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WASHING SILK DUPIONI

 
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WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/18/2011 5:56:32 AM   
Hokie Mom

 

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I made a lovely silk dupioni dress for Baby Figgy and washed it last night. The silk shrank something awful. The buttonholes pulled out of the back, even with Fray Block on them. All the pressing in the world is not going to fix this.

That lovely rustling sound is gone-- the silk is soft.

How do you care for silk dupioni? I had read on another forum that it could be machine washed and dried. Now I wonder if I should have done that BEFORE I made the dress.

I don't have the time, energy or money to dry clean a child's dress.

Lisa in Webster NY who is not too happy right now
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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/18/2011 7:28:19 AM   
makettle

 

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Lisa everything I have read has said to wash it before using it if you plan on washing it. I have this concern over the beautiful one from Gail Doane's class. But am giving it to a friend for her dgd and they will send it to dry cleaners. I also did not wash and dry it in the machine. I have a front loader and washed it on the hand wash cycle then hung it on hangers to dry.

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/18/2011 9:10:55 AM   
DDinDFW

 

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What I've read before is that washing/drying is possible but it will definitely change the hand/feel of the fabric. And, that should be done prior to construction. If you want that "rustle" it would have to be dry-cleaned to maintain that. So sorry this turned out this way for you.

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/18/2011 11:32:28 AM   
Hokie Mom

 

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Yes, Charlotte, it was THAT dress. I have a front loader too and washed the dress on gentle in cold water, then let it hang dry. I could tell as soon as I took it out of the machine that there was a problem.

I measured the bodice lining-- it should have been 8-1/2" long x 15" wide from the neckline to the bottom edge. It was 7-1/2" long x 15" wide. I lost a full 12% on the length!! Good grief, what size is this dress now?

Even though the silk does not appear to have shrunk in width, the smocked bodice no longer fits the lining. The smocking is way too big. It is as if the 20 rows of backsmocking are not enough to hold it together. I don't know what I am going to do about that problem.

I have taken plenty of classes at MPC where we used Wet & Gone Tacky as stabilizer for machine embroidery on silk dupioni. That stuff needs to be soaked for hours to dissolve the glue.

We mark up our silk dresses with pens (blue, purple, chalk) that all need water to be removed.

If we can't use water on unwashed silk due to the shrinking or finish issues, how do we remove the stabilizers and marks?

I am beginning to think I might have to bring pre-washed silk to future classes. Or switch to Swiss voile, a lovely fabric that I like more and more every time I use it.




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Lisa in Webster NY

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/18/2011 11:40:32 AM   
ShirleyCalgary


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If you wash the silk for sure the rustle is gone - if you do not wash the silk before you create your garment DO NOT WASH it once complete for sure now it is DRY CLEAN ONLY. If that does not break your heart nothing will. All that work - regardless if you put it in a basin and agitated it with your hands and rinsed and hung to dry - it will never be the same. Go ahead and cry - you will have lots of company

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Shirley - Mom to Dickens (PuppyWuppy now known as Dicky Wicky)and Doyle (baby) and Baxter, Bella, Pistol, Cowboy, ChiChi at Rainbow Bridge
I sew on Janome 8000, 10001, 11000se, 12000, 350e, 300e, Janome 234d and Babylock Imagine

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/18/2011 1:17:09 PM   
jem


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I had a friend who had some lovely silk yardage left from her Mother's sewing room. She asked me to make her and evening dress and jacket. Then she asked me to make her wedding dress. The silk was very old and dingy. I called a textile conservator and asked what to do with it. He told me to wash it in a basin of cool water with some orvis, he said it would either revive the silk or show if it had dry rotted. My friend and I together hand washed it her kitchen sink with orvis and rinsed it and dryed it on a rack on her deck. The pink (wedding dress) and green (evening gown) did beautifully. We found that it did make the hand different, softer, and it made the dresses much softer and elegant. The green for the jacket I sprayed with a little sizing to give it some body before I cut it. I don't know that I would recommend this for just bought silk. The reason this silk was so important was, it was from her Mother's stash, and her Mother had bought it special for my friend. My friend married later in life and her Mother had been dead more than 20 years. We had maybe 15 different pieces of silk some only 5 yards, others up to 15 yards. We did have a couple of pieces that came apart. The good thing about the evening dress, someone spilled a glass of champaigne down the back. She rinsed it in the sink the way we did the first time hung it in the laundry room and it fine. All the garments were lined with a light 100% cotton fabric.

