A blouse of “sheer” beauty
Just to prove that I will not be beaten by a little bit of sheer fabric, I’ve opted to make a new top for Gemma out of this tricky stuff.
For this make I’ve elected to use a pattern that I already had in my stash, it’s the Simplicity New Look 6035 one that I made Gemma’s tweed skirt from. It includes a few different aspects such as gathers, and binding arm and neck edges.
This pattern would work great with a lightweight cotton too, but as I say, I’m going to do it in this gorgeous georgette which in actual fact the queen of awesome fabrics Deborah used on Episode 3 of the Great British Sewing Bee for her blouse, you can find her blog Dfabrication here.
Right, enough talking, let’s get down to it.
I begin by in my usual style, cutting out the pattern by weighing it down my trusty stones and using my rotary cutter. This really helps as sheer fabrics slip around a fair bit, so using this method ensures less movement and a more precise cut.
There is no escaping the pins for me on this make though. Ignore this at your peril. With sheer fabrics the slightest of breezes or hand movements can result in an ugly finish, so I take extra care when joining the pieces together. A few minutes more spent here is well worth it.
In order to stop the fabric distorting out of shape patterns sometimes include a row of stay-stitching. Basically this is a long stitch length around the curve of the neck line to add some stability. This pattern also includes a row of gathering stitches, you can do this with the machine on a long length with the tension backed off a bit or simply by hand with a running stitch. Once gathered I then secure with a straight stitch and remove the gathering one.
I then proceed to join the shoulder and side seams. For cotton a normal straight stitch and then over edge zigzag will do just fine, but sheers command a bit more respect if you ask me. So I opt for a French seam.
For those of you who’ve not tried this before, I’d recommend giving it a go, but maybe on some offcuts first. It makes it look so super smart and stronger too.
It feels a bit weird to begin with, Basically wrong side to wrong side you stitch the seams using only half the seam allowance, then turn the garment through, press the sewn edges and sew again on a slightly wider seam allowance than before. This makes a lovely little envelope which encapsulates all the stitches and raw edges. With the added advantage of making the garment stronger and more comfortable to wear.
I then focus on the neck edge binding. This bais cut strip is joined at each end and pressed up 1cm on just one of the raw edges. This loop is then pinned on the un-pressed edge to the neck edge, easing and stretching where necessary to match dots and notches. I stitch with a 1cm allowance.
Now for a little fiddly bit. Here I turn in that pressed edge, tucking in the raw edges and stitchline and pin like crazy.
From here I top stitch very carefully and slowly around the neck edge, ensuring the raw edges and previous stitches are all hidden.
Then I do this same process for the armholes. Starting my stitching at the join on the side seam.
To finish I take the lower hem and double turn before a simple straight stitch and squaring off of the corners.
There you have it. One rather cute sheer blouse, and fortunately only one judge to keep happy. Gemma what do you think?