Satin Charmeuse

Saturday’s Stash: Satin Charmeuse

Charmeuse (pronounced shar-moose) is a very thin, lightweight satin with extreme fluidity and drape. Being satin, it’s shiny on the right side. It’s best suited for loose, draped styles, such as full skirts, unstructured blouses, and evening dresses. It also works well for linings.

Tips For Working With Charmeuse
To add detail to the fabric use soft techniques such as ruching and shirring. Avoid structural details such as pleats, which can be too heavy for charmeuse.

Satin in general, and charmeuse in particular, has a reputation of being difficult to work with. I don’t find it impossible, but you do have to take your time with it, since it tends to be slippery and will often shift as you’re sewing. It’s worth the hassle of working with charmeuse, however, because the end results are often stunning!

  • To ensure accuracy, cut one layer at a time. Cutting multiple layers will result in shifted fabric and imprecise pattern pieces.
  • Mark your notches and dots carefully.
  • You might find it useful to baste your fabric before attempting to sew, in order to keep the layers stable and prevent them from shifting.
  • Be careful with pins, as they can leave permanent holes in the delicate fabric. Try silk pins, or rely on basting with fine needles.
  • Use a ballpoint needle designed for lightweight fabrics and make sure it’s fresh and sharp!
Ballpoint Needles

Ballpoint Needles

  • Dry clean, or hand wash using cold water and mild detergent. Tumble dry with low heat if the label allows, otherwise hang to dry. Use a warm iron, but be cautious of steam or spritzing with water, as this can cause permanent water spots.

Example of the Day
This is a lightweight polyester charmeuse, in a bold, geometric, abstract print of turquoise, aqua, lime green, and brown. It’s 56” wide and can be machine washed with cold water and tumbled dry on low. I found it at in August, for $4.98/yd. At first I only bought ½ yard, to see if it would work as a jacket lining. It didn’t match my jacket fabric, but I simply fell in love with the color and drape of the fabric. I bought one more yard and plan to make a simple full skirt for springtime.

Aqua Print Charmeuse

Aqua Print Charmeuse

Aqua Print Charmeuse

Aqua Print Charmeuse


Have you sewed with charmeuse recently? Did you find it easy or difficult to work with? Have you any tips to share?

About Lisha Vidler

I am a sewing instructor living near Memphis, Tennessee.
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