Silk organza really is a miracle fabric, in my opinion. It is crisp, lightweight, and can perform so many different functions. First off, it makes truly beautiful garments, especially when embroidered. At the other end of the spectrum, it can make an excellent press cloth. Tear it into strips, and it can help to stabilize a zipper opening. I even substitute organza for fusible interfacing on facings. I could go on and on, but perhaps I should get back on point!
One of my favorite tricks is using organza to stabilize the back of a fitted skirt.
Fitted skirts and pants can easily stretch and bag out at the back after a day of wear. Generally, a cleaning will get those fibers back to their original shape, but I would rather avoid the issue in the first place! A layer of silk organza added to the back skirt pieces as underlining can help to minimize this problem.
First, make sure to pre-treat your silk organza just as you pre-treat your fabric. There is no sense going through these extra steps only to have everything shift and shrink after the first wash! The hand of the organza may change slightly after a soak in water, but it will retain its crispness and stability, which is what you want.
Using your pattern as a guide, cut out the skirt back pieces in organza. Before removing the pattern, you will want to mark up your fabric. With the organza facing up, mark any darts and necessary symbols from your pattern in chalk (or your preferred method) which will be visible through the sheer layer of organza.
Feel free to mark up the underlining with grainlines, and anything else you think will come in handy later. Unless your fashion fabric is extremely pale colored or very sheer, those chalk marks are not going to show through. This is especially helpful with fabrics that are a challenge to mark, like chenille! If you think your markings are not showing up on the organza, place it over your fabric - they will often pop with a bit of background contrast.
The marked organza is now placed on the WRONG side of your fabric, and pinned carefully into place. Before you cut, it is time to baste the two layers together. I like to use silk thread for this purpose because it makes hand sewing more enjoyable, and should you need to remove your stitches later on, the thread will pull out smoothly without marring your fabric!
This particular dress has a center back pleat, and to ensure that the organza did not shift during construction, I stitched along that line as well. These stitches are not removed and help to stabilize the kick pleat folds (make sure to keep those stitches invisible from the right side of your fabric). Darts should be basted just inside the stitching line as well as through the center to help keep everything in place.
Now you have two layers sandwiched together as one and can begin stitching your garment! It should also be noted that some projects can certainly benefit from underlining more than just the back pieces.
Have fun playing with silk organza – it really is the perfect addition to the sewing room, right along with the essentials like good sewing sheers, pins, and an iron.
And there you have it – a fitted skirt constructed from a fabric with quite a bit of drape that will retain its shape.
Thank you to Britex for another opportunity to work with some fabulous fabric!