Silk Sheers
by Shannon Gifford
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  • Silk Sheers

    Silk sheers are among the most elegant of fabrics. No other fabric conjures up images of luxury as readily as silk! A garment made of sheer silk is cool to wear in hot weather. It can layer with other garments for a soft addition to your winter wear. Sheer silk, once used primarily for formal garments, is now a staple fabric for a modern wardrobe!

    Pretreatment:

    Because of the delicate nature of this fabric, hand-washing in cool water is recommended. Use a drop of baby shampoo as the cleaning agent, and rinse the fabric several times to remove all traces of shampoo. Lay the finished garment flat to dry.

    Needles and Thread:

    A universal needle, size 70/10 is a good needle for sheer silks. You might also consider a 60/8, which is a very small needle, if your thread will fit through the eye. Silk thread is beautiful with sheer silks; it can be difficult to locate. If you cannot find silk thread, use a all-cotton thread marked as "embroidery cotton". It is a thin thread, suitable for a fine fabric.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    Think small: small stitches, small seams, small hems. Use a 1.5 or 2.0 length on your standard straight seams. Try a tiny French seam for your seam finish; stitch the seam wrong sides together, using a 3/8" seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance to 1/8" and press to one side. Fold the fabric right sides together and stitch your final seam at ¼" to encase the raw edges. If you're feeling adventurous, make the French seam even smaller. Stitch the first pass of the seam at ½", trim and press. Turn right sides together, and stitch at 1/8". For curved seam areas, such as armholes, use a hong-kong finish or binding. Hems in sheers are pretties if they are small. For one type of hem, stitch a row of machine basting ¼ inch from the raw edge. Using this basting as a guide, fold the hem to the wrong side and press. Stitch very close to the folded edge, using a 1.5 stitch length. Stitch a second row about a hair's distance from the first row of stitching. Remove basting threads. Trim the raw edge close to the stitching. For a second type of hem, stitch the same guideline of basting and press the hem to the wrong side. Stitch close to the edge; remove basting. Trim the raw edge. Then roll the hem to the wrong side, covering the raw edge. Stitch again, close to the edge.

    Interfacing:

    Sew-in interfacing is the best choice for sheers. Use a layer of the fabric itself as an interfacing, or choose silk organza in a compatable color.

    Pattern Suggestions:

    Shirts, drapey skirts, dresses, tops, full or drapey pants, ruffled garments, full sleeves, scarf-type details.

    Creative Possibilities:

    Combine your sheers with beading, ribbon embroidery, or trims for elegant embellishment. Use sheers as individual parts of a heavier garment. For instance, a wool jacket with a sheer, draped collar would be a beautiful combination.

    Additional Tips:

    Use a delicate touch when sewing with sheers. If you find the fabric to be slippery, use a layer of lightweight tear-away or wash-away stabilizer between the fabric and the feed dogs. Gently remove the stabilizer after stitching. Save the selvedge scraps of your sheer silks to use as stabilizers for other garments.

    Copyright (c) 2017 by EmmaOneSock