If you really want to buy a 100% Silk fabric but you are not sure about the fabric you want to buy in a store or on a market, here some help to recognize it.
Do a Touch test.
This is a quick spot test that one can do especially before buying a silk fabric. The idea is to rub the silk with your hands. If you feel warmth on rubbing it, go buy it! It’s real. With artificial or synthetic silk, it is impossible to experience warmth on rubbing. One more thing, real silk sounds like walking on fresh snow. It crisps. Think about crisping a piece of tin paper. Aluminum foil; now you know.
Perform a Ring Test.
If the silk that you are planning to buy is not very heavy, this test is perfect! Genuine silk can be easily threaded and pulled through a wedding ring because silk is naturally flexible and smooth. On the other hand, artificial silks would scrunch up and would be impossible to pull through.
Consider the price.
Of course, real silk is almost ten times costlier than the synthetic ones. Sometimes the synthetic silk is priced much higher and looks like silk to an untrained eye but mostly low price is a very good indication of its poor quality. The reason you should know the secrets to recognize a real Silk. It happens to us more than once. You think you buy a real Silk, but it isn't....
The Lustre of the material.
Silk is especially known for its lustre. The lustre is usually because of the combination of threads which gives a particular sheen to the material. The colour on the surface appears to change as the angle of the light changes. Artificial silks, however, gives a white sheen no matter what the angle of light falling on it.
Look at the Weave.
Hand woven silk boasts of uniqueness. There are minor variations in the evenness of the texture which is quite noticeable. But fret not! These are natural and expected. These imperfections are what lend distinction to the product. Machine woven silks look perfect. They are flawlessly even in texture and hence… lacks character! Synthetic fibers look perfect too even though sometimes slight imperfections are deliberately included so that they could pass off as real silk.
Note that Dupion silk looks a bit "messy". But that is correct. Look at Dupion characteristics to understand the difference.
Perform a Burn Test, if possible...
This is perhaps the best and most definitive test to find genuine silk. You can take a few threads from the material and burn it with a flame. Genuine silk burns with smell of burnt hair. When you burn the edge of real silk fabric, the flame is invisible and it will stop burning as soon as the flame is removed. The ash produced hence, is black, crispy and brittle. It turns to powder when twisted in fingers.With the artificial silk, it is quite the opposite. When synthetic silk is burnt, there is a flame and smell of plastic. No ash is produced. Needless to say, you might need to exercise caution with this step. You don’t want to end up setting fire to the silk shop or a marketplace.
If you really need to know, consider a Chemical Test. If you have a lab with necessary chemicals on the standby, ready for some experimentation, what’s stopping you? Or maybe you know a chemical student who wants to do the test for you ? For starters, you need: Mix all the below and dip a small piece of silk that you want to test into the solution. Real silk dissolves in a few minutes while artificial silk would not dissolve.
Remember that Old is Gold.
The older the silk gets, the more beautiful it becomes. With the fake silk, it is quite the opposite. The fake silk tends to fade with time. But again, it is a better idea to buy a genuine silk rather than end up with a fake one.Now that you are armed with some really good tips for the next silk shopping spree, sleep easy. You are going to get the silk fabric you so rightly deserve.
There are many different types of sewing patterns, which can lead to confusion. We have listed a number of important points for you. Our points are not an assessment, but general things to look out for when you start to work with a pattern.
Every seamstress has sometimes made the classic mistakes: she did not cut enough seam allowance cut, she made a wrong choice in terms of sizes or not reading the instructions of a pattern.
To avoid stress and a waste of fabrics; read the list well before you start to cut and sew.
Vogue sewing patterns:
Vogue sewing patterns are one of the most expensive sewing patterns because they are designed by many great couture designers, they are exclusive and they are always fashionable of timeless.
Vogue patterns are also available on the second-hand market. Many vintage patterns are worth a lot and collector's items are worth even more.
Vogue brings couture from the New York runways and they are truly in a class by themselves
If you're into vintage clothing, you will love the Vintage Vogue patterns, with styles that echo the exquisite wardrobes of movie stars from the 1930s and 1940s, including fabulous hats and accessories.
Very Easy Vogue patterns are great for beginners.
Vogue designers names like:
Vogue divides her patterns into the following collections:
Vogue comes every season with a new collection that they present through a lookbook. You can also buy a subscription on their magazine to be informed about the latest sewing patterns available.
Vogue patterns important details:
- seam allowance included
- great instructions
- great Vintage collections
- collector's items !
Almost needless to mention: we especially recommend the Claire Schaeffer collections as they are specialized couture classics and a very good choice if you want to sew a Chanel Inspired jacket !
Marfy sewing patterns:
Marfy sewing patterns are high-fashion, sophisticated home sewing experience for expert-level sewers. There are no instructions included !
The patterns are pre-cut and single-sized. This means you really have to be sure about your size ! Italian sizes are completly different from European and US sizes. Be careful about yur choice about sizes ! All sizing is European and all measurements are in centimeters. See the special Marfy Body Measurement Chart on each design page to calculate your size.
