Hi BEAUTIES! I hope everyone is doing awesome! I’m preparing for travel this weekend to a sewing conference in L.A.! I can’t wait to share more about this trip in the near future! 🙂 Today, is my first post in my new TIPS/RESOURCES tab, created for anyone seeking info on sewing techniques. My first topic is one that is featured in Issue 2 of SEW SEW DEF magazine; How-to Sew with Sheer/Slippery Fabrics. Which includes 5 major tips and steps on sewing a french seam, as well as a narrow hem.
I’m confident today’s quick tips will help eliminate any fears you have with sewing difficult fabrics. Have you ever sewn with a sheer/slippery fabric? What did you find worked best for you? Enjoy today’s post and style photos in my beach cover-up, I’ll be back soon with a Q&A video on my YouTube CHANNEL. 😉 XO
How-to Sew Sheer/Slippery Fabrics
Sewing with slippery fabrics can be a challenge to say the least! In the past I choose to stay away from silks, chiffons, and other sheer fabrics all together but I knew I needed to find a way to have these gorgeous fabrics work to my advantage. Luckily, I have found some tried and true tips that you can use in your next sheer/slippery sewing project.
Tip #1 – Pre-treat
- Pre treating removes extra dyes and eliminates any shrinkage, use a low cycle.
- If the fabric is very delicate you can choose to hand wash in lukewarm water and hang to dry.
- For dry-clean only fabrics use a press cloth during construction and dry clean when finished.
Tip #2 – Cutting
- Lightly spray your fabrics with BEST PRESS to slightly stiffen the fabric and make it much easier to work with.
- For pattern pieces that are meant to be cut on the fold you can choose to make a single pattern (that will not be cut on the fold) to allow for a neater cut. To do this; trace off the original pattern, then turn the pattern over to the wrong side and trace that right next to it. You will end up with one complete pattern piece. Use this new pattern to cut on one layer of fabric, instead of on the fold.
- If you are cutting on the fold, pin your selvage edges together with thin pins to keep them together while handling the fabric.
- Lay a large sheet of tissue paper on your cutting mat (I use extra tissue paper that comes in patterns, you can also use store bought gift tissue sheets) this gives the slippery fabrics something to “hold on” to and prevents shifting. Place your fabric on top of the tissue and add another layer of tissue on top of that. “Sandwiching” the fabric between the two layers. Place your pattern piece over the sandwiched fabric and cut as normal.
- Always use fresh blades when cutting to prevent any tugs or moment when cutting.
Tip #3 – Marking
- Use water soluble markers to transfer your markings instead of chalk, chalk tends to slip and cause uneven markings.
- Another great alternative is using tailor’s tacks.
Tip #4 – Sewing
- Always use the proper needle, thin fabrics require a thin needle such as a 60/8, 70/10.
- Use a short stitch length of about 2.0. This helps the fabric feed easier through the machine.
- Use a walking foot instead of your standard machine foot. The walking foot helps both layers glide evenly, giving you a much smoother seam.
- If you do not have a walking foot. I have found that slightly raising the pressure of the pressor foot as well as the tension of the machine gives an equally beautiful result. Practice on a scrap of fabric to achieve the perfect stitch.
- If you find your machine is “eating” your fabric at the start or end of your seams you can place a small sheet of tissue paper over or under your fabric to fix this. After sewing gently tear away the tissue to clean it up.
Applying a seam finish that works for you will elevate the look of your finished project and ensure a tidy garment. My favorite finish for delicate fabrics is a narrow hem.
French seams give a nice finish to the inside of sheer fabrics. To create a french seam:
- Place your fabric wrong sides together. Pin and sew a 1/4” seam.
- Trim the seam to 1/8”.
- Press your seam open and then flat.
- Fold your fabric right sides together, pin and sew a 3/8” seam allowance, encasing the previous seam.
- Press your french seam to one side.
Narrow hems are commonly used to finish the raw edges of delicate fabrics. To create a narrow hem:
- First sew 1/2” in from the raw edge of the fabric.
- Use an iron to press the 1/2” hem to the wrong side of the fabric.
- Sew 1/8” from the folded edge.
- Use curved scissors to trim the excess fabric close the the second stitching.
- Fold the fabric in to the wrong side enclosing the raw edge.
- Stitch close to the inside fold.
- Press the hem gently with your iron.
Quick tip: A quick method for a narrow hem is to serge the raw edge then turn to the wrong side of the fabric and sew close to the serged edge.
Pattern Description: Very loose-fitting pullover tops have straps, off the shoulder sleeves, gathers at neckline, and length variations – VOGUE 9242.
Pattern Sizing: 4 – 12, I cut a size 4.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes it did.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The trendy sleeves and flirty ruffle.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I may sew this again. I have plans to lengthen the pattern into a dress version, it’s a pretty lengthy top in itself so I wouldn’t have to add much more to it. I would recommend.