Conquering Sheer Fabrics

Tulip Sweater

Long time since I worked with sheers, almost a year.  I’m back because I still have a few sweater knits that should have been sold as sheer or tissue-knits.  I don’t understand why these fabrics were even considered “sweater”.  Including today’s project, I think I have 3 left.

I was lucky enough to find a 1+yard remnant on the fabric site where I bought the original. I hoped it would be enough to make a self-lining. I’m using my dartless block created in November 2016. I love the darted knit block but I always think of sweaters being slightly shapeless or boxy.

I cut the fabric as I was using it. I cut 2 fronts, shaped the tulip hem. Took both fronts to the serger and serged all the raw edges. Serging was the only way to control the curling. I did try spray starch. A starch dipping would have been necessary. I had cut the two front necklines at different depths. I finished them now with clear elastic and the 3-step zig zag. It’s a nice finish. I turned the hems up and fused them in place. I top stitched the hem at 1″ and 1-1/4″ — almost looking like a cover stitch. Then edge stitched along the hem fold. It creates a firm edge. Not really crisp. It’s still a fold rather than a sharp crease. But it looks really nice and has some body. I stacked the two fronts one on top of the other and stitched the shoulders together.


My only criticism of the front neckline is that it doesn’t really show all that well. I mean you look at it and then look a 2nd time to see that the necklines are stacked.  I think this design feature would show better on a solid color or if I had trimmed the necklines with a contrast. Maybe white FOE?

I used a Burda procedure for the backs. Oh I serged all the edges first. It was just too big of a hassle to leave the edges unfinished even at this early stage. I laid one back down on the cutting table face up. Placed the tops face down on the first back i.e back and both fronts are now RST. Placed the 2nd back on top also face down. Then I basted the shoulders together. Stopped and checked that the all the pieces were firmly enclosed in the shoulder seam before serging from one shoulder, across the back necklines and all the way across the other shoulder. Didn’t quite do that right. The back and front shoulders didn’t meet exactly at the neckline. At the SM, I stitched and then trimmed until the shoulder line and back neckline looked nice. Except that back neckline was wimpy. The front with its turn and stitch, clear elastic application was really nice. I decided to press the back neckline towards the piece that would be on the inside and then stitch clear elastic along the seam allowance. That did it. Both back and front necklines were firm but stretchy; shoulders meeting perfectly. I turned the back over and pressed along the shoulders and necklines, then basted the back’s side seams and armscyes. From this point on I can treat the back and fronts and 2 pieces instead of 4.  I hemmed the back and set the unit aside.


Did not have enough fabric to make 4 sleeves i.e. self-lined sleeves. I dug through the stash and found a white tricot that I’ve used for lining fabrics before.  I think it was manufactured to be slip/underwear type garments but works wonderfully as knit lining too.  I cut the sleeves with hem . Cut their linings without. I thought I would be able to turn up the hem and create a nice crisp edging. Jumping forward– this idea didn’t work. To my surprise when I stitched the linings to the sleeves, the linings were not exactly 1-1/4″ shorter than the sleeves. I didn’t fight the issue or cut new linings.  (I have little hope that this fabric will survive more than one winter. It just doesn’t look durable.)  I inserted the sleeves. Then stitched that long seam from hem, to underarm to cuff.  Finally I top stitched the cuff similarly to the body i.e. 1 row looks like cover stitch with edge stitch along the fold. It looks nice.

I thought that the knit block still needed some tweaking even before I converted it to a dartless block. This soft knit really displays the fitting issues.

side_resize side2_resize

The sides have those big drapes I’m always struggling with and thought I had nearly fixed. Those big U’s result from a combination of my shoulder slope and rounding back.  I’ll probably wear a vest with this ‘sweater’ because a vest covers the worst of the drapes and drag lines.  Interesting note, I’ve purchased 2 sweaters from WM this year. Both are worsted weight sweaters. So medium weight. One is a stocking knit stitch the other, deeply cabled. Neither show the big drag lines.  Note to self:  soft, light weight, draping fabrics reveal all. DO NOT BUY any more.

I’d also say this particular tulip hem is not all that slimming:


I was thinking that the diagonal of the tulip hem which was cut to end just above my waist would totally disguise my tummy and make me look slimmer. I don’t look like Santa, exactly, but ….



I think the biggest issue I have with these sheer sweater knits, is I want to use them as sweaters.  I want a light-weight sweater top. The fabrics won’t do that without help and then they become less sweater like.  I think when these fabrics were manufactured, the designers were using them in wraps, cocoons, shrugs, ponchos i.e. garments I don’t wear or make a lot of.  I’m stuck in a mind-set of wanting to use the fabrics in one way.  If I could get past that mind-set, I might make something really creative. Sigh….


Comments on: "Tulip Sweater" (1)

  1. When I see your diagonals, it made me think of one of Peggy’s recent short videos–she did fiting on a blouse. This video at about 7:50 I think–she increases her existing dart to take away a diagonal. Realizing you have no dart in this top–this alteration would have to be done at the muslin stage. Oh well, just a thought.

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