment all in a bunch
* A tip from Juxtapose - use a small zig zag stitch rather than a straight stitch. This will help prevent seams from popping when the garment stretches

Do you have any other tips for sewing with slippery fabrics or other sewing uses for baking paper?

Cat xo

20 comments:

  1. That is soooo smart. Thank you for the ! ! This is gonna be so useful when I sew my Star Trek dress X.X

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  2. One tip for sewing stretch fabric - use a small zig zag stitch rather than a straight stitch. This will help prevent seams from popping when the garment stretches.
    Love your blog, BTW!

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    1. thanks! ive edited the list with your tip! xo

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  3. Excellent trick Cat ! How many times i had hassles with sliperry fabric !
    Can't wait to see your golden dress !

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    1. thank you! this idea also works with oilcloth ;)

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  4. So impressive, exciting golden dress. I love the scalloped hem too

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  5. What a great idea, I was almost driven mad sewing that acetate trouser suit recently! I bet the inner bags from breakfast cereal would be worth holding on to and using for the same purpose.
    The metallic dress you made is gorgeous! x

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    1. oh yeah! they could be really handy too! Very smart Vix. I always look at the price for the swedish tracing paper and wonder who buys that! its so expensive. but it is PROPER paper and doesn't fade and so on.

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  6. This is a great idea, I've been meaning to get some baking paper to trace patterns with and hadn't thought of sewing with it. Your dress looks great so far, I love the hem! x

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    1. thanks! i find the baking paper so handy to have. just remember to pop in in your trolley when you go grocery shopping next :)

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  7. This is a great post. I'll keep that in mind for my next project, which happens to involve slippery fabric. Thanks for all this useful information!

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  8. Use a zipper foot. It reduces the aperture of the needle hole and prevents the fabric from trampolining the needle and putting it out of step with the bobbin thread. I've found both invisible and regular zipper feet do this pretty well (for cases where changing the thread tension and using different needles has had no effect). I'll keep your paper thing in mind as well (I've found multi-ply tissues to work well this way sometimes).

    Just found your blog today and I'm enjoying delving into your archives. I'll see you around.

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    1. oh thats a good tip! I have never thought that the zipper foot could be used for anything but zippers

      Glad you enjoying the blog! ill take a look at yours too

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  9. O, a whole wealth of helpful information in this post, and through the comments!
    Most excellent! XXX

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  10. Ah, slippery fabrics! An easy way to tame the beast is to invest in a walking foot. It has an upper feed dog mechanism that meshes with the lower feed dogs to make sewing any fabric incredibly easy! I keep it on my machine for everything - cotton, lycra, silk, chiffon, even leather applique. Try it!

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