A Bride Sews

Cutting Out Silk Jersey

I have always sworn blind that I would not ever, not now, no way sew someone a wedding dress. But help someone sew their own wedding outfit? Hmmmm, maybe.

A dear friend is getting married and wanted to make part of her outfit on the sewing machine handed down by her mother. Said friend has more taste in the tip of her little finger than I’ll ever have in my whole body. When I offered to help buy fabric, she gently declined, preferring to shop alone. Clever person. She had a clear vision and didn’t need my clownish tastes muddying the affair.

She hit up Soho for their silks and came home armed with two beautiful fabrics – a silk jersey and satin.

silk jersey fabric

silver satin

My task was to help cut out, providing space, equipment and moral support. The two of us set to with silk pins, paper and serrated shears – my essential trio of equipment for cutting out anything silk. For your own detailed guidance, visit here.

We were tremulous, handling such expensive fabric but both the satin and jersey behaved excellently. I avoided breathing down my friend’s neck by turning to a spot of my own sewing. Soon, she didn’t really need my help at all. The power of wedding was strong!

cutting out silk jersey ii

By the end of our session together, any fear had morphed into excitement. We had successfully cut out two very expensive fabrics. The journey towards an outfit had commenced without a single tear. Success!

Now, my friend begins to sew. This isn’t a dress, but a skirt. Can you guess which one?

silk jersey scraps

It occurred to me that there’s one last gift to share, along with my readers. Tips. How would you sew silk jersey and satin in a maxi skirt? I’ve suggested silk touch interfacing for the yoke and organza stay tape to stabilise key seams. Anything to add? Would you leave the hem raw, for example? Tips around an invisible zip?

Can you help a good woman feel beautiful on an important day? You have the expertise and kindness; all you need to do is share it.

cutting out with engagement ring

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33 Responses to A Bride Sews

  1. Charlotte says:

    It’s the Sewaholic Gabriola! Isn’t it? Great choice, and the bride seems to be up to the task (or at the very least really determined!).

  2. Fabrictragic says:

    How exciting! I just made a silk maxidress for a Frocktail event, and decided to finish the hem with a rolled edge on my overlocker! Maybe that’s sacrilege but I think it turned out lovely and delicate, and my word it was quick and easy!

  3. I was going to suggest the same thing – use the roll hem setting on the overlocker, although I often eschew the actual rolling aspect for a narrow, closely spaced stitch instead- achieved by leaving the knife down (well on my Bernette anyway). The best thread for a lovely finish is Mettler rayon thread, which comes in a lovely oyster colour. The sheen on this thread makes it look uber lush. It comes on a little cone a it like the smaller overlocking threads one gets, and should be in a decent haberdashers that caters for embroidery and quilting.
    As for general wisdom – my advice is to be present, in the moment, all day. It’s so easy to be thinking ahead, wondering if everything has been done how you planned etc, when the magic is right in that moment. Even when things don’t go to plan, it’s all fine because those things will create good stories to recount at a later date.
    On a more practical level – comfort over style if it is a matter of choice. Uncomfortable underwear or shoes have no place! No precarious hair flowers that feel like they’re going to fall out. Carry a bouquet in a relaxed way, not clutched at the waist. Secret pyjamas on your wedding day are the best!
    Lastly, let people help -they genuinely want to be involved. I was so blessed in my friends, who did really useful things like coming around to clean my house thoroughly a couple of days beforehand.

    • Oh, Mrs C. You constantly floor me with your wit and wisdom. So many great words here – thank you.

      • Just made hundreds of dresses and dealt with hundreds of brides is all 🙂 Oh, and I have to say that even in the photo it is clear to see how LUX these fabrics are, I want to purrrrr. Can I also suggest a simple seam, pressed open, with the allowances pinked? It is delicate and will not show through when pressed.
        She is lucky to have a lovely friend like you but I suspect she knows it xo

  4. almostahippy says:

    I have no advice to offer but would love to see the finished product.

  5. Emma Gibney says:

    It’s a gabriola! I made it in silk satin for my wedding last September. I merged the top two panels and sharpened the angle by 10degrees. Great choice and she may even wear it afterwards. Think clear elastic to stabilise the seams might be a good idea.

  6. Naomi says:

    The only thing I would add is using scrap pattern tissue to sew into the seams to stabilise them.
    When I made a bias cut silk CDC nightgown for a friend for a birthday gift, that was the best thing I did. It may not be relevant to this situation. Otherwise, if in doubt, hand sew!

  7. Hope you can show us the final result! Must be so special to help out with a wedding gown! xx

  8. thewallinna says:

    I would not use organza stay tape for silk jersey, because these two fabrics behave quite differently. Whenever I worked with silk jersey, I used special stay tape for knits instead.

