How to Sew with Sheer Fabricscomments (5) May 27th, 2011
by Fred Bloebaum
Soft, floaty, delicate, fluid, and sumptuous-these are the words that come to mind when describing a garment made from a sheer fabric. Whether it's silk chiffon, georgette, or lightweight organza, transparent fabrics are not necessarily fragile, and sewing with them isn't difficult when you know the right techniques.
The key to making the most of these fabrics is to sew seams, edges, and hems that are lightweight, sturdy, and nearly invisible. To do this, all you need is a fine thread, such as 50- to 100-weight silk or cotton, a size 60/8 to 70/10 sharp needle, and a medium-short stitch length. This will get you stitches that disappear into your fabric and, coupled with the methods that are described below, will have you sewing sheer fabrics like a professional.
Sew visible seams minimally
The key to couture sheers is a light touch. Here are two seam methods that will make sewing with sheers crystal clear.
Reduced French seam
A French seam is actually just two parallel seams. These directions work well for patterns that call for a 5⁄8-inch seam allowance. An ultranarrow seam allowance is the result.
1) Position the two layers of fabric with wrong sides together.
2) Stitch with a 1⁄2-inch seam allowance.
3) Trim the seam allowance to about 1⁄16 inch.
4) Press the seam toward one side.
5) Fold the two layers along the seam line with right sides together. Press the fold.
6) Stitch 1⁄8 inch away from, and parallel to, the first seam to create a nearly invisible enclosed seam.