View Full Version : Help please - using dupion silk for bridesmaids dresses

26-03-2010, 09:25 PM
Hi all,

although an experienced seamstress (ho hum), I'm embarking on a crazy project: making my 5 bridesmaids dresses between now and the 31st July!

I've found some LUSH (as we in Bristol say) dupion silk from a wholesalers and I'm wondering whether to shrink it before I start, or whether as they will be decorated and therefore dry clean only, not to bother? I'm not sure I'll get the 15metres in the washing machine and I bet if I cut it, the cut will be in the wrong place, given it will probably shrink somewhat and throw out any pattern placement planning I've done... I mainly work with cotton-based furnishing fabrics and have never used such lovely, expensive silk before!

ARGH! I'm raring to go, but stuck at almost the first hurdle! Any advice is most welcome...

Thanks xxx

27-03-2010, 07:26 AM
I'd be a scaredy cat and stick with telling them to get their dresses dry cleaned. They will be their posh frocks after all and if they were buying them from a shop I bet it would say dry clean only.

If you wash it you could loose the finish and not be able to get it back.
You could chop it up to get it into the washing machine but then if your calculations are tight you might not get the pattern pieces back on.

Best of luck with the sewing :). Silk and velvet always leave me tearing my hair out if I use my machine. I always end up hand sewing the stuff. It goes everywhere! Except where I want it to.

I'm sure the dresses will look absolutely fabulous.

27-03-2010, 08:05 AM

If I was you then I wouldn't wash it.
If it's a pure silk dupion then it will be dry clean only. If it's a polyester dupion then it won't shrink anyway.
Once you wash it you will lose the body of the fabric and it won't be the same. If you do cut it up to make it fit in the machine make sure you mark the direction of the fabric because you don't want to be making them up and find out you've cut the dresses out with the fabric running in different directions because it will notice when made up. The skirt of a dress takes up a lot of fabric so you could well find out you've cut it in the wrong place and end up wasting quite a bit.
I've made hundreds of bridesmaids dresses in the past and never once washed the fabric. ;)

Debbie x

27-03-2010, 08:17 AM
Biggest hint: use a silk needle (for silk, not made of silk!) and a thread that contains silk.

Again, I wouldn't wash the fabric.

Can't wait to see pictures!!

27-03-2010, 04:03 PM
Some great advice here, I definately would not cut the fabric or wash it.

If you do decide to wash it the handle and drape will be different so that will be something else you need to near in mind.

Great tip about using a thread containing silk, I was going to suggest the very same thing. Best of luck with your project

29-03-2010, 11:47 AM
Thank you all SO much!

I thought it best to check and this is super, it means I can get straight on it. On the advice of my sewing machine man, I have some microtex needles, and I'm about to order some thread so we're all set.

I will of course, post some pics when they're done.

Thanks xxx