RSN Silk Shading: Keeping the silk clean!


While working on my RSN Silk Shading piece, I have been super careful to keep all areas of the silk covered except the tiny part I’m embroidering at one time. You can see from the photo below that I have acid free tissue paper carefully secured all around the petal.


However, I wasn’t careful enough! I left a small area at the top of the petal clear so I could be sure of where I was placing my needle as it came over the top while stitching the first row on long and short shading.

It isn’t a large space but it was just enough that I got the silk a bit dirty from my hands. Now, I wash my hands frequently when stitching so the least amount of oil or perspiration gets on the fabric. I think I’m very careful. However, when I removed the tissue to see how the stitching I’d done looked, I could see a very slight mark on the silk just above the flower. It looks more like a shadow than a stain, and it’s possible you won’t be able to see it in the photo, but I could see it clearly.


I’m sure that I rest the bottom of my left hand on that spot as I embroider and I’ve either gotten the silk dirty or slightly crushed the silk. Either way, I needed to fix it.

The only way I know to get stains out of silk – if you ARE going to be able to do it at all – is rubbing alcohol. I dipped a Q-tip into the alcohol and, on a left over piece of identical silk fabric, I tested the silk to see if it would be damaged by the alcohol. I waited about 30 minutes to be 100% sure and it came out just fine.

I then carefully, delicately rubbed the area that looked dirty on the embroidered piece. Looking below – even accounting for the huge difference in the light – you can see that it looks a bit better. Not perfect, but better.


I am now stitching with the tissue paper over the fabric and a piece of lightweight white cotton on top of the tissue paper. I have the feeling that the tissue paper absorbed a tiny bit of the oil off my hand, but I’m not sure. I’m also careful to make sure any part of my had is resting only on tissue paper and not on the silk.

It isn’t easy to embroidery this way – it’s a bit fussy – but it’s definitely worth it to keep the silk clean!

Do you have any tips or tricks about keeping your ground fabric clean when embroidering? Or about how to best clean silk if it gets slightly marked during the embroidery? Please let us know!


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7 thoughts on “RSN Silk Shading: Keeping the silk clean!

  1. I use “Glad Press n Seal”….it is perfect for me…personal preference. I cover the whole piece sides and wrap around the bottom of what I am embroidering and then cut a hole from the Press n Seal at the “one spot” I am working on…after that spot is done I put the piece I cut out back on it and it protects it. I might replace the cover of Press n Seal once or twice depending on how many cutouts I have made. It also keeps the nap of the fabric up from the squishing of the palm….It may not be acid free but it is not on the project long enough to do any harm either….the slight tackiness keeps the dust and threads off the work also and I have always been afraid of spills of any sort and this takes “that” fear away…though I am still very careful no matter what I am using….

    • Hi Avis,

      I must admit I don’t know what Press and Seal is! Is it a stitching thing or a kitchen thing? I’m off to go look it up on the internet – what did we do before the internet???

      Liebe Grüße,

      • Kathy,
        Glad Press n Seal is a kitchen thing…used to seal up food instead of plastic bags you just lay the food in a sheet and fold it over and seal…it stitcks together….I found it through a machine embroidery group who would use it for a stabilizer because it would stick to the fabric and then you would peel it away from your stitching…(there would be bits left under the stitching)…I preferred other stabilizers but I never forgot about the stuff and when I found I could use it for my “hand embroidery” I was hooked.
        I did try it for storing food it was okay but not for me…I am a glass jar person…
        Hope you found out more info on the Internet as it is a wonderful tool…

  2. I used to have a problem with marks and stains, so much so that I became a bit paranoid about them! I think I have oily hands.
    I now ‘borrow’ my husband’s old white hankies, doubled over, and place them where I am likely to rest my hands, and it seems to work and it’s easy to move them around.

    • Hi Jacqui,

      That’s a great idea! I use a piece of clean cotton but hankies wold be the perfect size. My husband has loads but I suppose I might get a few of my own!

      Liebe Grüße,

  3. I am using “lint free” gloves like the ones used in the museum.
    I just cut the fingers off, down to the first knuckle.
    My “RSN white work” was super white and no need to wash it after class.
    During my RSN “intensive”classes I normally have 3 pair of gloves, which I wash every 2 days. You cannot believe how dirty those gloves get after a day of stitching.
    Good luck !

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