Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Fabrics: Charmeuse

Charmeuse is a light weight, satin woven fabric, with a satin finish on the front and a dull finish on the back. It is typically made of silk, but can be made with synthetic fibers like polyester. Silk-Charmeuse is expensive, very delicate, soft and a better insulator. Where as Polyester-Charmeuse, is cheaper, machine washable and doesn't breathe well. So I think the choice of which you would choose to make clothing is already made for you.

Uses for women's wear would be lingerie, evening gowns, blouses etc., and men's wear would be pieces more like jackets and slacks, handkerchiefs, ties and boxer shorts.  Charmeuse does not work well for tailored sewing as it does not hold its shape well, but it is great for flowing dresses.  However, the wedding dress I recently made with this fabric worked well as an over-lay, which I then tailored.

This fabric is very challenging and is not recommended for beginners, because it is extremely slippery and tends to move around a lot through the presser foot of a sewing machine.  At the seams, Charmeuse puckers and pulls but I found finer thread minimizes this.  Some other challenges I went through while working with the sheer Charmeuse fabric were the pins would leave holes and marks where the fabric was pinned. Recently, I found out that a sizing product can be sprayed on before cutting and can be washed when the garment is complete.  At the end of the day, my client was very pleased with the finished dress, and that makes all the little frustrations of working with this fabric worth it.

A few years ago I made my sister's wedding dress with Charmeuse and it was very easy to work with, as it was much thicker then the sheer of its kind.  I had no problems with it then, but it was also a completely different structure and draped very nicely, my sister was incredibly happy with the outcome and so was I. Overall I would say the look and feel of this fabric is amazing!

My Sisters A-Line, Empire Waist Wedding Gown

photograph taken by Lee Sperduti

My Clients 2 in 1 Wedding Dress 

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