GC Home | Register |
Town | Info
for Sheer Success
By Pauline Richards, Total Embellishment
published in the Spring 1998 issue
of Total Embellishment Newsletter.)
Have you ever passed up a fabric you
absolutely love because it was just TOO BOLD or Too Bright? The
next time this happens, grab the bright fabric and race right to
the sheer fabrics. Experiment with the different effects you can
create by using the sheer fabric as an overlay for the bold,
bright print. The sheer becomes a "partial mask,"
taming or toning down a bold fabric. It will enable you to
utilize the bold fabric in a new way, in fact you actually create
an entirely new fabric. Sheers can also enrich fabrics by
changing a simple cotton into a fabric suitable for evening wear.
Try these ideas for sheer pleasure:
- Experiment with a variety of sheers.
You'll soon discover than some are more translucent than
others; some hide the base fabric more completely, while
others shield very little color. Organdy, organza, voile,
netting and lace can all be considered. Try every
combination, in natural light if possible, to get the
- A sheer doesn't have to be positioned
completely flat on the base fabric but can be gently
folded, to further hide particularly bright areas on the
base fabric or to give a light and dark effect. Folds can
be small and subtle, or large and exaggerated. The sheer
fabric can also be scrunched prior to application for a
totally different look.
- Although silk sheers produce exquisite
results, less expensive fabrics can also create a
stunning look. Don't overlook 118"-wide drapery
sheers as an economical possibility.
- Consider using a double needle to sew
pintucks in the sheer layer prior to using it as a
topper. Stitched pintucks will create evenly spaced
shadows. The 6mm-wide double needle will create the
deepest tucks but any width can be used.
- Try positioning a lightweight batting
behind the base fabric and overlay, then machine quilting
all the layers. Shirley Kamen of Rolling Hills,
California made a spectacular jacket using this
technique. She chose a wild drapery print for her base
fabric, black organdy for the sheer layer and Warm and
Naturalª for the batting, quilted together with gold
metallic thread. Note: Shirley's custom jackets are all
signed with her Yelrihs label (Shirley spelled backwards)
sell for $400 and up!
- Cover only parts of the base fabric.
Experiment with using an overlay only over specific
motifs or colors to create the desired look. Also
consider using overlays on the collar, cuff or yoke area
to create the look of coordinating fabric. Sulky's
KK2000ª Spray Adhesive will help tame and stabilize an
overlay. Sew around the edges with a straight stitch to
secure the overlay, and then satin stitch to cover all
- Cut geometric shapes from several
coordinating sheer scraps. Arrange them on a base fabric,
then cover with a sheer overlay. The shapes will show up
as subtle dark areas. Stitch around each shape to secure
it in place and highlight it. Choose metallic thread for
the outline, or couch a yarn or decorative thread. A
simple row of satin stitching in a lustrous thread is
elegant and somewhat understated.
Sheers couldn't be more in fashion than
this spring and summer. Look for great prints and geometrics in
single and double georgettes, organzas and voiles. Previously
relegated to the special occasion and bridal sections of your
fabric store, they are now an entire section themselves, along
with other daytime prints.
If you're hesitant to indulge in a sheer
fabric because it's just "not you," consider layering
them for color play. Lining can also be used where needed, but
let the sheers be sheer in areas where modesty isn't a question,
like sleeves, overlays, collars and cuffs. A basic slip dress
with sheer overdress is a great summer look, and you can wear the
under dress with other things, like a jacket, tunic or other
wearable art topper.
Your serger is great for sheers-use it for
narrow seams that don't show through, and for decorative rolled
edge finishes on hemlines. If you have trouble with
"pokies," try serging over a narrow pressed fold, then
trimming away the second layer after your stitching is complete.
More information on
Back to the Get Creative!
Back to Meet the Get