Easy Sewing Techniques for Sheer Fabrics

Sheer Mix Pillow by Linda Lee

Sheer Mix Pillow by Linda Lee. 

Ruffled Chiffon Wrap by Linda Permann

Ruffled Chiffon Wrap by Linda Permann.

Undulating Pleat Scarf by Katrina Walker

  Undulating Pleat Scarf by Katrina Walker.


Challenge Yourself for National Sewing Month

In celebration of National Sewing Month, I'm offering a challenge to everyone, including myself, to learn a new technique or sew with a fabric type you have never sewn before. Maybe you've always wanted to sew knits, but have never tried, or you want to learn machine embroidery. Now's the time to give it a try!

For my challenge, I am going to overcome my fear of sheers. I love the look of sheer fabrics but sewing with them has always frustrated me. There are so many beautiful sheer fabrics available, including chiffon, georgette, organza, batiste, organdy, and voile. Sheers with surface embellishment, from crinkles to embroidery or metallic threads to sequins and beading, are great for making something gorgeous for the holidays. So if you want to join me in a sheers sewing challenge, follow these tips and techniques for frustration-free sewing:

– When sewing sheer fabric remember that all the inner construction details will show through. Choose designs with minimal design details such as darts, zippers, facings, and multiple seams-the simpler the pattern, the easier the project will be. Because the inner structure is visible, careful sewing and pressing are imperative. Loose-fitting garments work well with sheers because the fabric's delicate nature doesn't perform well under stress.

– Soft and drapey sheers can be a cutting challenge-they want to slide all over the table. Pin carefully in the seam lines to stabilize, use pattern weights, or layer the fabric with tissue paper to help prevent slippage. Use fine pins to avoid damage. If you have a cardboard cutting board, use pushpins at the fabric perimeter to keep it from slipping around while you pin the pattern pieces in place and cut. Cutting with serrated blade scissors or a sharp rotary cutter helps prevent slipping, as does minimal handling to prevent stretching, especially for any bias-cut pieces.

– Lightweight sheers tend to slide and also pucker as they're stitched. Practice on scraps to adjust tension settings (usually looser) for a flat smooth seam and shorten the stitch length to about 15 stitches per inch. Usea new small size (60/8 or 65/9) sewing machine needle to avoid snagging delicate threads. Pin pieces together only within the seam allowances to prevent fabric damage.

– When sewing, hold the fabric taut behind and in front of the presser foot to avoid puckering. No backtacking allowed. On thin sheers, increase the presser-foot pressure for even feeding. On some very unruly sheers, it may be necessary to stitch through a layer of tissue or removable stabilizer placed under the seam line to prevent slippage. To help start a seam without bunching, place a small square of tear-away stabilizer under the seam-line end. Remember, sew carefully, because any ripping outof stitches will likely damage sheer fabrics.It's best to bind edges or use a narrow rolled hem to finish garment lower edges, openings, and sleeve hems.

– Watch your iron temperature and steam usage to avoid any meltdowns. Use a press cloth to avoid scorching and avoid overpressing these fragile fabrics.

Sounds manageable, right? Pick your sewing challenge and find a pattern to practice with in our Sew Daily ePatterns section. You'll learn something new and have a great project to showcase it!

Happy sewing,


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