Conquering Sheer Fabrics

Archive for the ‘CircleJacket’ Category

Circle Jacket

Once a month my calendar announces it’s time to start a sheers project.  I made this calendar entry, complete with email reminder, because I’m serious about reducing the stacks of sheers either through use or donation.  Even if I don’t complete a sheers project, the entry has me thinking and noticing how sheers are being used by other dressmakers and in RTW. This month the reminder popped up about 3 days after I realized I wanted/needed a light weight wrap in black. On that particular day, I “settled” for something else.  When the reminder popped up I knew immediately I wanted to make that wrap in a sheer and I wanted to do it now.

I searched through my sheers and found two black pieces.  One is a very nice wool gauze.  It’s the kind of fabric that deserves carefully consideration and will make a wonderful garment.  I wanted something quick and elected to used a 3.5 yard of black tricot that looks like and escapee from a glitter factory. OK, not that bad. The glitter is glued to the fabric in star burst or fireworks shapes in bright blue and gold. Very lovely, but I’m sure that the description did not say tricot or glitter.  I was dismayed by the fabric upon receipt because it was also sheer and I had over 3 yards of it.  What’s worse is there was more “free” (unglued) glitter than attached. I had a mess of glitter all over.  My washing machine and dryer were full of glitter.  I remember re-reading the description and realizing that they had cleverly described this fabric accurately while at the same time completely misleading me.  Still it was pretty and I kept it. All 3.5 yards of 62″ wide tricot.

I admit to rabidly following Rhonda’s Buss and eagerly look for her patterns.  I’m basing my sheer wrap on her Circle Jacket blogged here.  I started by following instruction pretty closely. My fabric was 62″ wide so I cut my fabric 62″ long and folded it in half.  I calculated the neck line and cut a 2.25″ diameter circle.

Like Rhonda, I opted to curve the corners mostly because I also planned to serge a rolled hem.

Curved corners should mean that I can start and just keep going until done.  Unfortunately, I had issues at the neck.  I had to serge the neckline 3 times each time cutting off another 1/4″.  I finally applied water-soluble stabilizer to the edge for serging and afterwards I “Frey -Checked” the entire neckline.

My serger either makes an unbelievable beautiful and easy rolled hem or I fight with it through the entire experience. Today was the latter.  I think fabric, humidity and temperature are all factors which effect the success (or failure).  I absolutely did not want to hem this fabric using any other method.  I persisted even though it meant that I had 3 booboos not including the neckline mess.  I Frey Checked the booboos and trimmed close.  This is such a free-flowing garment, no one will ever notice my mistakes.

Because it was such a crawly fabric, when it came time to stitch the “side seams” I chalked placement lines 15″ on either side of center and placed water-soluble, double-sided tape along my chalk mark.  Then I carefully arranged the top layer and pressed with my hands to make sure it “grabbed”.

I’m much happier with this garment than my face would lead you to believe.  As expected, it was easy to draft, cut and sew. The rolled hem issue a problem between me and my serger not the garment’s fault at all. Stitching the side seams creates a sleeve and armscye making this garment much easier to keep on the body than a shawl or Ruana would be. I can see adapting this pattern many ways.  For example, it’s not necessary to make a slit up the middle. With out the slit and using a more opaque fabric, this would make a lovely blouse.  It’s not necessary to make the garment the full width of the fabric either, which would allow for different sleeve lengths.  I stitched my side seams 18″ up from the hem. There could be many variations for side seams and for shaping/not shaping the corners.

It will always be a floating, roomy garment and need to be balanced by a closer fitting skirt or pants. But it can be so much fun too!




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