Monday, July 18, 2011

Dupioni Silk, Part 1

I love sewing with dupioni silk. It sews up easily because it's not as slick as many silks tend to be. And it's just plain nice to touch and handle.

I've washed every dupioni I've worked with. This accomplishes a couple of things--it eliminates the chance of water spotting when sewing or wearing the the garment, and it results in a more "quiet" sheen while still retaining the shimmer of the fiber. IMO, it also provides a more luxurious hand--the texture of unwashed dupioni can be a bit crispy while the washed has more drape.

Of course, you can always have a surprise when washing it. Remember the color shift I experienced when washing these?

The pale chartreuse piece on the right became orange-gold. I'd rather have this happen before making and wearing the garment instead of after!

I wash and dry my yardage by machine after serging the raw edges to prevent fraying. I have a front loader, but other than that, I really don't baby it much. Normal cycle, cold water (I wash almost everything with cold), liquid Tide, Downy Free. And a Color Catcher to pick up any loose dye molecules in the water. Once washed, I throw it in the dryer, normal cycle. I press the yardage after it's dry to smooth it out, then it's ready for cutting.


Peggy's Closet said...

I've never sewn Dupioni silk, but I am tempted to give it a try! I love that you wash and dry it, and the changes in coloration, while probably frustrating, are quite lovely.

Pam~Off The Cuff ~ said...

Hi Nancy... I am looking forward to your series of posts about this subject!

I wash the living "heck" out of all the dupionni I use both for my custom shirts, and garments for me too...I love what water does to silk!

Here's the method I've used for over 10 years...
"Distressing" Silk Dupionni ...surely not the only way, just another way :)

NancyDaQ said...

Pam, thanks for providing the link to your method! Although I'm a little bit gentler with my dupioni, I wholeheartedly believe that silk will stand up to harsher treatment than most people think.

Sharon said...

Shhhh, don't tell but I wash my silks too. I just washed (delicate cycle) a silk jersey knit and it was just fine. I know I won't get around to actually bringing my stuff to the dry cleaners so I usually see if I can wash it at home first. I haven't had the colors change yet though! Interesting