Conquering Sheer Fabrics

First Samples

I’m leaning towards binding the edges because  I can still follow all the easy and neat finishing instructions in the pattern.  I looked for binding fabric in my stash.

I have nothing that matches exactly.  So I made a bunch of samples.

My samples are all 2″,  crosswise cut strips that are folded double (WST, lengthwise) and then stitched to the raw edge of a swatch. I varied between 1/8, 1/4, and 3/8 seams.  The binding was then wrapped around the edge and either top stitched or stitched-in-the-ditch.  #1, is a quilting cotton I wanted to use in a camp shirt.  #2 is self fabric and it was not doubled i.e. folded in half as all the other swatches. I felt it would be too heavy.  So I aligned raw edges, stitched, wrapped and trimmed close.  It does make a nice finish and is not as heavy as I expected.  Still I’m hesitant to use #2 because of what will be the combined weight when the garment is finished.

3 is a fine twill blouse fabric.  I wanted to try a contrasting binding even though I hesitate to use brown.  I don’t want the garment limited to brown and yellow combinations. Yellow works well with black and blue (my other basics) but I won’t mix brown with black or blue. I just don’t like the combination.  Interestingly this twill was not flexible enough to completely wrap the edge.  So I folded the entire seam up once and top stitched. Raw edges are still completely enclosed. The dual finished sides do create an interesting look.

4 is a crinkle voile cotton.  Very light weight. Almost an organza.  I made a self-lined blouse from this some time ago because it is nearly transparent.

5 is a cotton calico I’d intended for craft projects. 6 is a poly lining, 7 acetate and 8 is a home dec fabric.

I’m surprised at the range of yellow ochre fabrics in my stash. I prefer this muted yellow to lemon yellow and seem to buy it often but wear it sparingly. I had thought the knit-lace to be a very light yellow. In fact I expected it to match the cotton voile.Instead the the cotton voile emphasises the ‘ochre’ part of the yellow.

None of my bindings are a clear winner. Some were difficult to apply but I would use if I really liked the finished appearance.  Not shown was a tulle which was difficult for me to see while cutting folding and sewing. I knocked it out of the running almost immediately because I couldn’t imagine working with the yards of it I will need to bind all the edges of my garment. (Discussion of the chosen garment yet to come).  I like the acetate #7, but my previous experience is that acetate wears and tears quickly.   #8 takes on a greenish cast next to the knit but handled beautifully.

Once I select a binding, I still have more testing to do.  I recently bought a binding foot that I’d like to learn how to use. This project would be a perfect showcase for a newly mastered technique. I’m planning to set aside a day just to work with that foot.  By planning to do nothing else, I remove a lot of self-inflicted stress and will probably do well immediately.

For the actual project and final testing, I’ll cut my binding on the bias.  I need bias to smoothly go around the neckline.  From experience, albeit limited, I’ll need to starch my chosen fabric. Starching will add another day to my process while it dries. Even though I’m not wild about any of these binding, I prefer to work from my stash.  It’s 1.5 hours to any store. 3 hours to a store with good dressmaking fabric. So while I’d also like to try a faux suede, I know that’s not going to happen.  I could order online but I have the same problem that put me in the spot I’m in:  color.  Do I want to order and wait for samples?  Which could be out of stock by the time I receive them and make my decision. Do I want to extend this project by adding the few weeks ordering on-line  would take? No I think I’ll just sew from the stash as originally planned. So now, I just need to decide which of these bindings I want to use.

Which is your favorite?


Comments on: "First Samples" (3)

  1. Have you considered or tried a 3-thread narrow serged edge or rolled edge in a matching thread? I think this would be the least bulky of all possible sewn finishes.

  2. I like #1

  3. I’m with Meredith. The binding is going to show a lot. Just checked a couple of RTW items in my closet. They both have very narrow seams that appear to have had the pieces finished with crochet and then the seams stitched. I think a serged edge in matching color would be the least obvious finish.

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