Sewing Lightweight Summer Fabrics: Tips for Handling sheer Materials

Summertime funs calls for cool clothing. Sheer fabrics are the most comfortable for hot, sweltering weather. Some of these materials require special techniques during the sewing and cutting process. Here are some tips that will make this easier.

Because they tend to be slippery, lightweight fabrics are often harder to cut and pin. If you usually use a table or counter top for cutting, place a paper cutting board under the fabric. This keeps it from sliding around quite as much. For a cutting surface, choose a narrow space that you can easily reach from both sides. Another option is to walk around the fabric from all directions. In this case, avoid moving the fabric once you have it in place.

For pinning, silk pins are the preferred choice. To hold the pattern pieces in place during the pinning process, you may find it necessary to use weights of some sort. Anything you have handy will probably work so long as it is clean. Examples include a child’s wooden blocks, coffee mugs, and heavy glasses.

When you’re pinning the seams of lightweight materials, add a small strip of tear-away stabilizer at each end. This will help you to start and stop the seam without making puckers on the ends.

When sewing sheer fabrics, a fine point needle usually works best. Set the machine to make a small stitch. For most brands of sewing machines, this will be around 15 to 18 stitches per inch.

Because the seams can sometimes show through sheer materials, these can require special attention. French seams are one possibility. A serger also works well.

For interfacing, experiment to see what works for your particular fabric. Try some different samples and scraps with the material to see what looks best. Place the ones you’re considering on the back of the fabric to see how they will look.

Color also plays a role in the selection of interfacing. Depending on the color of the material, a white interfacing isn’t always a good choice. As a substitute, try using some of the same fabric instead. A compatible colored lining could also serve the same purpose.

When finishing the garment, narrow hems look best with sheer fabrics. These can be done by hand or machine. Avoid using the usual hem facing since this will be clearly visible through some light colored, lightweight fabrics. Instead, consider making a very small hem instead.

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Be sure to check out our article on the Best Serger Reviews and Buying Guide!

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