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/18/2011 3:03:54 PM   
EmilyB

 

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Lisa, I share your frustration!! How disappointing to put all that work into a garment then have it turn into a disaster. I always worry about using fabrics at SAF that will be washed but have not been pre-washed. I love it when Debbie Glenn gives you the fabric before the class so you can at least soak it the night before. I can remember one class I took, I took one look at the fabric and just knew it would shrink so did a quick test on a small piece of the fabric and declined working on that fabric in class because of the shrinking issue. For sure that dress would have been a throw-away without preshrinking.
Not sure what the solution is but bringing one's own fabric might not be a bad idea.
Del

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/18/2011 6:06:52 PM   
makettle

 

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Lisa, I think you need to bring that to the attention of MP staff. That class was full, with about 30 of us? None of us pre-washed it either. I am now concerned that dry cleaning may produce much of the same. I had planned on working on this dress later in the summer.

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/18/2011 8:27:33 PM   
Linda S.

 

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Aww Lisa, this sounds disappointing in the extreme.  I'm so sorry this happened to you.

You may have saved me from making the same mistake though, if it's any consulation.  I have a little silk dupioni romper partially cut out for a little boy and had never considered how I'm going to deal with those blue markings. 

Before I mark any more on this fabric, I think I'll switch to using  light chalk that can be brushed off. 

One can decide to pre-shrink or dry clean....but what about the markings?!  Gosh.  I hope your little outfit can be salvaged somehow : (

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/18/2011 10:25:19 PM   
mizlilly


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So sorry to read about your dress. I took some silk dupioni to the dry cleaners to have it steam pressed before cutting into it, with the intention of dry cleaning the garment afterward. One dry cleaner (I only went to them once) insisted much too vigorously that silk would not shrink when dry cleaned. I like to either pre-wash or dry clean or professionally steam press... just to be on the safe side. I've often wondered about the whole pre-treating of fabrics when taking classes.

Was the buttonhole area underlined or was interfacing used? Without one or the other I think you will have problems with the buttonholes. Silk dupioni is not a strong fabric, so it needs the extra layer/layers for strength.

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/19/2011 1:04:12 AM   
Vada43


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Oh my, I am so sorry this has happened to this garment after putting so much work into it, as my mother used to say I'll bet you could have "cried tears of blood"

I pre-wash all fabric I use. I know Dupion loses it's rustle but that's a minor issue for me, it's better than having it totally ruined by shrinkage.

Vada

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/19/2011 6:52:38 AM   
Hokie Mom

 

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The back bodice was interfaced with a lightweight fusible interfacing and was self lined. Three layers and the silk frayed so badly that the buttonholes pulled out.

I don't think the dress is salvageable. It was a size 8 and would have hung in my closet for 6+ years. I would be better off re-making the dress in a different fabric.

I'll just cut off the pearl buttons and move on. There is no point in obsessing over it. I have more important things to stress over.

Funny thing, in the same school the Baby Knit was pre-washed due to shrinkage.

I took a school with Debbie Glenn last month and SHE pre-washed, starched and ironed all the linen for the garments for all the students.

I've learned my lesson on this one. I will have to find out where the laundry is at the Embassy Suites so I can pre-wash from now on.







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Lisa in Webster NY

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/19/2011 7:28:36 AM   
makettle

 

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I am at a place that I can take my 3 or 4 rows of smocking out if need be, and put that silk in the sink now before going any further. I am wondering if perhaps this bunch of silk had some other issues going on with it. I know I didn't do much more than work on the smocking so think I might be able to save this dress. Sorry you can't Lisa.

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/19/2011 3:22:18 PM   
mizlilly


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Lisa, could you perhaps save the skirt part of the dress and re-use that portion of the silk and make something else with it? Ma, glad you are able to back up a few steps and start over again!

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/19/2011 5:29:29 PM   
ms stitchalot

 

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oh Lisa,
I hate to hear this about the dress. I had that happen with a blouse a few years ago. Wish I could have known to tell you before you washed. Luckily mine was an inexpensive silk blouse but it just shredded at the some of the seams and shrunk really badly and of course the hand of the fabric was totally different. Maybe you can at least salvage some of the fabric to use it in something else.

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/20/2011 6:57:29 AM   
Hokie Mom

 

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What I cannot understand from this whole unfortunate incident....

I have taken plenty of classes at MPC where we used Floriani Wet & Gone Tacky as the stabilizer for machine embroidery on silk dupioni. Notice that word WET?? That stuff needs to be soaked for hours to dissolve the glue. Washing silk dupioni is clearly a recommended practice. Otherwise wouldn't we have used some sort of tear away for stabilizer?

If you can't wash this stuff, you certainly can't use starch.

Dry-cleaning is a relatively new invention. Silks have been in use for thousands of years. Did no one ever wash their silk clothing?

And what about parachutes? Weren't they made from silk before the invention of synthetic nylon?

If the silk had shrunk a little bit, I wouldn't have cared. But the dress shrunk a full 5" in length!!



