How to Sew with Sheer Fabric

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How to Sew with Sheer Fabric

For buyers who want a fabric that is good on the eyes, sheer fabric is a good choice. It comes in varieties including silk, chiffon, organza, taffeta, and lace. Traditionally, it is for wedding finery, lingerie, and net curtains, and now it is increasingly part of informal clothing. Retailers such as eBay offer a range of sheer fabrics, but buyers shy away from buying them because they are slippery and therefore more challenging to sew than the firmer fabrics. Sheer fabrics may, however, be sewn quickly and easily if you know how.


Prepare the Machine

Even the most basic sewing machine can handle sheer fabric. All that is necessary is to adjust machine settings to cope with the finer fabric.


This is important. Shoppers do not want a garment that is tight, bunched up or gathered in wrong places. They want a professional looking product with all the seams, hems and finished edges looking stable and flat and with the stitching almost undetectable. Fine polyester or lingerie thread will do.


Sizes 60mm to 75mm needles are the best for sheer fabric. It is best to aim at a maximum of 15 stitches per 2.5cm, so the stitch adjuster knob of the machine can go to position 1.5 or 2.

These smaller stitches ensure the fabric does not gather together during sewing. They simply blend into the fabric and are not visible. Twist the tension knob on the machine to a slightly higher level to stop the puckering effect and ensure smoothness. Buyers should do a trial run on a piece of spare fabric. 


Sewing Seams

French seams are good for sheer fabric. They make puckering less probable and ensure the edges do not fray. French seams consist of two lines of stitching, parallel to each other. The effect is a strong narrow seam.

Take the two pieces to join together, perhaps the left side of a wedding dress top and the left back. With right sides together, pin them along the seam line, which is normally 1.5cm from the raw edges. It may be easier to place tissue under the fabric and to tack the fabric before sewing to prevent slipping. This also ensures that hands are free to hold the fabric steady and taut, both in front of the presser foot and behind it, so the sewing is straight and does not pull.

Do not backtrack at the end of the sewing line because the thread may jam. It is best to knot the ends by hand. Stitch a second time, about 0.6cm from the first stitching. Trim close to the second stitching. This will still result in a raw edge, but the second row of stitching ensures that the seam allowance remains intact and does not start to shred.

Sewing Hems

Hems look best when narrow:

  • Mark the hemline with tailor's chalk.
  • Trim the hem to 1.3cm.
  • Straight stitch along the hemline. 
  • Press the hem allowance to the wrong side and along the stitched hemline.
  • Adjust your machine for a short zigzag stitch. 
  • On the right side, zigzag stitch through all layers, and close to the original hemline.
  • Trim the hem close to the second set of stitching.


How to Buy Sheer Fabric on eBay

Search eBay and find a wide selection of sheer fabrics together with the accessories required for a professional touch. The easiest way to get to this fabric is to type the search phrase 'sheer fabric' to get a drop down list of the many different varieties of the fabric available. For clothing, threads, needles and other accessories you may click on items to the left of the page. Before buying, be sure to check out the details of the fabric to ensure it properly meets your requirements.

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