Let me say from the outset, I am a cotton girl at heart! I've dabbled with silks for my Little Bouquet quilts, but never anything serious, or big like a quilt.
So, for those of you that may be interested in a working with dupioni silks, or you would like to create your own version of Silk Tempest, but are just a little leary - let me share what I've learned.
- Silk frays something awful (it couldn't be as gorgeous as it is, and there not be a price to pay, right?)
- To control fraying consider using a lightweight fusible interfacing - my #1 recommendation
- Use pinking shears, or a rotary cutter with a pinking blade
- Use 1/2" seam allowance, versus a 1/4" seam allowance normally used in quilting (for use without the interfacing or pinking)
- Lengthen the stitch length slightly
- Adjust your iron's temp to the silk setting
- There are special machine needles for working with silk, but I used a sharp #60 needle
- Cutting the silk into strips for the quilt seemed more like cutting thin bark, or paper than cutting fabric - it is a different animal than 100% cotton
- Be mindful of the orientation of the warp & weft when piecing your blocks
- Create each block individually as vs. usual strip piecing methods. I found the more I handled the fabric, the more it wanted to shred. Working with silk does require a little more delicate handling.
On a personal note: To create the Silk Tempest I used a 1/2" seam allowance, which worked fine, but was a little disconcerting for me - since a 1/4" is so ingrained in my mind. After I created the quilt, I experimented with multiple methods for controlling the fraying, and the best solution in my opinion is the interfacing.
- I was a little anxious about quilting on silk, but as you can see from the photo, it worked wonderfully. I used YLI 100# silk thread on the top for the quilting, and Gutermann 50# weight in the bobbin.
- Use quilting cotton for the binding, and the quilt back.
- For the batting I used Hobb's fusible batting, it worked great!
Anyone have any other silk tips to share? If so, please leave a comment so we can all learn!