Summer weather calls for projects made with light, floaty fabrics, but if you've never worked with these materials before, it can be a bit intimidating. Here are 16 tips to help those projects turn out perfect every time.
Summer weather calls for projects made with light, floaty fabrics, but if you’ve never worked with these materials before, it can be a bit intimidating. Here are 16 tips to help those projects turn out perfect every time.
START WITH A STABLE FOUNDATION: Using a product like spray stabilizer, or pinning or basting your fabric to tissue paper, makes it much easier to cut your pattern cleanly.
FUSE THE FRAY: Sheer fabrics are especially vulnerable to fraying. Use sheer-weight fusible interfacing to protect your edges.
ONE THING AT A TIME: When working with slippery fabrics like chiffon or organza, avoid cutting multiple layers at once. This ensures each pattern piece comes out perfect.
CUT WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS: Serrated-edge shears help grip slippery fabrics as you cut, making sure your cut lines are accurate. Alternatively, use a rotary cutter to cut without lifting or pulling your fabric.
PIN, PIN, PIN: Don’t try to eyeball your seams with lightweight fabrics. Pin well using extra sharp silk pins to keep from snagging your material.
TAKE THOSE SEAMS FOR A WALK!: Sheer and gauzy fabrics slip using a regular presser foot. A walking foot guides the top and bottom layers evenly for perfect seams.
NEW PROJECT, NEW NEEDLE: Replace your sewing machine needle before you start something new. As sharp needles wear, they can blunt and bend which snags the fibers of light fabric.
FINE FABRIC? FINE THREAD!: Fine thread! Bulky threads create lumpy seams, so opt for a fine polyester, rayon, or cotton-wrapped polyester thread when working with delicate fabrics.
AVOID BACKSTITCHING: Most of the time, backstitching is a great way to anchor a new seam, but lightweight fabrics can bunch up and pucker when backstitched. Instead, leave extra thread and tie off by hand.
SHORTEN YOUR STITCHES: For sturdy seams that are nearly invisible, even in lightweight materials, use a medium-short stitch length, about 15-20 stitches per inch.
PAY ATTENTION TO TENSION: Make sure to test your sewing machine’s tension setting on a scrap piece of your fabric before starting. Lightweight materials can easily pucker and pull with incorrect settings.
BREAK OUT THE SERGER: A serger is a great tool for finishing edges and preventing fraying on fragile pattern pieces while you’re working with them. If you don’t have one, try adding a line of narrow zig-zag stitching along your edges.
FRENCH SEAM FINISHING: A French seam neatly finishes edges while preventing fraying. Learn how to do one with this tutorial!*
USE A PRESS CLOTH: To avoid scorching, water-spotting, or leaving shine marks on delicate fabrics, use a press cloth between your iron and fabric. Silk organza is ideal because it tolerates high heat and is translucent enough that you can see what you’re pressing through the cloth.
LIGHT FABRICS NEED LIGHT FINISHES: If your garment calls for buttons, zippers, or embellishment, keep in mind that these should be light enough for the fabric to support without sagging, or worse, tearing.
HANG IT BEFORE YOU HEM IT: Let garments hang on a dress form for 24 hours to give the fabric time to stretch and settle before hemming. This is especially important for bias-cut garments.
*Tutorial link: wunderlabel.com/blog/advanced-sewing-techniques