Tips for Sewing with Satin

Satin is a beautiful, drapey fabric often used for formal wear. But it can be difficult to sew with because it is slippery and delicate. There are a few sewing satin tips to help you complete your sewing project with ease.

Sewing with Satin - Tops

First Tip for Sewing with Satin: Storing

Store satin rolled up to avoid getting creases that need to be ironed out later. This is one of my favorite sewing satin tips because it’s really best to avoid ironing satin unless it is completely necessary. The heat from the iron can cause the fabric to glaze.

Cutting, Aligning & Marking

Use very sharp scissors. In fact, get your scissors sharpened before beginning a sewing project involving satin. Sharp scissors will prevent fraying edges and pulled threads that will ruin the look of your fabric.

Consider cutting your pattern pieces on the bias. This will alleviate some of the fraying issues that comes with sewing satin. However, be sure to give the fabric a rest before sewing to ensure that the fabric is not stretched out (which will result in fit issues later).

When laying out pattern pieces, whether on the bias or not, take care to have all of the pieces going the same way. Satin has a bit of a shine to it and the nap will be noticeable if the pieces are cut going in a different direction.

When marking pattern details like darts and arrows, use tailor’s chalk or an air-soluble pen. Satin is susceptible to water staining so you don’t want to mark with anything that requires water to remove. Always mark on the wrong side of your fabric and test on a scrap piece first.

Only pin in the seam allowance area to avoid holes in the actual garment.

Sewing & Pressing

Use a new, appropriately-sized sewing machine needle and good quality thread. Use a short stitch length and hold the fabric taut as you feed it through the machine. This will help prevent seam puckering. Cutting pattern pieces on the bias will also help with puckering.

It’s worth the time to hand-baste seams together, especially curved ones. Satin is very slippery and basting will keep everything where it needs to be while you feed it through the machine.

Be especially careful when pressing the garment. Avoid using the seam feature on your iron to prevent water staining. Always press from the wrong side. If you do need to press on the right side, use a pressing cloth. It’s also a good idea to place paper under seams when pressing them open to avoid creases on the right side of the fabric.


Finishing your seams is a must because satin frays so easily. Pinking, serging and zig-zag stitching are all good options because they are lightweight and won’t show through on the right side of the garment.

Satin and seam-rippers do not get along. Ripping out a seam on satin is likely to cause holes. If you are unsure of the construction or fit of the garment you are making, it’s best to make a muslin first.

Consider underlining the garment. This will reduce strain on the seams and give a smoother appearance when worn.

Sewing satin is certainly trickier than sewing less delicate fabrics, but with a little patience you’ll be just as pleased with the results. Let me know in the comments if you have any other sewing satin tips.

For more tips on sewing with tricky fabrics check out Linda Lee’s Craftsy class Sewing with Silks or explore how to sew lingerie, and tips for sewing with oil cloth, vinyl, and laminated cotton.

Be sure to come back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow for a great free sewing pattern!

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Do I cut satin Bodice pieces on the cross grain? I heard this prevents puckering.? The 1st muslin I made I cut the pieces on the straight grain…..I got .Puckered and distorted fabric
the 2nd muslin I did I cut out on the cross grain….No puckers and the bodice lays smoothly……help! will cutting it on the cross make the bodice droopy? or what…I also interlined each piece with organza


Another good tip is When cutting out a pattern using Satin, cut out one layer at a time. Takes longer but will not slip. Also put a cotton sheet over the top of your cutting board, so fabric will not slip, taking care not to cut the sheet….duh!


i usually use thumb pins to hold the edges of each fabric on the cutting board as i layer them. To the best of knowledge this has helped. Probably you could give it a try


I have a ton of satin fabric sent to me by my sister, shes in the Philippines and I don’t know what to do with them. This type of fabric is really challenging so thanks for all these tips, very helpful.


I made satin pillowcases for Christmas gifts. The more you handle satin, the more it frays. I used french seams to avoid raw edges.


