Conquering Sheer Fabrics

Archive for January, 2015

A Basket

Another item on my 2015 goals, is redecorating the Sewing and Stash rooms. I have been decluttering which in my mind is step one.  After years of using and replacing cardboard boxes, I’ve finally ordered shelving for a closet which will greatly enhance my  decluttering. Until it’s here, I’m kind of at a stand still so I decided that I needed to replace the baskets which hold my pattern weights.

The existing baskets

Old Baskets

work quite well. My weights rest in the baskets on a nearby shelf until needed. Then I lift the basket handles and swing it over to the cutting table. Generall, I dump all the weights out at once rather than trying to pick through the basket for the right sized weight.  As I finish with the weight, I put them back in the basket.  When done with cutting fabric, I pick up the basket by the handles and swing it back over to the shelf. What doesn’t work is that I’m using two baskets, one without a handle; and that the colors don’t work with my present decorating scheme nor will they work with the next.

I opted to once again make the basket at the embroidery machine. I deliberately chose a larger basket, 6 sides instead of 4 and spent a couple of hours choosing and editing a coordinating design. In a way I love having an excess of digitized embroidery designs. In another, I regret having so many.  There’s always this urge to find the “perfect” design for this project. I did some editing.  I always run the Sew function to see how a design stitches and I check the X-ray to see if there are any extremely dense areas (they cause problems no matter what machine I’ve used).  I’m using the PE770 and by using the Multi Purpose Hoop I was able to stitch out 2 sides with one hooping. Which also means I wanted to copy, and rotate the basket design and arranging stitching order. All best done in Embird Editor.

I still needed to make 3 hoopings but that’s better than 6.  I used a semi-sheer fabric white fabric as my base and matched my thread choices to the fabric I will be using for curtains and accessories:

I made one sort of mistake.  I never hoop fabric. I always hoop stabilizer and affix my fabric to the stabilizer.  When I chose stabilizer I picked a sticky paper.  I’ve used this sticky paper lots of time because if left in the project, it adds body.  Body that is particularly helpful in baskets. But I had intended for this to be a sheers project and now it was no longer sheer. To maintain sheerness, a better choice would have been tulle.  The principle is the same (add something that will be permanent and creates stiffness) and what’s done is done.  Besides, the finished basket, all stitched together is lovely:

In the center of the MPH above, is a section that should have been used for the handles. Even combined, they weren’t long enough to be handles so I used grograin ribbon cut to 15″ lengths. The basket as stitched from bottom to the first curved edge, results in a basket that’s a bit floppy.  I used it for a couple of days and then decided, it was too easy for my weights to fall out.  After a few minutes thought, I decided to insert a tack stitch.

I folded wrong sides together and using the same embroidery thread as used for the edge of the basket, stitched a big zig zag, right where the blue arrow is pointed; and repeated it around the basket. This nugged the basket into a better shape for my purpose

This is both usable and lovely.



I know the end project is not sheer but I placed this post in the sheers, because I started with sheer fabric and intended a sheer result. As state above my misstep could easily be correct by using tulle. Another alternative  would be water soluble stabilizer if you wash it out.  WSS tends to shrink as it ages or at least it does here. I’m sure with Hawaii’s humidity WSS would tend to gum and melt instead. Point is WSS does change and should be removed. Another choice to stabilize the basket but keep it transparent:  zip lock bags. Just cut them apart and use one layer of plastic. End result will be semi-sheer.  I could have skipped the stabilizer.  This is a Free Standing Lace (FSL) design. My long experience is that using stabilizer increases the likely hood of success especially with FSL.  FSL by it’s nature is or contains a sheer element.

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