Sewing with slippery sheer Fabrics

BCEE07CAAF-FDFA-4B7D-8321-ACAAF50355D7If you’ve been in a fabric store recently, you’ve no doubt seen a large variety of beautiful chiffon fabrics. Many garments available in clothing stores use chiffon for beautiful tops, overlays on skirts or party dresses, or even scarves. Sheer and slippery fabrics can be challenging to work with. Not to fear, JanomeGirl is here ( now I wish I had a cape and a fancy super hero suit lol). Follow along for some tips and tricks on how I constructed this chiffon Kimono from Jalie Patterns.


One of my most favourite ways to work with slippery fabric is to use a french seam. French seams date back to the early 1900s, and many heirloom garments feature this type of finishing.  It’s quite simple to do a french seam, as pictured below.


Let’s use 1/2” for an example.  Place your pattern pieces wrong sides together (like it would look after seams have been done) and stitch the allowance of 1/4”. Trim it down to 1/8”. This takes care of the raw edge which will now be folded inside the seam allowance. Flip your garment to the inside (now right sides together) and press the seam allowance and then stitch again at 1/4”. Voila! A neat tidy seam allowance, perfect for fragile and sheer fabrics.  Do check the seam allowance on the pattern you are using if you intend to use French seams. You may need to increase the size you cut out slightly if the seam allowance is small. French seams do use more fabric than other seam finishes.

There is also a really amazing notion that works very well for slippery fabric – it’s called Wonder Tape and is available at most fabric and quilt shops. It features a wash-away double sided tape, which secures your seam allowances before you sew. This is really helpful with tight seam allowances when making lingerie or narrow hems.


I also used the pivot function on the sewing machine, which leaves the needle down in the fabric and raises the foot slightly so you can adjust the fabric as you sew. This allows you to closely pin your seam allowance and then be able to remove the pins easily.


Another accessory that is helpful is the Janome Acufeed Flex foot, specifically the narrow foot. It maintains continuous contact and feeding with the fabric and helps to prevent slipping while sewing.

Another tip is to use the straight stitch needle plate when you are sewing soft, slippery fabrics. This prevents any hassles with fabric being pulled down into the bobbin area – something these flimsy fabrics can do – to annoy us of course! lol.

You may also find that some of the heirloom stitches are perfect for fragile fabrics, so make sure you use a new needle with your chiffon so that it does not cause snags or runs in the fabric. You willneed to use the zig-zag needle plate if you choose a decorative stitch.


I hope you feel empowered to try something new with a chiffon or sheer, delicate fabric!

Until next time,


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