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Lisa in Webster NY

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/20/2011 9:14:03 AM   
sewLo

 

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I remember having to make a decision to wash or not to wash the silk dupioni when I made a flower girl dress for my dgd.  I chose not to wash that time as I wanted the sheen and the body.  Then at a later time I purchased some more silk dupioni to make a blouse for myself.  I chose to prewash that time.  It definitely changed the hand and the look of the fabric...but it was the look/hand that I wanted for that particular clothing item.  (I will confess that the blouse never got made...but the prewashed silk dupioni made wonderful pillows that I machine appliqued Christmas stockings on and gave as Christmas gifts!)  I also made the ring bearer's pillow out of the silk dupioni for the flower girl's dress yardage.  I did machine embroidered cutwork on it.  It has been ten years now...so hard to remember just how I did that...but know that it involved the original wash-away Solvy film as that is what the instructions call for to do this particular cutaway...but the solvy wasn't stuck to the fabric...so I don't think that I ever totally dampened the fabric...may have just pulled it away as the back wouldn't have shown and the satin stitches of the cutwork would have perforated the solvy making it easy to tear away. 

My rule of thumb is to treat the fabric yardage prior to cutting the way I plan to treat it after the garment is made.  If I'm going to wash the garment/item and dry it in the drier, I do that to the uncut yardage.  If I'm going to wash the garment/item and hang it to dry, I do that to the uncut yardage.  I wash the yardage in the temperature that I think that the finished item will be washed in.  I, personally, always use cold water to wash...but I know others, that I may be sewing for, don't...for example, some baby items will need to be washed in hot.  I pretty much wash everything unless it is going to be made into home dec items...curtains, pillows, etc.  I don't sew on much fabric that needs to be dry cleaned only (I'm allergic to wool)...so can't comment on what I do prior with such yardage.  I serge the cut edges of my yardage just prior to washing.  That is the way that I know the stored yardage has been prewashed...seeing the serged edges in my stash = prewashed.  I know that some just cut off the corners with a small diagonal cut to keep the fabric from fraying in the washer, but I still prefer to serge the cut edges unless it is very small yardage. 

But, I understand that this being a class made it hard to do any of that prewashing.  So sorry that this happened to you...I know that sinking feeling when something like this happens when you have put so much work into it!

< Message edited by sewLo -- 6/20/2011 9:30:33 AM >


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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/20/2011 9:43:51 AM   
Sparkle

 

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Oooooo, Lisa!!!  How AWFUL!!  My experience with silk dupioni - and I love it and don't think it's so ravely as others - is that I LIKE it washed but not dried in the dryer, it's softer and I think prettier.  Then the spray starch and blue marks don't matter, it all comes out.  HOWEVER - any of that done on silk to be dry cleaned, starch or blue pen - leaves water marks.

I made silk charmuese nightgowns for the girls one Christmas and the spray starch left water marks and the water dabs getting the blue marks out left water marks and that silk was supposed to be machine washable. Well, they washed the nighties afterwards but the water marks stayed forever.

Also, if I have to take a seam out, etc. too many times the silk will 'fracture' after too much working.  That means the fabric itself just falls apart - I imagine it would happen with too much wear too???  The same thing happens with silk floss or perle when stitching, if you have to pull out stitches too many times the fiber will just fracture or fall apart.  Despite the fact that silk is the strongest fiber in the world.

The same thing happened to us in Kari Mecca's class with that darling little jacket with ALLLLLL the handwork and the flannel (for warmth) interlining - after all that hand applique and embroidery work, the first time the jacket was washed the lining shrank up and ruined the whole thing!  And we ASKED if the flannel shouldn't be pre-washed and Kari swore up&down that it wouldn't shrink!!

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/20/2011 1:06:43 PM   
ShirleyCalgary


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In our fabric store there is a huge sign where the shelves of flannel are located - it tells you that flannel will shrink I think the sign says 7% and it tells you to make sure to buy enough - they do not tell you to prewash but surely the 7% shrinkage would clue you but maybe not for a novice sewer. Wondering what they would do just make a bigger size?
I serge the ends and wash flannel then starch and iron it until it looks as good as it was prior to the wash and only one length of fabric in the machine at a time. If the flannel is red I wash it twice the second time throwing in one of those Retayne shees.
I think that fabric should be prewashed at the source before the mill puts it on the cardboard bolts at least then we would know what we are getting.

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Shirley - Mom to Dickens (PuppyWuppy now known as Dicky Wicky)and Doyle (baby) and Baxter, Bella, Pistol, Cowboy, ChiChi at Rainbow Bridge
I sew on Janome 8000, 10001, 11000se, 12000, 350e, 300e, Janome 234d and Babylock Imagine

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RE: WASHING SILK DUPIONI - 6/20/2011 11:09:41 PM   
bobbyemc

 

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I'll be taking Gail Doane's class at SAF next month, making the smocked silk dress. In view of all the previous experiences, what do those of you who have done this class recommend we do with this silk dupioni? Use as it is given to us and plan on dry cleaning? Try to find an opportunity to wash ahead of construction........in the hotel tub? What did Gail recommend..........if anything? All recommendations appreciated.

Bobbye

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