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Tips for sewing with delicate fabrics

How to sew with delicate fabric like lace, chiffon and organza

This guide to sewing with delicate fabrics has been written by Remnant Kings, suppliers of a huge range of dressmaking, soft furnishing fabrics and haberdashery online and in their retail stores in Scotland. 

Delicate fabrics include chiffons, charmeuse, georgette, lace and organza. Here are some useful tips on handling and sewing with lightweight and delicate fabrics.

sewing with delicate fabrics including chiffon fabric
Textured chiffon fabric

You wouldn’t use denim to make a ball gown and likewise you wouldn’t use chiffon to make a pair of jeans.  Whilst this is pretty extreme, it shows the importance of treating your fabric type the way it should be.

Delicate fabrics aren’t something to be scared of, all you need is a few handy tips and you’re all set to go. 

  • First and foremost, you need to handle them with care so as not to catch or snag the fabric. This means if you’re using scissors that are beginning to go blunt you might damage the fabric.   
  • Ensure you use sharp scissors (such as Fiskars) or even better, a rotary cutter. Using a rotary cutter will also stop the fabric from moving whilst cutting it, something that is very common in delicate fabrics due to their drape.  
Bridal pins
  • Once you’ve cut your fabric, I’d suggest using bridal pins which have a sharper point and will pierce your fabric neatly.  Alternatively, if you’d rather not use pins, Wonder Clips are great as they hold two fabrics together well without actually passing through the fabric. 
How to sew with satin fabric
Lace print silky satin
  • When it comes to machine sewing your delicate fabric, you’ll need to use a size 70/10 needle as the point on this size of needle is very fine or you can use a ‘sharps’ needle in a slightly heavier weight if necessary.  

  • To ensure that you don’t drop any stitches, you’ll need to adjust the tension on your machine and lower the feed dogs so that the fabric doesn’t run away from you.  A shorter stitch is often best on delicate fabrics.

  • Finally, when pressing seams in place, always use a press cloth so as not to damage the fabric in any way.

For other fabric handling guides please visit our techniques section.