Experiments with silk part 3: Sometimes experiments fail

Thursday, July 14, 2016

People keep asking me how my wedding dress is coming along, and I keep saying that I'm still practicing, but I finally got the kick in the butt that I needed to get started: I tried a technique that failed miserably.

Remember my piece of practice silk that I dyed grey? I decided to use it to make Colette's Selene skirt, which technically asks for more than a yard of 45" width fabric, but I figured I could squeeze it in to my one yard. I proved this to myself by making up a skirt with 1 yard of muslin, which fit perfectly out the box. Apparently I didn't take any pictures of the muslin, but I thought it looked pretty awesome.

This was my first Colette pattern and my one complaint is that with so many sizes I had to cut off a huge amount of paper. I'm making size 4 on a scale of 0 to 26:

Lots of sizes = lots of wasted paper
Apparently the new patterns have layers enabled in the PDF so you can at least just print the ones you need. This probably doesn't address the excess paper though as the space for the other layers is still there - perhaps *someone* needs to write a program that will re-tile pattern pieces when a specific size is selected...

Anyways, on to the experiment and its subsequent failure! Confident in the fit of my skirt, I thought I'd try temporary spray basting my silk organza underlining to my grey silk dupioni. I had such good results using washable school glue, surely something designed for temporary fabric adhesion would be even better, right? Hahah.

I laid out  my dupioni and organza on the floor and aligned the grain:

Two silks ready for basting
They weren't the same width so this was a little tricky, but I figured it'd be easier to work with the fabric if I spray-basted the whole thing and then cut out each piece, rather than cutting separately and basting. I've used 505 spray on quilts in the past with good results, so I went ahead and started spraying. My first mistake was not testing more thoroughly, because the spray came out looking like this:

Silly-string-like 505 spray
Boomer was not impressed:

Clearly your spray glue is defective
The spray adhesive was all clumpy and not particularly good at adhering things. I forged ahead and cut out the pieces, but I had to go back and put school glue around the edges anyway. Then, I serged around each piece to finish the edges. Between the non-sticky spray glue and the aggressive feed on my serger I ended up with rather bubbly underlining:

This is about as flat as it gets
The bubbliness did not magically disappear while sewing as I hoped it would. It seems as though the organza is just plain smaller than the dupioni, and try as I might, I could not convince the ease to settle down without getting a tuck at the end of a seam:
Poorly underlined silk makes for ugly sewing
The final nail in the coffin of this project is the crazy spotting that happened all over my fabric. The clumpy spray glue dripped in big chunks, leaving my skirt panels looking like my dog sneezed all over them:

Drip spots from defective spray glue
To try to get rid of these spots I soaked and scrubbed swatch in everything I could think of: laundry detergent, shampoo, dish detergent, oxiclean, straight peroxide, alcohol, and even white gas. These spots did not yield to any of these. The 505 FAQ suggested Murphy's oil soap, which seemed like it helped a little, but did not fully eliminate the spotting. Finally, I emailed the manufacturer who said to take it to a dry cleaner, and also offered to send me a replacement can (as my can is clearly defective/old - this is not typical of 505 spray, which really does work quite well for its intended purpose).

I may pick this project up again, take it to a dry cleaner, and see what I can do with the bubbly interfacing. In the meantime, I took this experience as a sign to stop delaying, stop looking for shortcuts, and get on with my wedding dress!

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