How to Sew with Delicate Fabrics

Let’s explore how to sew with delicate fabrics and the different techniques used to create your piece. Many different types of fabrics exist, and each fabric requires different techniques when sewing. Canvas Etc. is dedicated to giving you all the information necessary on how to handle these fabrics. 

Delicate Fabrics

If you’re wondering how to sew with delicate fabrics, let’s start at the beginning. Fabrics considered to be “delicate” are handwoven fabrics, novelty yarn, and see-through fabrics. Because of their loose structure, these types of fabric material could face fraying, puckering, stretching, and sagging. Let’s explore how to work with delicate fabrics and ensure these problems don’t occur in your project.

7 Tips on How to Sew with Delicate Fabrics


Pick the right pattern

It’s important to choose a pattern that requires fewer seams than you would normally use on normal fabric. The more seams in your piece mean more damage caused to the fabric. Delicate fabrics are meant to be used to make loosely fitting clothes, as making tight clothes with this material will strain the seams and cause the fabric to fray.

Cut your fabric

It’s recommended to treat your fabric with a fabric stabilizer spray. This solution is meant to stiffen your fabric, which makes cutting and sewing much easier. Make sure that the cutting tools you use are very sharp, as dull shears will cause damage to your delicate fabric. You may layer tissue paper underneath the fabric to avoid slipping when using your shears to cut. It’s also recommended to stay stitch the edges of the fabric to ensure your piece doesn’t fall apart. 

Press your fabric

It’s fairly easy to damage the fibers in your delicate fabric if wrongly done. It’s important to use the right temperature and a press cloth for them to be fused correctly. 

Use a new needle and the correct thread for your project

It’s crucial to start with a sharp, new needle for every new project that includes delicate fabrics. A new needle ensures no sagging of the thread and a finer look. Make sure you carefully stitch and create a strong start. Picking the correct thread for your project is just as important as starting with a brand new needle–the two of them go hand-in-hand. Too thick of a thread and a heavy needle will cause your seams to appear bulky and leave large holes in your fabric. A needle that’s smaller than your thread will cause it to break or shred, which causes uneven tension throughout your seams.

Make sure you use the correct stitch length and avoid backstitching

It’s recommended to test different seam lengths on a piece of fabric first. If you make the seams too short, the needle will pierce the fabric and cause it to damage. Too long of seams will put a strain on the fabric in between, and cause scrunching. It’s necessary to choose the correct seam length to ensure a clean look. Avoid backstitching with delicate fabrics, as this causes the fabric to leave unsightly pulls and get sucked into your bobbin mechanism. 

Use a walking foot

Wondering how to sew with delicate fabrics? Check out this tiny but crucial tool. A walking foot helps infuse layers of fabric together equally, with very minimal effort. A walking foot prevents the weave from warping your seams, and is also a helpful tool for satin fabrics, as it stops the material from slipping around while you stitch.  A walking foot is standard on most home sewing machines, but if this is your first sewing project, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with this feature.

Implement rolled hems

The perfect way to finish a project is with tiny rolled hems. This technique doesn’t cause the edges to weigh down and it allows for shape and flow in your fabric. One of the simplest ways to achieve this look is to add a rolled hem accessory to your sewing machine. They’re available in many sizes and they create an even, narrow hem without having to press the whole length of the seam. You may also stitch your rolled hem by hand for more intricate parts of your project that can’t be achieved by a machine. 

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