Transparent fabrics look fabulous on the catwalk, our editor discusses sewing with sheer fabrics and how you can add them to your wardrobe so they look feminine but aren’t too revealing!
Transparent, translucent and opaque fabrics are all sheer fabrics, but did you know that transparent fabrics are also see-through fabrics, where you can see the skin through and include chiffon, georgette, organza, fine embroidered mesh and netting.
Top tips for sewing with sheer fabrics:
- Sandwich fabrics between two layers of tissue paper and use weights instead of pins to secure the pattern in place before cutting. Cut your fabric out with sharp scissors.
- Always use a new needle and choose a smaller one like a size 11/75 and team up with a finer polyester or a cotton-covered polyester thread.
- If you have one – use a throat plate with a small hole so the fabric doesn’t get pulled down into the machine.
- A French seam is the best choice as all raw edges are encased.
- Choose a fastening that’s lightweight such as tiny buttons, hooks and eyes all work well, and use interfacing around buttonholes.
- Use a rolled hemstitch along the edge of the fabric, and topstitch from the right side of the fabric, very close to the edge for a really neat finish. Hand-rolled edges look lovely on chiffon while binding the edges with a bias tape also looks great for tulle. As netting doesn’t fray you can get away with cutting it neatly!
- You may need to interface facings, collars, cuffs and hems to give the garment some additional body. Use sheer fabrics as interfacing such as flesh-coloured organza, voile and tulle as other types of interfacing will show through.
Here are some ways to use them for dressmaking so your modesty is preserved:
- Use these fabrics sparing on some of the pattern pieces such as sleeves or around the neckline.
- Select a pattern that features a slip like the black Stevie Dress from Sew La Di Da Vintage (shown above).
- Pick a transparent fabric with a 3D decoration or pattern.
- Make a lining from a flesh-coloured translucent or opaque fabric.
Why not design your own?
Contrado offers custom fabric and lifestyle products. Based in West London, this company prides itself on sustainability and high standards of eco-friendly print processes where all inks are water-based and non-toxic. Why not give it a go and print your own designs onto fabric? There are more than 105 fabrics to choose from including chiffons, nets and organza. They also do a great fabric swatch pack so you can choose the right fabrics before you buy. Take a look for yourself at www.contrado.co.uk/sheer-fabric.
Fabrics shown: Paris Chiffon (046), Contrado UK & Florence Net (014), Contrado UK
Author: Julie Bonnar