Lightweight or sheer fabrics such as organza, tulle and chiffon can often be tricky to sew with as they are slippery and don’t have a lot of stability. We’ll cover our best tips for sewing with these tricky fabrics problem-free, while achieving perfect results!
Before you even begin sewing, you’ll have to cut the fabric pieces out first. Because these fabrics can be so slippery, it’s very difficult to get a straight edge, even if you’re very careful. Should you find this is the case, you can place a sheet of tissue paper or wax paper under the fabric and pin them together using thin appliqué pins. These pins are less likely to cause snags or puckers in the fabric. Then go ahead with cutting. Because the paper has more friction on it than a cutting mat does, the fabric won’t slide around as much. The paper also acts as a stabilizer which will still help even if you’re cutting it out with scissors.
You should also consider the thread that you’ll be sewing with. Because these fabrics are so light and sheer, you can see right through it, meaning your stitches will also be visible. We strongly recommend sewing with a lightweight thread called DecoBob™. This is an 80wt cottonized polyester that’s very strong, so you can rely on it if you’re sewing gowns or any kind of structural sewing. Because it’s so fine, it will hide in the fabric a lot more in comparison to a regular weight thread.
Sewing with sheer fabrics using a regular 50wt thread.
Sewing with sheer fabrics using DecoBob™ 80wt thread.
For rolled hems or darts, you can use this even finer thread called InvisaFil™. This is a 100wt thread that’s even smaller than DecoBob™ and won’t take up a lot of space in the fabric. This allows your stitches to stay flat and won’t be visible through the sheer fabric.
The needle you use will also make a huge difference in the quality of your stitches. Switch to a sharps needle as these have a thin, sharp point that will easily pierce through fine fabrics. If you are sewing with DecoBob™ or InvisaFil™, an 80/12 or 70/10 microtex needle will work just fine.
Leave the tissue or wax paper on while you sew. The extra layer will help stabilize the fabric as you sew so that it doesn’t get sucked down into the machine. You should also decrease the stitch length on your machine to at least 1.8. Once you’re finished sewing a seam, you can easily tear away the paper.
Keep in mind when pressing these lightweight fabrics that many of them prefer a lower heat setting. So don’t have your iron on high heat when pressing your seams open.