Project reviews

DIY Silk Pillowcase Project Review

Does your significant other sleep? If so, he or she may appreciate the benefits of a silk pillowcase. There is a large volume of anecdotal evidence suggesting that silk pillowcases are better then cotton because silk provides a cleaner sleep surface, is less drying for skin and hair and it’s slippery surface produces less friction, which in turn prevents irritation and damage [Benefits of silk pillowcases]. According to LoveASilk.com, silk is also hypoallergenic, reduces bedhead and split ends, and helps reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles. Even without these potential benefits, silk is a luxurious fabric. In this post I review Julia Bleck’s tutorial for sewing silk pillowcases from the FabricWholeSaleDirect.com.

The online tutorial for this project is available here:

DIY Silk Pillowcase

Note this project is for personal use only.

For the purposes of my review, I’m going to summarize the tutorial, tell you what I did differently (if anything) and share my general thoughts about sewing the project.

The tutorial beings with a photograph and a few paragraphs describing the benefits of silk pillowcases, why you may wish to sew your own and a tip for working with silk. The next sections are the supplies/materials list, an estimate for time to complete the project and a difficulty rating.

Step 0 Prepare your silk

I purchased a white, light weight, silky soft, satin finish charmeuse silk especially for this project. I handwashed my new silk before sewing. I put ~ 5 L of cold water in a 10 L wash basin and dissolved ~2.5 mL of laundry detergent in the water. I agitated the silk in the water for 3 minutes then rinsed it (agitating for another 3 minutes in clean water).

Handwashing white silk in a white basin
Handwashing silk

I hung the silk to dry by placing it on a drying rack that I placed in my bathtub.

Hanging white silk to dry on a white drying rack in a white bathroom
Hanging silk to dry

When the silk was nearly dry, I ironed it to remove the wrinkles (use low or the silk setting). I moved the drying rack to my bedroom and hung the silk to ensure it was completely dry.

Step 1 Cut your silk

For each standard pillow cut 2 pieces of silk that are 21” wide by 28” long.I had a lot of trouble keeping my silk’s grainlines from shifting when I was attempting to cut out my four rectangles (I made two pillowcases).

I followed the advice on the Made to Sew website about sandwiching the silk between two layers of tissue paper. The extra time spent piecing together 13 pieces of tissue paper to equal twice the area of my silk was worth while. I know the quality of my finished pillowcases would have been much poorer if my cut lines hadn’t been straight.

4 rectangular stacks of silk & tissue paper
4 silk-tissue paper rectangles
Step 2 Sew on the invisible zipper

This was my first time working with invisible zippers and I had a lot of trouble sewing the first one. I purchased my invisible zippers online and didn’t know before they arrived that I needed to use the same brand of invisible zipper foot. Using  my universal invisible zipper foot, meant stitches were placed so close to the coil of the zipper tape that they prevented the zipper slider from moving. When I intentionally sewed slightly farther from the zipper coil, the seam was not as flat as it should have been.

Close up of invisible zipper foot being used to sew an invisible zipper
Universal invisible zipper foot sews too close to the Coats brand invisible zipper

Fortunately I own a narrow zipper foot. I was able to sew close to the zipper coil and keep the seam flat and uniformly centered.

Close up of narrow zipper foot being used to sew an invisible zipper
Sewing an invisible zipper with a narrow zipper foot
White invisible zipper sewn into white silk
Invisible zipper seam when sewn properly
Step 3 Complete the sides

By the time I sewed my invisible zipper on twice, my delicate silk had already begun to fray along the long sides. If I sew more silk pillowcases, I will zigzag over 3 edges (2 long and 1 short) of each rectangle before sewing on the invisible zipper. My magnetic seam gauge made it easy to keep a uniform seam allowance.

Close up of sewing white silk
Sewing silk seams with a magnetic seam gauge

That’s it! There are only three steps.

Here are some photos of my finished DIY Silk Pillowcases:

2 white silk pillowcases with pillows inside on a green table
Finished DIY Silk Pillowcases
Finished DIY SIlk Pillowcases on a bed
Finished DIY SIlk Pillowcases on a bed
Conclusion

Slippery silk and not having the correct brand of invisible zipper foot made this project more challenging than I had anticipated. That being said, the instructions were well thought out and the photographs made it easy to follow along. The time to complete and difficultly rating were spot on.

Sewing my own silk pillowcase is supposed to be more affordable than buying a pre-made one. With many of the projects I’ve sewn over the years, making it myself was the most affordable option. In this case it’s harder to quantify. I purchased my silk fabric when it was on sale (yay), but the online retailer didn’t specify the “mommes” of the silk (boo). Mommes is a measure of the density of silk and a higher number means both higher density and higher quality. Charmeuse silk (which is what I purchased) can have a density from 12 to 30 mommes. I know that I spend more money on silk, shipping for the silk and invisible zippers than the least expensive pre-made option, but less than the most expensive ones. In both cases, the density of the charmeuse silk was specified.

I sew several weeks before my blog posts are published so I’ve been using my silk pillowcases. I’m not sure whether or not using them has had any effect on my skin, but I definitely have less bed head.

Have you tried a silk pillowcase? Did/would you sew your own or purchase completed ones? Do you think silk pillowcases are a worthwhile investment? Comment below and/or Pin me for later!

Tanya

Pinterest image for Sewn By Tanya Project Review: DIY Silk Pillowcases by Julia Bleck (FabricWholeSale.com)
Sewn By Tanya Project Review: DIY Silk Pillowcases by Julia Bleck (FabricWholeSale.com)

 

 

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