How to Sew Sheer Fabric

I think I forgot when I blogged about my assignment, to show you how to sew sheer fabric. So I thought I would do it this week.

Once you have got the pieces cut out on grain, and you have stay stitched them, put the pieces RS together matching raw edges and notches. Pin frequently and hand baste using fairly small stitches.

Pin along the seam allowances to tissue paper under the fabric. Now sew the seam. The tension ought to be a little lower than usual, and you can use a smaller needle than usual, say a size twelve.

Using a short, narrow zigzag stitch sew in the seam allowances.

Now, using small, sharp scissors, cut along the outer side of the zigzag stitching, being careful not to cut the stitches.

Now cut just the paper on the other side of the zigzag stitching. Then carefully tear the paper away from the straight stitching on both sides of the seam.

Press flat and then to one side. Here is the finished result. Yes I know the fabric looks wonky in the photo, the fabric shifts a lot.

NB. If you don’t want to use paper, you can use stitch and tear or water soluble stabiliser instead.

Here is a buttonhole on the same fabric, I think it might have been one layer – I can’t remember.

The most important thing to remember when sewing sheer, flowing fabric is to pin, baste, and stabilise everything! Also, pinking shears do not work very well with such fabric.

Something else I have learned recently…
This past couple of weeks I have really learned the importance of stay-stitching. Skipping it has ruined my new skirt. The in-seam pockets have stretched out of shape and make my hips look weird. I tried easing them back into shape by sewing the seam onto shorter-than-the-seam cotton tape, but if anything I made them worse. So that’s my lesson this week: Always, always, always staystitch, and if it’s a loose weave fabric, stay stitch all the way around.

Also, I think I made a miscalculation when I made the pattern. I added half as much ease as I was supposed to (and I was supposed to add 1.5cm which isn’t very much). Incidentally, why do American sewing patterns have so much more ease than European ones? The skirt block in Metric Pattern Cutting for Womenswear has minimal ease. I don’t think the close-fitting trouser block has any hip ease at all! Even Burda patterns have more than the ones in this book! I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have so little ease, and I realize that the close-fitting trousers are usually made in slightly stretchy fabric, but I will cut extra wide seam allowances, and see if I would like more ease.

An Up-date on Mum’s Singer 533
You know Mum and I sent her Singer 533 for a service because it was making all those clunking noises and the tension didn’t disengage when I lifted the presser foot? Well, it turns out the man can’t fix it. He recommended we go to the factory if we really want it fixing. He can make it straight stitch, but it could do that before. Some people think that if you get a mechanical sewing machine rather than a computerised one you are sure to be able to get it fixed because the parts will be available. Apparently not. Thank goodness I still have my other sewing machines!

The Best Medicines for Colds and Flu Symptoms
It’s amazing how many colds I can get in 12 months. I have another one now. If you have a cold I recommend those Vicks Sinex Decongestant Capsules tablets. They actually work, and I’m not allergic to them (I am allergic to the horrible green liquid people try to sell as medicine.)

The best things for sore throats are Strepsils Lozenges. The taste leaves something to be desired, but they do the job, and I’ve only needed one this time!

Because both Mum and I have colds, we have had to close the shop for a while to keep the heat in. (We live in same building as we have the shop.) Plus, we don’t want to pass the cold on to our customers, especially the older ones.

Until next time, wishing you health and happy sewing,
Sabrina Wharton-Brown
The Sewing Corner

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