Sewing with sheer fabrics like chiffon can seem tricky, but with a little self-education, you can tackle sheers like a pro.
I can sew woven cotton with my eyes closed (and perhaps with a child wielding a popsicle on the chair behind me) but sheers are another story. They sometimes have a mind of their own and any sewist is wise to realize they are a different beast entirely than your standard quilting cotton.
Because I am willing, I am often asked to hem bridesmaid or formal dresses for gals I know and I always agree but hemming the beautiful sheer layer has always resulted in a hem I wasn’t totally happy with, lots of unnecessary stress, and cursing.
This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
Because I work, have small children, and live rurally, taking an in-person sewing class is impractical and very unlikely. Enter Craftsy. I’m a huge fan of this site because they have TONS of classes that are free or reasonably priced on topics I care about. Each class has beautiful videos (no wobbly YouTube tutorials!) and very clear instructions on whatever your heart desires. I have a very long list of classes I want to take (Um, French Cooking? Yes please!) but sewing sheers made it to the MUST list in short order this wedding season. I hated doing a mediocre job on dresses and frankly I have plenty else to stress and curse about so this class was a huge help. And these classes don’t have homework, deadlines, or detention. It is a self-paced, learn at your leisure type of thing. You always have access and you can watch and rewatch over and over.
The class, Sewing Sheers with Sara Alm, was awesome and taught me in a few lessons the big mistakes I was making when sewing sheers. Here are the tips I was able to employ immediately but I can’t recommend the class enough to you sewists out there. Enroll and you’ll be a sheer pro in no time, pun absolutely intended.
Use a little washi or masking tape to cover the hole in your throat plate (where your needle goes down). Washi tape is actually preferable because it is less sticky than masking tape. Cut a tiny piece, just a bit bigger than the hole and place. This helps prevent your machine from ‘eating’ your bridesmaid dress. This one little tip prevented the most cursing in my home, which is why I listed it first. Get some washi tape or masking tape, Wildflowers! If you are as late to the washi tape party as I was, here’s a link to some cute rolls that you can use for lots of other things besides on your throat plate.
Use a needle designed for sheers. I was using my regular ol’ standard needle and it was too big. A needle that is too large will blow through the delicate fabric, making the seam weak and giving the seam the appearance that it may tear apart. Here’s a link to the needles I used.
Use a rolled hem foot for hemming. The class demonstrates LOTS of ways to finish (another way to say ‘hem’), but this is a way I use often for hemming formalwear. Your sewing machine very likely came with a rolled hem foot, even if your machine is older. Check the compartments where the feet are stored and see if you have one. Practice on a scrap of sheer beforehand and you will see how the front of the foot rolls the fabric into a tiny hem.
If you follow these simple tips, you will likely end up cursing a whole lot less and if you enroll in this time and headache saving class you will be a wizard with sheers.
If you want to learn how to sew, check out the courses HERE!
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What do you think, Wildflowers? Share in the comments below if there’s another Craftsy class I should add to my list. Happy Sewing!