How to Sew Sheer and Lace Fabrics

Sheer fabrics can be a challenge to sew. They are transparent, somewhat fragile, and have a tendency to creep. They are also beautiful and elegant, so don’t let the challenge hold you back! Crisp sheers – organza, voile, organdy, and handkerchief linen – are easier to cut and sew than soft sheers and are fine or tailored items such as shirts. Soft sheers – bastiste, eyelet, chiffron, and georgette – and open weaves, such as net and lace, are better for loosely fitted garments with fewer tailored details.

Because all the seams in a sheer or lace fabric are visible from the outside, they should be narrow and neat. French seams and flat-fell seams are best for these fabrics. Use short stitches (12 to 18 stitches per inch [2.5cm]), a straight-stitch presser foot, and a straight stitch throat plate (if you have them). Otherwise, work with a general-purpose presser foot. If the fabric still slips, try an even-feed foot.

  • Prewash the fabric, following the fabric care instructions.
  • Before laying out the pattern, fold the fabric right side out, so the less slippery wrong sides are together.
  • Follow the “with nap” layout has a sheen or pattern.
  • For laces and fabrics with definite pattern, match pieces at the seams.
  • To prevent the fabric from being pulled through the throat plate at the beginning of the seam. Start sewing on the stabilizer and then stitch onto fabric.
  • Set the iron on a low temperature setting and increase only as needed.
  • Hold both thread ends as you take the first few stitches so they don’t tangle.
  • Apply liquid fray preventer to cut the edges if they fray.
  • Instead of backstitching, shorten the stitch at the beginning and of the seam or knot the threads.
  • To prevent puckers, place tear-away stabilizer or tissue paper under the fabric and stitch through all layers. Remove the paper carefully so you don’t distort the stitches.