Conquering Sheer Fabrics

Archive for the ‘Seams-4 Thread Serger’ Category

D’ates D’signs Dolman Sleeve Jacket

Like the Versa Jacket of yesterday, the D’ates D’signs Dolman Jacket works well in a variety of fabrics as long as they have drape. I’ve even used it with a light weight, very soft denim. Despite being a rather unique design, it’s also a classic shape which lends itself to multiple activities and has a large area for embellishment.  It has several pieces. A large body piece which folds up  and is stitched along the shoulder line forming the sleeves and front opening. Plus a pocket, cuffs, neckline and hem rectangular pieces.

The neckline, cuffs and hems are interfaced and stitched to the body.  I used self fabric to interface. This polyester crinkle was too sheer to disguise any interfacing.  Having never used a self-interfacing prior, I was unsure this would work. Well it not only works, but the cuff and neckband are soft against my skin.

This isn’t one of those garments with a hundred ways to wear. As I recall, the sleeves were one length. If you wanted longer or shorter, adjust the 4″ cuffs. Same with the hem because there were no guidelines and determining how to shorten was beyond me.  The neck and front bands will fold into a shawl collar shape; and  I’ve added numerous closures. Made the front bands a little wider and folded back into a small lapel or overlapped for a button. Not options in the pattern, just things I discovered over years of making it.

It is a good candidate for serger sewing. All the seams of this version were done with a 4-thread serged seam. No seams visible on the public side.  The serger made it easy to attached the curved neck, hem  and cuff lines to the corresponding rectangular pieces.

Like yesterday’s fluff of pink, this garment doesn’t get worn often. Because of the fabric it travels well. Packs down into small corners and emerges with hardly a wrinkle.  This is type fabric that can be ironed by hanging in the steam while you shower. But the color is such that it doesn’t work with all my summer wardrobe; and it is a summer garment.   Still I’ve included it here because 1) it is a sheer 2) the 4-thread serger seams were succesful and 3)self-interfacing was used.

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LJDesigns Versa Jacket

This pattern is an instant classic, IMO. Lj Designs Versa Jacket

I constructed it using a sheer polyester but the pattern would be equally as lovely in a wool crepe, rayon challis or any fabric with drape. Lyla (owner of LJDesigns and the drafter of this pattern), develops the jacket shape through clever folding and minimal stitching. I do believe that minimal stitching forces the fabric to drape into the desired shape.  Look at these “cuffs”:

They are not separate pieces of fabric. They are not interfaced. What they are is carefully drafted. I needed to mark, fold and stitch precisely. Two stitches extra and it was too long. Two stitches short and the cuff doesn’t form. I added a silver conch closure and top stitched bias tubes onto the color for embellishment.

This garment travels well. The fabric can be folded, twisted or bunched into a small space. Pulled out and shaken off to wear. The wrinkles just disappear.  Strangely, it is also soil resistant. Unlike yesterdays fluff of pink, this garment has seldom been laundered. That and because my fabric is a neutral, dark denim makes this is one of my most worn summer garments.

But the reason it is here, is because the fabric is sheer.

I used a 4-thread serger seam for most of the stitching. There are critical areas (the cuff) which had to be stitched at the SM. This time the 4-thread seams work because there are no exposed seams. Lyla made sure this would be a garment you can wear with pride.  I rolled the hem but my serger balked and made lots of loopy edges. So I turned the serging up once and top stitched.  Gorgeous finish.

A Pink Wrap

I made this so long ago, I can’t remember the details and I can’t find my pattern. I think it is my oldest, sheer garment. I thought it was a Sewing Workshop pattern named Mimosa, but the Mimosa on that site is a neat looking blouse.  This is an asymetrical, bias cut wrap. Well almost wrap, as it does have inset sleeves and a shoulder seam.  As I remember, it was two pieces: a sleeve and a large weirdly shaped body. Sewing on the correct lines forms a shoulder, neckline  and suddenly armscyes are visible. The sleeve is inserted and all the edges are finished or not if you prefer. If could be a quickly sewn garment. I remember struggling with the polyester crepe fabric that want to crawl away at the cutting table and serger.

At the time, I chose to serge the shoulder, neckline, sleeves and armscyes with a 4 thread, flat serger stitch. They’ve lasted well (the serged seams) and are not terribly visible because  (1) most are inside (2) there aren’t many seams and (3) this sheer fabric has a busy print.  Nonetheless, should I make something similar, I think I choose the serger-rolled  or serger narrow seam.

I chose to finish the yards of outside edges with 1/2″ Seam-A-Steam applied and the edge turned twice. Although this garment has been laundered several times, all these edges are stiff. I like their appearance and maybe being a little stiff is a good thing. I mean this crepe polyester tends to drops straight down. Chiffon has a floating effect, this crepe has totally surrendered to gravity.  At the time I was concerned that my 3 yards of fabric would not be enough, yet seemed like a horribly large amount of fabric to use. In truth all that yardage is what keeps this from being curve hugging and is therefore more flattering to me.  I do prefer garments which suggest feminine curves without revealing all the adipose tissue required to form those curves.

I wear this garment frequently. It is light weight and packs away to nothing either within a suitcase or purse. When pulled from the depths of wherever, it shakes out the wrinkles and envelops my figure in a lovely fluff of pink.  It doesn’t get daily wear because a) it’s a summer garment with some spring and fall wearability but not good for cold (winter) 2) I’m really focused on the monochromatic dressing to create a columnar effect during wear.  I avoid color-blocking. I think color blocking tends to shorten the figure.  I’m short enough.

I would not make another garment exactly like this which is probably why I no longer have the pattern.  For one thing it’s very distinctive.  But the real turn-off for me is that the back collar comes together in a peak with a serged seam that folds over to the public side and shows.

 

I don’t use 4-thread serger seams as decorative elements. They are, for me, strictly utilitarian and should be hidden.  Although you get different views from side to side, it really has only one look. I have on occasion tied the front edges together:

but that was to keep them out of the way of something I was doing. It’s not really flattering.

It’s a good garment, excellent summer wrap  but more of an example of what-not-to-do with sheers.  I share it again now, (pretty sure this was on my sdbev.wordpress.com blog long ago), more to document its errors; to have a place where I can review just what that type of hem and seam looks like.

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