Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stability

My Anouk dress is technically finished, but I have a little tweaking to do on the yoke to make it lay right, after which I'll transfer those changes to my pattern.  In the meanwhile, I wanted to tell you all about a new-to-me product I used it its construction.

The dress is unlined except for the yoke.  I chose a very soft silk for my yoke lining.  It may be one of the reasons I was putting off actually making the dress!  Those slippery fabrics can really take the wind out of your sails, sewing wise! 

I'd heard about Sullivan's Spray Stabilizer about a year ago, and had meant to order some but never got around to it.  Early this fall, I happened to see a can on the shelf at Vogue, and snapped it up after talking to the lady at the cutting table about how to use it.  I was still a little afraid to try it though - what if it stained my fabric?  I figured with this project it didn't matter:  my lining was black, and even if it did get ruined, I had enough fabric to recut the pieces.


It really couldn't be easier:  you spray the product on your pieces until they are wet, and then leave them undisturbed until they are completely dry.  Of course, drying time will vary depending on the weather.  I cut all my pieces out the day before I started sewing and stabilized the lining pieces that day as well, so they were ready the next day.  The lady at the fabric store recommended putting something like a sheet under the pieces so you don't ruin your floor.  I used an old towel because my pieces were small, but next time I'll use a sheet so they can lay flatter.



Here are some comparison photos.  First, a 4" x 6" piece of unstabilized silk:

Soooooffffft and drapey.

 And here's me holding a stabilized piece of the yoke in the same position (but my camera was tilted):


Wow!  Can you believe that?  Here's me holding all 3 yoke pieces, which have been seamed together:


Nice!  Here's a view of one of the seams after pressing:


And here's my favorite photo:  sitting on the ironing board with one edge overhanging.  It's just suspended in space!


Using this stabilizer made working with the silk so much easier than it ever has been for me.  By the time the garment was finished and had been pressed several times, most of the stiffness had worn off and my silk was almost as soft as it was to start with.  Once the garment is washed, the remainder of the stabilizer should come out.

I have it in mind to make a dress this spring from a beautiful piece of silk that's been in my stash for over a year.  Now I'm not nearly as afraid to use it!

Have any of you ever used a fabric stabilizer like this before?

25 comments:

  1. I've heard of it but never really engaged. Now I've got to go get myself some! Thanks for encouraging :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Always happy to enable ;-)

      Delete
    2. Hey G: FYI, couldn't find your email address (I'm sure I have it somewhere) so I messaged you at Ravelry about a technical knitting challenge I'm trying to resolve. OMG, why didn't I consider that, when one changes the length of a sweater above the armscye, it impacts the corresponding length of the upper sleeve??

      Delete
  2. I bought some, but wasn't sure how to use it. Can you spray it before cutting (that's where I always get stick with slippery fabrics like challis and silk?) or only after? Do you have to iron afterwards?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose you could spray your fabric first and then cut. I do all my cutting with a small rotary cutter on a mat, because I feel I have more control that way, even with slippery fabrics. I think the downside would be that you'd use up so much more product by spraying your yardage as opposed to your pieces.

      You don't have to iron your pieces before sewing them, but I'm kind of an ironing fanatic! I like everything to be neat :-) And of course, you'll be pressing your seams 4 or so times. Right?

      Delete
  3. I've heard of spray on stabilisers, but never actually seen evidence of how they work. Definitely seems as if it's worth looking out for some for those slippery, floppy fabrics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't seen much info about it online either, which is why I wanted to post about it. I'm looking forward to using it on a complete garment!

      Delete
  4. YES! This product is magical, I just wish it didn't have such a chemically odor.

    I saw it the Colette blog a while back and when I saw it at Vogue I bought it instantly.

    After spraying it, my lining pieces dry within minutes. I never wait longer than 10 minutes before pinning and sewing my pieces together. I'll actually spray a whole section of lining before cutting, pinning or sewing so it's stable the whole time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that extra information, Liz! It's great to know it dries so quickly. I totally agree about the smell, but I guess we have to make certain sacrifices ;-)

      Delete
  5. Thanks for the review! I have a dress project coming up that I've been dreading because the fabric is a slippery silk. This will be perfect! I had forgotten about this stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is astonishing! I have a terrible prejudice against "chemicals" but that looks like such a frustration-beater!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I'm pretty sure this stuff is noxious . . . (hangs head in shame)

      Delete
  7. Wow - that's a bit like a magic trick. Next time I work with slippery fabrics I'll have to go get some. Magic indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is the first time I've heard of it, Gail.

    Looks like the answer to serveral instances

    Just might purchae this so have on hand.

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  9. That is amazing! I wonder if it is similar in concentration as hair spray? I can definitely see how that could make a huge difference. I am interested in hearing about how well it comes out in the wash.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've never used fabric stabilizer before, but it's a must now! I have some really drapey silk that I haven't tackled thus far because of it's slinky nature, so this is a perfect solution.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, that's incredible! I second Roobeedoo's comments about the chemicals and I wonder whether there's any homemade, less noxious alternative that might give a similar effect. I really have no idea, I'm just thinking out loud...it looks like such a great solution to sewing slippery fabrics. Looking forward to seeing the dress :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've used spray starch to stabilize as I've never seen this product - works as well though you have to iron it. But you could easily make your own starch to do the same thing - loads of how tos online...

      Delete
    2. I wondered if spray starch would work too. I might give that a try one of these days, although my can of spray starch says to use it only on washable fabrics.

      I checked the ingredients label, and the Sullivan's differs from starch (I think) in that the main ingredient is a polymer solution. Added to that are a couple of types of alcohol (I assume for helping it evaporate) and of course, the aerosol propellant.

      The directions also say to use it in a well-ventilated area, which I did. But if I were a person with serious health or respiratory issues, I'd probably give this product a pass.

      Delete
  12. Very neat! That's really strong stuff- I'm amazed how stiff haha! Much more drastic than that gelatin technique I posted on my blog (this is probably way more easy to work with!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember your post on the gelatin, and also remember thinking that I'm much too lazy to go to that amount of effort!

      Delete
  13. No I haven't - but i have had some glorious silk in my stash that my brother bought in India and gave to me when I got married - 12 years ago!!! Oh, I have to use it!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Neat-o! Your knowledge of sewing is endless.

    ReplyDelete