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Forum > Sewing Techniques and Tips > HELP! Seam Puckering, Silk/satin fabrics ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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HELP! Seam Puckering, Silk/satin fabrics
Satin, Seam Puckering
songstress
songstress
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Washington USA
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Date: 10/22/07 12:49 PM

Hi everyone!
I am making a dress out of...I think Satin...it is probably a synthetic satin but it is shinny, medium weight with glitter on the top of the fabric. After sewing all the seams I noticed a very unsightly problem...all the seams have a slight puckering to it that I feel is very noticeable on the outside...the seams look wavy on the right side of the fabric. This is usually why I don't sew with this type of fabric but it is for a friend and she really wanted the dress out of this fabric. HELP! I really really really don't want to have to re-sew all the seams...is there any way to fix it without having to re-sew everything? I tried ironing the wrong side of the fabric and it made it a little better but there is still a wavy look to the seams. Please please help! Any suggestion would really help!

Thanks!!!!

Elona
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In reply to songstress


Date: 10/22/07 2:41 PM

This can be a real cosmetic problem with satiny fabrics. Sandra Betzina suggests a couple of approaches, but both take place before cutting the fabric.

One is to cut the pattern with the grain going crosswise. She says that's often surprisingly effective.

The second is to cut the fabric on the bias.

However, since your garment is already cut out, here are several things you can prototype with scraps of your fabric. I'd recommend trying them all.

Try several different sizes of skinny needle, and I'd recommend a type called a "sharp," For satins, little sharps generally work better than universals.

Try stitching the seams with the slightest zigzag--not a real zigzag, but not a straight line of stitches, either. Fiddle with the stitch length, too; you might want to use more stitches per inch.

Last, sometimes switching to finer thread, like machine embroidery thread, will make a difference.

As I say, experiment, experiment, experiment.

.

clt3
clt3
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Date: 10/22/07 5:41 PM

I had exactly the same problem with a crepe back satin. I was advised to use a microtex needle. I bought them, but haven't tried them out yet.

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Singer 66-16. Singer 600e, Kenmore 158.1913 , Viking 1100, Brother 4000D, Brother Quattro traded for Brother PR1000!, Bernina 930, Bernina 1130, White 634DE gave away to a friend,
Babylock Evolve, 2 Featherweights ,Pfaff Creative Performance,Janome Coverpro 1000CPX






Sew_Creative
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In reply to songstress


Date: 10/22/07 7:18 PM

Hey songstess
I have been able to tame those stitch lines by using twill tape or a strip of light to med weight interfacing will get control of the problem you may want to take out what you have already done and start over, or just stitch closely to what you have already stitch anyway I do agree with the other ladies you will want to change to a lightweight needle maybe a size 70 but you can use ball point or sharp either will work, good luck and I hope this helps. Debbie
Just wanted to add that you will want to be careful not to pull the fabric when sewing just let it kind of glide thru have it pinned so it won't shift on you and if you have a walking foot attachment that too would help. ok I'm finished.
-- Edited on 10/22/07 7:24 PM --

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Stash as of 1/1/08 estimated 400 yds
Yardage sewn in 2008 8yds
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In reply to clt3


Date: 10/22/07 8:12 PM

A taut sewing technique combined with a microtex needle has worked perfectly for me on these types of fabrics.

annsew65
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Date: 10/23/07 3:39 AM

Part of the problem can be the type of thread you are using. Polyester thread is known for its tendency to stretch while sewing, then relaxing and puckering the seam. I'd recommend a light weight cotton thread such as the finer Mettler cotton thread. I had never thought of using it until I watched one of those Sandra Betzina sewing programs and she was talking about problems stitching finer fabrics such as thinner silk/poly fabrics and this was her recommendation. It really has helped me. Of course, you might have difficulty finding this thread in a local sewing store, but I keep a few colors such as black, white, beige, etc., just in case. I order from Uncommon Thread. They have very good service!NAYY - just a satisfied customer.

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greco
greco
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Alabama USA
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Date: 10/23/07 7:40 AM

all of the above are good suggestions to try to resolve the problem, especially the small zigzag stitch which on my machine is refered to as a stretch stitch. Another common cause to that problem in all fabrics is when the thread on the bobbin is wound too tight. Sometimes, especially when you use a polyester thread or a higher poly blend, the thread will stretch and then relax as mentioned before. Try using a cotton or cotton silk blend and then while winding your bobbin, do so at a slow speed. This should allow for a breathing of the thread and a more true release when sewing.
Also a smaller stitch very close to the already existing seam may be all you need. Try that in a less conspicuous area to see if it will work without having to rip out. Good luck. JF

SewVeryTall
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Date: 10/23/07 8:42 AM

Since you really don't want to take out and resew your seams, this is what I would try first...

I know you said you pressed your seams on the wrong side, but I wonder if you pressed them enough. First, if your fabric is polyester, you probably set your iron at a rather low temp. Raise the iron's temp [using steam] and try it on a fabric scrap. You'll probably be able to raise the temp by at least a couple notches. Do test it on a scrap, everytime you raise the heat.

Then press each seam in 3 steps. Press it as sewn on one side. Flip it over and press the other side, as sewn. Then open the seam and press it open.

You can even use a hotter iron, if you use a press cloth between your iron and the fabric. You can also press the open seam on the RS, using a press cloth [if you don't have a press cloth, a piece of cotton or a hankerchief will work].

Also, as you do these pressings, you can grab the other end of the seam and stretch it a bit as you run the iron down the seamline.

I know we are all perfectionists when it comes to this sort of thing, but really, your average non-sewer wouldn't even notice these little puckers on a seam, or they just think it's the nature of the fabric. Your friend will probably see the dress and love it.

HTH :)

------
Ardis

the lefthanded daughter of a lefthanded mother

Everyday Sewist
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Date: 10/23/07 9:46 AM

I've had this problem and someone here on PR suggested using a microtex needle and Mettler silk-finish cotton thread. It worked.

Having said that, I agree with Sew Very Tall. I recently paid about $200 for a bridesmaid's dress and the first thing I noticed about it was the puckered seams. As long as they aren't puckered in the bust area where they would be highlighted, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

And I also almost always use higher settings for synthetics. As already mentioned by SWT, use a press cloth and steam. I would press from the wrong side of the fabric if possible.

Mainah
Mainah
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Maine USA
Member since 10/21/07
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In reply to Everyday Sewist


Date: 10/24/07 9:10 PM

I'm guessing then that I could use the same attempts when sewing the polyester silk that I just bought at Joann's. Special needle and cotton thread? the pattern does call for the skirt to be cut on the bias. I just bought it and haven't done a thing to it yet. Should I treat this fabric like polyester, or like silk?

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