Guest Author - Tamara Bostwick
Once you are ready to begin cutting, you will want to use your sharpest set of shears. Better yet, take your scissors in to be sharpened before cutting your satin out, otherwise you run the danger of snagging the fabric or causing threads to pull, marring the surface.
When you mark your pattern details such as darts or seam matching arrows, use marking chalk or an air soluble marking pen and mark only on the wrong side. Do not use water-soluble marking pens, because many satins are susceptible to water staining. Before using any marking method, whether pen or chalk, always check on a scrap of fabric first to make sure the marks will come completely out.
Again, when pinning, you want to pin only in the seam allowances, not into the visible garment areas.
Use the correct size needle for the type of satin you are using and change it frequently. If the needle is dull or has a rough spot on it, it will snag the fabric and cause pulled threads.
Use a short stitch length, 10-15 stitches per inch and hold the fabric taut as it passes through the sewing machine. This will help prevent puckers. Be aware that seams sewn on the lengthwise grain pucker more easily than those sewn on the bias.
In many cases, satin ravels easily so seams need to be finished. But, the problem is that any bulk shows through satin, so it is better to finish each side of the seam separately and the press seams open so they lay flat. Good finishing choices are: pinking, serging, and zigzag stitching the raw edges.
Use a high-quality polyester thread such as Gutermann or Mettler Metrosene thread. Higher quality threads really do make a difference in the finished product and are better for your sewing machine.
It is essential to take care when pressing satin because you need to use the correct temperature and press carefully so you do not damage the fabric. Many satins are susceptible to water staining so you will want to avoid the steam feature on your iron. Press on the wrong side of the fabric when possible. If it is absolutely necessary to press on the right side, use a pressing sheet to prevent glazing. Press up and down rather than from side to side. When pressing seams, put paper under the seams to prevent pressing a line into right side of the garment.
Most satin fabrics need to be dry-cleaned, so when purchasing your satin, look at the care label on the bolt and select your fabric accordingly. If you will be making a garment that will be worn frequently such as a blouse or lingerie, you will want to pay a little extra money for a washable satin. On the other hand, when making a formal gown that may only be worn a few times, dry clean only fabric is fine.
I hope you find this article helpful in your sewing journey!