  9. Prawn says:

    great choice – a gorgeous skirt. Definitely worth reading around on feedback around the Gabriola as you work your way through though as some people have a bit of a challenge with the waistband fitting gaping at the back (I did) – so worth being aware of these as you go along I think. I’m sure it will be stunning.

  10. Melody A. says:

    I love that you are helping your friend to make an unforgettable outfit for her wedding. On another note, last month I believe you tried not to be so self critical about your skills and style and I hope you will continue with that. I love your work and your blog and think you are a very talented seamstress and have wonderful style that fits YOU!

  11. S says:

    Beautiful fabric, photos, and a delicate, sweet post. I hope we will get to see the completed skirt and hear about what techniques and notions worked best. I also use the paper technique for cutting silk and use silk thread to sew, but have limited to nil expertise to share otherwise.

  12. A silk jersey gabriola will be ABSOLUTELY STUNNING.

  13. Well done, that looked like some tricky fabric. No advice I’m afraid, I am a bit more of a bodger! Jo x

  14. PsychicKathleen says:

    I so resonated with how well you described the anxiety felt cutting into those fabrics! Silk jersey is scary but oh so gorgeous. I’m sure it will be gorgeous when it’s done and I can’t wait to see it!

  15. I use a new needle and have used a bit of tear away embroidery stabilizer at start of seams to prevent silk being sucked down into the throat plate under needle. For silk jersey I baste with regular sewing machine and completr with serger for a finished look inside.

  16. I too am undertaking a wedding dress for a friend, and agree that the cutting was by far the most stressful part! I used stitch and tear (other stabilisers are available) for the silk chiffon seams as suggested above which helped enormously. Haven’t started the lace overcoat aspect of my make yet, still procrastinating on that under the guise of ‘working out how best to tackle this’……

  17. Charlie says:

    Such lush fabrics! I’m in the middle of making my own silk wedding dress (silk chiffon meets silk satin) and I have no tips whatsoever. So I’ll keep reading the comments to your post for very selfish reasons 🙂

  18. redsilvia says:

    Well I have no idea how to sew such wonderful fabric, but I see you’re wonderful commenting friends have great tips!

    The fluid fabrics and angled yoke are so reminiscent of Vionnet dresses (my favorite) or those gorgeous deco/nouveau dresses in Poirot and such (also my favorite). A bride with excellent taste. Many blessings to her!

  19. Emma says:

    Lovely fabrics , what a treat to create this with the bride , I agree with Mrs C I’d pink the edges and press seams open, the sheen on the fabric will exaggerate any finish once pressed. Check your needles are sharp to avoid any snagging , I would also stay stitch the seams to prevent the pieces stretching prior to construction.
    Looking forward to seeing the dress finished .

  20. Glasto63 says:

    No advice, just wanted to say that this is a beautiful post – both words & pictures. Would be fab to see at least a glimpse of the finished skirt.

  21. I’m gonna dream about silk jersey Gabriolas!!! I am curious abut the top of the outfit, don’t forget to keep us informed, please!
    You say your friend got the silk fabric in Soho. I will be visiting London during four days (wed-sun). Could you give me some advice about fabric shopping, please Karen? (Liberty is gonna be in my list!)

  22. Dorothy says:

    I’ve never sewn with silk jersey, but when I’ve sewn with delicate fabrics I like to use a straight stitch foot and straight stitch throat plate on my machine. The throat plate is available as a separate accessory if you ask your dealer. They provide much more support for the seams than the standard zig zag throatplate.

  23. Wow, I have never sewn with silk jersey but sew with silk a lot. Maybe a hand-rolled hem would be good to finish off the bottom. Quite time consuming but very luxe. You are a great friend! Xx

  24. sophie o. says:

    I have no tips to give since I’ve never sewn silk jersey but the fabric looks absolutely gorgeous – and silk satin will make a beautiful Gabriola 🙂

  25. A bit late to the party but my tip would be to finish the hem using bias tape (or even crib depending on the look you’re after) so that it’s essentially faced then slip hem by hand. Under-stitch the tape too as it gives a really crisp finish to the edge.

  26. Gail says:

    I’m loving the colour choice..not quite white is my kind of bride.

  27. Hello again, Karen! I’ve been invited to a wedding in july, and thanks to you,, I want a Gabriola in silk jersey! Now, do you think it is OK to make the top panels of the skirt in jersey? or better in a woven fabric? Was that the purpose of your friend’s satin? I am also wondering about the kind of top we can combine a skirt like this with… Thanks ahead!

  28. Pingback: Sewing A Wedding Dress | Did You Make That?

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