The Fabric Maverick says...Summer is Sheer Magic!
June 2, 2009
The summer breezes gently stir the air. The sky is a sparkling blue and children's laughter is all around us as school ends. I asked my seven year old consultant what she was going to do this summer. One word was all she spoke-Swim! Water, beaches and sunny skies are in all of our minds. What does this bring to mind? Clothes, carefree, flowing, loose fitting and sheer! Just the thought of sheer fabric brings fear on many different levels. How do you sew on sheer fabric? It must be one of the more difficult fabrics to sew but well worth the effort.
First of all what fabrics qualify as sheer fabrics- Chiffon, georgette, batiste, lawn, organdy, organza, gauze and voile are just a few! Sheer fabrics drape well, are delicate and skim the body. Because of the delicate nature of sheer fabric, care must be taken in preparing and sewing the fabric. Here are 10 tips to get you started:
Preparation and sewing:
- Prewash the fabric following the manufacturer's instructions.
- Choose a pattern which will fit loosely and has few pieces.
- Use silk pins and pin inside the seam allowance so no holes will show in the garment.
- Pin tissue paper to the fabric before cutting to give it more body.
- Use sharp scissors or rotary cutter and mat for the cleanest cuts.
- If possible use the selvedge as a seam edge. This is one time that it is not recommended to remove the selvedge.
- Use a size 60/8 or 70/10 needle, a lightweight to fine thread. If possible, use a small hole throat plate on your sewing machine. Use a short, narrow machine stitch (1.25mm- 2.00mm).
- Use a straight stitch or small zig zag stitch to sew seams. Using tissue paper or tear away stabilizer will prevent fabric from slipping. Holding the thread tails as you sew will also help to prevent the seam from puckering.
- Several types of seams can be used with sheer fabric. French, mock French, plain, hairline and more. The hairline seam is great for collars, cuffs and facing areas. To sew a hairline seam sew the right sides of the fabric together with a 5/8'' seam allowance using a short, straight stitch. Trim close to stitching line. Finish the seam edge with a small zig zag stitch. Press to one side.
- Do not use steam on sheer fabrics. Steam can distort the fabric and may melt the fibers. As usual test a small scrap of fabric with your iron before ironing the real thing. Using a pressing cloth, press from the wrong side of the fabric using a low heat setting. If this is satisfactory, iron the original garment.
Now choose a fun pattern such as a swim suit cover up or loose fitting shirt to fit over that sexy camisole. Let's see what you have done when you are finished. I love to see what our creative customers have sewn!
Here are some pattern suggestions:
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