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Need tips on sewing satin

MidMoMom's picture

Hi, I'm a newbie!  My daughter talked me into sewing her prom dress and we've purchased fabric and pattern.  It is baroque satin (100% polyester) and I'm concerned about the fraying.  A friend told me to use Fray-Check around the cut pieces, but won't that be scratchy and stiff?  Any other suggestions?  Also, I was wondering if I press the seams open just like the pattern says, or is there special care needed here too?  I have pattern weights and know not to pin through the satin.  Any other suggestions I might need to know?  Thanks.

LindaS's picture

(post #24469, reply #1 of 5)

Hi-I haven't sewn with satin in quite sometime but how I finished the seams on my daughters First Communion Dress is that I established the correct fit first.  Then I reinforced the stitiching where I thought stress would occur.  Afterwards, I trimmed the seam allowances to about 1/4" to the seam.  I then overcast the seam allowance to prevent fraying.  A serger would perform the same fuction but I don't have one of those.  As far as pressing is concerned, I used a press cloth on the wrong side of the fabric, careful to lift the seam allowances so as not to imprint them onto the fabric.  I'm not a professional sewer but this worked for me.  Perhaps a professional sewer could be of more help.  Good luck!  Satin isn't the easiest to work with but it sews up beautifully!

MidMoMom's picture

(post #24469, reply #2 of 5)

Thanx... I don't have a serger, but my machine does have the overlock so that might be a good idea, even if it does seem to use lots of thread and is a little more time consuming.  I'm excited about this project, even though I'm kinda rusty.  My old machine was a nightmare (wouldn't hold tension, bobbin jammed all the time) so I kinda quit sewing.  But now I'm back, with a new basic Viking machine that I think I'm gonna love.....  Thanx again.  I'll try to post back when the project is completed... I've got about a month.

Crafty_Manx's picture

(post #24469, reply #3 of 5)

When I made my high school prom dress I serged the edges of the cut pieces of satin before sewing together.  When I pressed my seams open I used plenty of padding under the garment (between the garment and the ironing board) and a press cloth...this helped avoid having a "ridge" show through on the right side.


Another method that I read about (I forget where) was to sew your 5/8 inch seam allowances.  Press the seam open and fold each side of the S/A in half, tucking the raw under and butting it up next to the seam.  Press again and topstitch on the right side, 1/4 inch on either side of the original seam.  If this is a look that you might like, this method would help cut down on fray.


Something else that helped with that dress (as it was floor length) was a 4-foot barstool from our kitchen; it had a level top that I could stand on without having to worry about falling, and my mom could then sit in a chair to help adjust my hem, instead of kneeling on the floor (this really saves the knees!).


~Cat

nanapamela's picture

(post #24469, reply #4 of 5)

I like to "underline" the satin.  This is just cutting out a carbon copy of each piece out of a different fabric and treating two layers as one.   This will help keep wrinkles down as well as reinforce the seams and prevent "press-through".   I did a wedding dress of white satin, underlined with batiste and lined in batiste.   She wore it on the hottest day and it still looked fresh.  the nice thing about the underlining is that it gives a less expensive satin the body of a more expensive version!  Janie

reddragonfly's picture

(post #24469, reply #5 of 5)

     I agree with the idea of underlining and I would line it as well.  All the prom dresses I've sewn have been treated this way and I've never had any unmanageable amount of fraying.  The fray check does sound scrathcy and stiff.  I would use it for small spots that you think might cause the most trouble, like points.  Just handle the pattern pieces carefully.