How to Sew With Voile


A soft yet firm, sheer open-weave fabric made from silk, cotton or rayon, voile is often used for blouses, summer dresses and curtains. The lightweight semi-crisp characteristics of the highly twisted yarns lend themselves well to gathering. Sewing with voile takes into consideration the wiry sheer grainy texture of the fabric, which is similar to organdy and organza. To sew with voile effectively, you may have to make adjustments in your machine, needles, thread and sewing techniques.

  • Find patterns appropriate for voile. Look for patterns with few seams, as these will show up through the sheer fabric. Patterns that fit loosely and flow are good contenders for voile. On the other hand, don't feel limited to patterns designed for sheer fabric. Use voile to accent unexpected places, such as sleeves or cuffs.

  • Eliminate interfacing. Interfacing is just the extra layer of fabric that is sometimes added to detail areas like the pockets or lapels on a garment to give it shape and structure. You could spoil the garment's appearance if any interfacing shows. If you need interfacing, use self fabric, flesh-colored tulle or organza. Make the front facing twice as wide so that when folded over it can be both the facing and interfacing.

  • Use a needle size and type that works with voile. Sizes 60/8 or 70/10 are good choices. Other good choices are universal, sharp or microtex needles that avoid puckering or snagging the fabric.

  • Set the stitch length. This could be between 1.25 to 2 mm. or 12 to 15 stitches per inch. You may need to baste any seams together before sewing.

  • Sew using fine embroidery or long-staple polyester thread. Be advised that removing stitches could cause voile to tear.

  • Ease pressure on the pressure foot.

  • Don't back stitch. This could cause bulking as you sew. Instead, start with shorter stitches for the first few stitches, then adjust to the correct stitch length.

  • Use seam finishes that enclose the seam allowance. The transparency of the material necessitates narrow seams that appear "invisible." Seams that can accomplish this are French and mock French seams and flat-felled seams, among others.

  • Hem appropriately. Sheers such as voile do well with narrow hems like horsehair braid hems and rolled hems made by using a hemmer foot attachment, a serger or hand-sewing.

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