Silk quilts are relatively unusual although not totally unheard of. Silk tie quilts have been popular for many years, and silk quilts made from kimonos are also relatively popular.

Working with silk sounds very elegant – the fabric drapes really well, and it feels wonderful – yet it presents its challenges.

Silk fibers are very strong. There are some real benefits to its strength – the quilts are durable and the threads will not break easily.

Because of the strength of the fibers, silk fabric does not finger press well. To ensure flat seams, you need to press frequently while you are piecing, or pin the seam allowances in place prior to sewing.

Silk fabric may retain pinholes. Using regular size pins and needles to sew silk may result in pinholes you can’t get rid of. There are special silk pins to use for pinning. And for machine stitching, use a thinner sewing machine needle.

Silk fabric is slippery and doesn’t retain its shape. One of the things that makes silk so nice is that you can drape it, gather it, fluff it, and many other things. The problem is that when you try to sew it, the fabric slides around. Without tons of pins, the resulting piecing can be completely misshapen.

One solution is to iron a lightweight interfacing on each individual piece. One option is to iron the interfacing onto the entire piece of fabric and then cut the individual pieces from that. The interfacing adds some bulk to the seams and makes it a little more difficult to press the seam allowances to one side.

Another option is to cut the interfacing into individual shapes, without the seam allowances. Then iron the interfacing pieces onto the wrong side of the silk fabric, remembering to leave at least ½ “ between the pieces of interfacing to allow for the ¼” seam allowances. This takes extra time, and may be worth it. Your project will be less frustrating to sew and will probably be the shape you want it to be.

Silk fabric is higher priced and not as easy to find as other fabrics. Because of the cost, many fabric stores do not carry silk at all, or may have a limited selection of solid colors. Using kimonos or ties, available at some second-hand clothing stores, is an option.

Using these types of clothing for fabric presents its challenges. In addition to working around the seams and finding expanses of fabric that are large enough for your pieces, it helps to pay attention to the straight grain and cross grain of the fabric. Without selvedges, this is a little more difficult.

Final thoughts. With all of its challenges, silk makes a fabulous quilt or wall hanging. Silk quilts are unusual and highly prized. The colors of silk fabric tend to be more vibrant than cotton or wool. In addition, you can use silk batting in your quilt, and make it 100% silk.

Happy Quilting!

Penny Halgren

Penny Halgren is a quilter of more than 24 years who seeks to interest new quilters and provide them with the resources necessary to create beautiful quilts.

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©2006, Penny Halgren

Penny Halgren - EzineArticles Expert Author