The beautiful drape of soft and flowy silk chiffon, light organza or georgette makes them ideal fabrics for sewing apparel. But many people shy away from sewing with these delicate fabrics because they think they are too fragile. Creating elegant garments with sheer fabrics isn't difficult if you know the right techniques.
Things You'll Need
- Fine thread (50 to 100 weight silk or cotton)
- Size 60/8 to 70/10 sharp needle
- Pressing cloth
- Iron and ironing board
A narrow rolled hem gives sheer fabric a nice finish and allows the garment to hang nicely. It is actually a double fold hem, but when hemming lightweight fabrics, the hem allowance is only 1/8 inch, so it looks rolled.
To hem sheer fabric, first use a number 2 stitch and a 60/8 sharp needle to sew around the bottom of the garment 1/2 inch in from the raw edge.
Use an iron to press the 1/2 inch stitched hem allowance toward the wrong side of your fabric. The first stitched line will end up being on the fold.
Sew 1/8 inch in from the folded edge.
Use a sharp pair of scissors to trim the excess fabric close to the second line of stitching. Be careful not to clip your stitches.
Fold again to enclose the raw edge toward the wrong side of the fabric and stitch very close to the inside fold. Then use a pressing cloth and an iron on a cool setting to press the hem flat.
When sewing with delicate fabrics such as silk chiffon or organza, be sure to use a pressing cloth when ironing your seams and hems. This will prevent the fabric from being scorched by the iron.
This will create a small, beautiful hem that will hang gracefully.
Create a Reduced French Seam
A reduced french seam is another way to create well-made, delicate seams on your lightweight fabric. This type of seam completely encases the raw edges of the fabric and creates a beautiful, tidy finished seam.
First, place the two layers of fabric together with the wrong sides facing each other. Use a number 2 stitch length and a 60/8 sharp needle to sew a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Carefully trim the seam allowance as close to the stitching as possible.
Open the seam and press it toward one side.
Fold the fabric so the right sides of the two layers are together and the stitching is on the fold. Press with a pressing cloth and an iron.
Stitch 1/8 inch away from the fold to totally enclose the raw edges of the seam.
Create a Double-Stitched Seam
A double-stitched seam is another beautiful way to finish the seams on a garment made with sheer fabric.
First, place the fabric right sides together and stitch a 1/2-inch seam allowance using a number 2 stitch length and a 60/8 sharp needle.
Next, sew a second line of stitching 1/8 inch away from the first line of stitching on the inside of the seam allowance.
Use a sharp pair of scissors to trim the seam allowance as close to the second line of stitching as possible. Even though there will still be a slight raw edge on this finish, the second line of stitching will keep it from fraying.
The key to having beautifully finished hems and seams on sheer or lightweight fabric is to make them as narrow and tidy as possible.
Now you don't have to shy away from sewing with all of those fun, lightweight, sheer fabrics. Just use any of these techniques and enjoy creating beautiful garments for yourself.