Sewing with Voile: Simplicity 1872
Being that it is summer and judging from the morning news shows it seems to be HOT everywhere so what more appropriate fabric could there be to demonstrate than Voile. This very light weight fabric is made of 100% cotton and is semi transparent (though with a print it is less so). Voile actually comes from the French for veil because of its drape and transparency. When used in apparel it is typically layered or worn as a layer. I have decided to use our Designer Essentials Cotton Voile Fabric in Cilantro (though I call it Key Lime) in this gorgeous Cynthia Rowley layered skirt dress pattern. The lightweight drape of the voile works very well with the generous ruffling of the skirt and the layers means I don't need to line the skirt. The bodice, however, I am planning on wearing a chic lace slip underneath. This is my first post pregnancy project (though I have 3 months to go, you can tell I am ready!) and my criteria were simple: beautiful, ready for spring, and nursing-friendly. The wrap style of the bodice means it will work for nursing; I have added a hook & eye to prevent any baby grabbing wardrobe malfunctions. The color and light weight fabric means the pattern meets criteria #2 and it is of course lovely. If you plan on making this pattern I have a few suggestions. #1 Make a muslin but if not measure the pattern pieces at least twice. This is designed to go over your head and gathered at the waist but mine is at least 2 sizes bigger than I was looking for and I cut it one size bigger than I wore before pregnancy so I could wear it sooner. The dress is way large; it is so large I could fit it on now at 7 mos pregnant. #2 Add the hook and eye even if you don't have a baby. You don't want your décolletage to pop out at inopportune times. #3 Consider adding elastic at the waist as recommended by MyBeauBaby. I have NOT added my elastic yet (but will) because I don't yet know how much elastic to use for the size I will be. Plus I want to take in the dress a bit (to do this I will detach the bodice and take it in. I will also detach each skirt layer, take each in and then reattach. It sounds like a lot but it really won't be because there aren't any gathers to get in the way.
Now for the good stuff: tips for sewing voile! Voile is similar to light weight cotton (AKA quilting cotton) except that it is not. You will see in a min what I mean. If you sew with quilting cotton you already know how finicky it can be. It can fray easy, rip easy and can get pulled down into your machine. All this applies to voile (FYI to prevent having your light weight fabrics, including knits, being eaten by your machine, start sewing your seams about 1/2'' away from the edge, sew backwards to the end and then sew forward. If you start at the end, your fabric will get pulled down into your bobbin case) but it is even more delicate. Start with a test piece and get your tension right before you start otherwise you have to fight thread nest, pulling and uneven stitches. Also, go for the smallest needles (I used a size 10). I started with a size 12 needle and you can see the visible needle holes from the larger needle (you can see the holes below). Once I switched to the size 10 my seams were much improved. Decrease the temp on your iron a bit. The highest cotton setting is just too much for this lightweight fabric and overkill. You don't want to scorch your voile, just press it. Also, use pins that are a similar size to your needle. The thinner the better so you don't leave visible marks. Lastly, don't mark the fabric; it is so light anything will show. I use tape to label each pattern piece. The tape stays put to identify the pieces but also removes the label once you are done.