My next project is satin. So this is timely.

Thank you for the reminders!

Mirian BarnwellCharles Morris

It’s really a nice and useful piece of info. I am happy that you just shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.


Where can I get info on needle sizes appropriate for satin & where can you get scissors sharpened?


I know this may seem like a very simple question, but I don’t sew much at all, and have never worked with satin. How can I tell where the bias is? If I have a pattern, do I just turn it at an angle to where it was ripped so I can cut it on the bias? Thanks for helping a novice.

Robbie Jones

What size needle do you use for sewing satin? I have a lot of trouble with the seams just pulling apart with gentle pressure let alone actual wear. Could a different needle help? I’m at a loss as to how to fix the problem. Thanks


Can you use iron on transfer paper on satin? Will it adhere or burn material? I am making capes for my daughters bday and want to add initial on each cape but dont have time to sew them on.


so,,, im doing handmade scrunchies… and i want them in satin fabric, the thing is, i dont own a sewing machine, is there a way to hand sow satin without ruining the fabric? i already tried but.. failed. thnx!


Is there any successful way of getting sewing machine stitch marks out of satin. I put small pleats in wrongly and had to unpick them. I have done them correctly now but you can see the previous sewing machine stitch marks. Thank you

Mary Beers

When I sew on satain or I Try to sew the stiich doesn’t hold id comes right out like skipping

Mary Beers

Do you have a suggestion what I need to do?Stitch not holding on satin ?


I find that adding a little bit of Fray Check and sewing the edges before sewing the seams keeps fraying to a minimum.


When I sew delicate fabrics like satin I pin a piece of rice paper or other thin paper to it and sew it with the paper on bottom feeding through the machine. It helps to keep puckering down and feeds it more smoothly through the machine. The pin perforates the paper making it easy to tear away when you are done with it.


I am trying to make satin pillow cases. What setting do I use for pressure? I get about 5 stiches and have a huge mess of thread the bottom. Thanks for any comments.


Its always a good idea when you are preparing to make a project using satin that you buy a little extra for testing purposes. I usually buy an extra yard’s worth, just to ensure the needle and pressure foot an stitches are correct before I begin the project. I made my daughter’s wedding gown from Chemise satin. Very tricky to work with, slides like the dickens! lol. I did find, however, that the best seam to use on any satin is a ‘French Seam’ this is a double straight seam that is strong and does not fray or look untidy when you look inside. It is completely sealed! I find that the French Seam also allows the fabric o drape beautifully. Being more of a ‘liqud’ satin, Chemise is great for that extra touch of elegance and sophistication to any gown or dress. Duchess satin is thicker and does not drape readily unless you manipulate the fabric accordingly. It is a luxuriant fabric but with any Satin project I cannot emphasize enough that you need to prepare everything before you begin it otherwise you may find holes or picked seams on the finished garment. Happy sewing!!!


Do I need to turn the top layer of fabric around so that the “shine” of the fabric is the same on the dress? Seems if I fold it in half then it won’t be in the same direction. Or I could cut out each piece individually on a single layer of fabric.
Thanks for any advice on this.


I am making a satin finish dress and found it much easier to cut out in a single layer so that it’s accurate (and have since seen others advising this) I also used a rotary cutter so there’s no distortion when you cut out. I have neck and sleeve facings which need interfacing toned on – so I ironed the cut out interfacing on to a piece of fabric, then it was much easier and much more stable to cut out.


If I am folding my satin fabric not the usual lengthwise way in order to get pieces to fit, should I cut it in half and turn it around so the shine will be the same? Otherwise it will show won’t it kind of like a sheen nap difference?


Can anyone help me please?! I’ve been asked to make a quilt with satin. How do I square it up? The fabric (washable) is backed with a light flannel and I’m having trouble cutting it square. The bias seems to be wonky. Thank you in advance; this project needs to be done soon, so any help will be so appreciated.


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