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Topic: Types of hems on different manufacturers silks
Message: Posted by: Craig Ousterling (Apr 13, 2005 01:16PM)
I only own a couple no name brand silks and they have a somewhat cheezy hem on them that came apart fairly quickly by the corners. I was wondering what kind of hem SKS or P&A uses on their silks? Is it a rolled then sewn or a single or double fold and wrapped hem?

thanks for any information.... I tried a search but turned up nothing in regards to what 'kind' of hem is used for what kind of silks

Posted: Apr 13, 2005 2:22pm
Ok... so after looking and looking and looking at SKS I found this- 1/16" flat magic hem is used on spectrum silks. WOW that's small...
Message: Posted by: Jimmy Joza (Apr 13, 2005 04:38PM)
I am sure that Bob Sanders or Richard Hughes could answer this question in a more detailed manner --- they know their silk! You could also PM Ruth Rice Crone --- her user ID is Rice. And you can contact Peter White by phone.

I have SKS silks and P&A. I love the quality of both! The hem on the SKS silks is incredible --- it is quite small and at times you forget that their silks even have hems. Even the SKS streamers have their exclusive 1/16" narrow flat hem (I have a 25-foot SKS streamer). The P&A silks have a hand sewn hem and is slightly bigger but still relatively small.

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Apr 13, 2005 08:25PM)
If the silks are some that I import, the hems are less than 2mm wide. They are flat and include three layers of silk. But you can barely feel them when you pinch the silk and slide your fingers to the edge and off. When you really look closely at the hem, it should be almost impossible to tell which side of the silk actually has the stack of folds. The stitching should be that tight! However, when you pull the silk by the corner, there should be no puckers or dimples between the hem and the silk. Too much thread tension is a dead giveaway of poor quality hems. (It has nothing to do with the quality of the silk itself.) Likewise, thread tension that is too loose comes out and hangs on things.

Another way to spot quality in silk hems is the same as for good leatherwork. Look at Tony Llama boot stitching and something cheaper. Count the stitches per inch. Better work will have more stitches per inch. (No point in mentioning where the stitches go!)

Corners are everyone’s nightmare. Although our corners are reinforced, corners still go first. That is where we all wish we could be more perfect than we are. About all any of us can promise you is that the corners are tight and square on good silks when you get them. What happens next is up to the user. We won’t do it as a matter of product integrity, but there is nothing wrong with your putting a spot of clear fingernail polish or Witch Stitchery on the corners of your silks. (Remember that this wears off too!) If you cowboy your silks and “pop” the ends like cracking a whip, they will come undone at any price.

A wrapped hem (some are called blanket stitched) is hardly a sign of a good quality hem. Because of the way certain cuts like diamond cuts and buttonholes are made in silks, it is the only practical method of hemming left. Better quality square silks have no need to ever be hemmed this way. Better alternatives exist.

No markings on the silk means nothing. We package silks for pros in white window envelopes labeled “DoveLite Silk” and it is trademarked. There is also a picture of a dove with the corner of a silk in its mouth on the package. It carries a 2004 copyright and “DoveLite Silk Magic” in the bottom left corner. Most dealers can also get exactly the same silks from us in plain transparent packing with no name on the package. Usually they prefer that. (That way they can mix stock from other sources.)

I bet that is more than you ever wanted to know about silks and hems!

The two most obvious silks to avoid are those with “wrapped” hems or that will not fold square. Good silk fabric has no problem folding square.

That was a great question!

Good Luck!

Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 14, 2005 06:45AM)
Bob, Is right on the money again on the hemming. Corners are a pain. Your good silks are double turned (3 layers) of silk and stitched. Rolled hems are just basted stitched in a couple of spots. A quick semi fix is to run them through a sewing machine with just a normal top stitching. Rolled hems also add a lot of bulk.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Apr 14, 2005 07:16AM)
An interesting note about the costs of hems versus the cost of silk, is that in 5 momme silk, for sizes 12" and down, the flat hem in a good silk costs more than the silk itself! At 15" it is about equal but no one imports them anymore because you can get an 18" for about the same price and it is more "handkerchief size". The visual difference is tremendous.

Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Craig Ousterling (Apr 14, 2005 11:51AM)
Bob- thank you very much for the informative lesson on hems. This is the type of information I was looking for.

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Apr 14, 2005 10:14PM)

Thank you for both the kind words and the great question. This type of information sharing is one of the really strong benefits available on The Magic Café. Information helps us make better decisions and better decisions allow us to provide our audiences better entertainment. The purpose of The Café is to facilitate magicians helping magicians. It takes all of us to make it work. Thank you for your contributions to that end.

Magic By Sander