Pre-cut on very good paper. You are able to use the patterns for years.
Fabric requirements are only estimates and are for your chosen size only. You need to calculate the amount of fabric required. Contrast and trims are not calculated. Seam-allowence is not included.
No instructions about lining or cutting the lining fabrics !
Conclusion: Marfy patterns are collector's item but only designed for advanced seamstress.
Burda sewing patterns:
Burda is a German company which is creating the magazine and sewing patterns since 1949. Two collections a year, a nice little catalogue available in stores and online.
Burda patterns are for sale in a little envelop; on the backside alle information about requirements (fabric, lining, notions), the sizes and sewing level.
Categories: normal patterns, plus-sizes patterns, young patterns, easy-level patterns and carneval, costumes and cos-play patterns.
- seam-allowence NOT included.
- instructions included but not easy to follow.
- Burda magazines offers workshops and details about the patterns.
- not expensive patterns.
Neue Mode sewing patterns:
Neue Mode has a great website with lots of categories. Good services and nice testimonials.
European sewing patterns originally. Great gorgeous patterns classics and casual.
Sewing patterns for women, men and children.
- seam allowance NOT included
- great instructions included
- good fit
Kwik Sew sewing patterns:
Kwik Sew: as the name already shows: quick, easy to sew sewingprojects especially designed for knits, stretch fabrics and fleeces, though many designs are perfect for woven fabrics.
Kwik Sew patterns are far easier to work with than most because they are printed on white paper that is much sturdier than standard tissue pattern paper, with size lines in different colors.
Kwik Start patterns are ideal teaching patterns if you are new to sewing, and can even be used by children who want to learn to sew.
- detailed instructions
- seam allowance included
- good over-view
- serger-friendly patterns
- great for beginner levels
New Look sewing patterns:
NEW LOOK Patterns, designed in the UK are fashionable, trendy and very modern.On the patterns are always more varieties of the pattern and good examples to be creative with the pattern.
Some patterns includes skirts, trousers, top and a jacket as well. A whole wardrobe to sew !
Modern look of the pattern, great drawings or pictures.
- seam allowance included.
- good instructions
- all sewing levels
- not expensive and worth the money because of all possible varieties !
Same as New Look: fashionable, trendy and always the latest street fashion looks.
A lot of categories: women, or children, fun accessories like hats and scarves, home decor such as slipcovers or custom window blinds, or cute crafts and doll clothes.
Even uniforms, apronś, home collection and dog wear's.
Some beautiful designers collections as well:
McCalls Laura Ashley collection (exclusive patterns for girls and women's dresses, infant clothing, hand bags and crib accessories), A lot of other designers as well!
Easy Stitch N Save McCalls patterns are for beginners or fresh newbies. These patterns come with several sizes printed on one sheet and include design variations that make even simple projects look terrific.
- great website, lots of choices
- seam allowance included
- many sizes; some patterns even adjustments possible
- many varieties of the pattern
We especially love The Archives Collections, which offers beautiful fifties dresses and timeless classic like coats and skirts.
Simplicity is THE sewing pattern company since 1927. A lot of Vintage patterns are worth a lot !
Simplicity patterns are now over 1600 !
Wardrobes, bags, homewear, uni-wear, menwear, cos-play (your teenagers will love them!) handbags, designers wear, all categories are available.
We especially love their Amazing Fit patterns.
For real beginners: the Simplicity Sewing Patterns for Dummies collection. We would not like to call seamstress "dummies" but of course everybody needs to start some where....
- seam allowance included
- many varities
- a few choices if you like to make the Chanel Inspired jacket.
Butterick sewing patterns:
Butterick makes patterns since 1863.
Butterick patterns are modern, fashionable, classics and fit perfectly. Butterick also specialized in patterns for modern, sophisticated suits and separates that are perfect for the office, or indulge in patterns for beautiful casual dresses and fun skirts and tops.
Beginners levels: Butterick Yes! It's Easy See & Sew patterns.
We especially love the Lifestyle Wardrobe's collection !
A good choice for the Chanel Inspired Couture collection:
The Couture Skirt: Butterick B 5466 and the jacket: Butterick B6382
There is a lot of difference between sewing patterns from different brands. This isn't just price (Vogue's sewing patterns are the most expensive, Burda's are the cheapest). But the difference is also in the target group. Some brands focus on timeless fashion, others on easy sewing patterns and others specialize in Cosplay, Fantasy, carnival or workwear.
When you are buying a sewing pattern, make sure that the seam allowance differs. Some sewing patterns require 1 cm. or 1.5 cm. cut extra fabric, with other sewing patterns the seam allowance is already inserted or included in the pattern pieces.
Also take a look at the Internet to see if you can find reviews about the sewing pattern and maybe tutorials.
Good luck making something beautiful!