Tips for Sewing Chiffon

Iridescent fabric
Jean-Claude Marlaud / Getty Images

Chiffon is one of many lightweight and sheer fabric, made from cotton, silk or synthetic fibers. Many people are intimidated by and afraid to sew silky, slippery. thin fabric. Don't let this type of fabric be your first attempt at sewing on a sewing machine. Gain a little experience so you won't end up frustrated.

Most lightweight fabrics drape beautifully, thus they are a great choice for dressy clothing. lingerie and sometimes home decorating projects. Lightweight fabrics tuck and gather very nicely but work best when they are sewn into simple designs without a lot of seams or details since you can see through the fabric.

  • 01 of 09

    Save Your Scraps!

    Samples of chiffon fabric

    Debbie Colgrove

    You don't have to save them forever, but save them until you are finished with your project. Use scraps to test a sewing method or your sewing machine rather than attempting to rip out stitches from your project. If you do have to remove stitching be very careful not to rip the fabric by accidentally cutting the fabric fibers instead of the sewing threads

  • 02 of 09

    Cutting Chiffon or Lightweight Fabrics

    Cutting with shears

    Tony C French / Getty Images

    Use a padded cutting board or line the cutting board with tissue paper. Apply a thin coating of spray adhesive to the tissue paper if the fabric still wants to slide about as you are attempting to cut the fabric. Be sure to use sharp fabric scissors or a new blade on your rotary cutter.

  • 03 of 09

    Pinning Chiffon or Lightweight Fabrics

    Pinning chiffon fabric

    Debbie Colgrove

    When you are pinning this lightweight sheer fabric you need to hide those heavy duty pins and use only silk or fine, sharp pins. If you don't have any, invest in a package for this fabric and give them their own pincushion so that you keep them separate from your other straight pins! Pattern weights are also helpful for fabric that pin holes will show in.

  • 04 of 09

    Starting to Sew and Seam Chiffon or Sheer Fabric

    Sewing chiffon fabric

    Debbie Colgrove

    Sheer and lightweight fabric is known to get swallowed in the throat plate opening. Be sure you are using the smallest opening throat plate available for your machine (with the correct needle position setting). Use a stitch setting of 12 to 20 stitches per inch. Hold the ends of the threads behind the needle as you start the seams. If you are sewing without tissue or stabilizer, starting and stopping seams may need that extra stabilizer.

    Because your fabric is so sheer, all of the inside construction can be seen on the outside. This type of fabric is not the place to use a 4 thread serger stitch. A French Seam or stitching two rows of stitching close to each other and then trimming close to the stitching are your best methods for constructing seams.

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  • 05 of 09

    Thread for Chiffon or Sheer Lightweight Fabric

    Thread collection

    Debbie Colgrove

    The fabric is made up of very fine fibers so you need a thread that is not heavier than the fabric. Use good quality, fine thread that is cotton or polyester cotton-covered thread for this sewing job.

    Bobbin thread is an option to explore for barely visible seams and is your best choice to hand baste the fabric so that it stays in place as you are machine sewing. If you still have doubts about thread quality please be sure to visit.

  • 06 of 09

    Sewing Machine Needles

    Debbie Colgrove

    Sewing machine needles make a difference. Change your sewing machine needle to a fine needle. Remember the smaller the number of the needle size, the finer the needle so in this case, you want a 70/10, 65/9 or 60/8 size needle in your sewing machine.

  • 07 of 09

    Sewing Tips for Chiffon and Sheer Lightweight Fabric

    Sewing Stabilizers

    Debbie Colgrove

    Place tissue paper or lightweight tear-away stabilizer between or under the layers of fabric helps to prevent distorted seams and stretching fabric. Hand basting with bobbin thread also allows you to avoid sewing with pins that can cause the stretching and distorting at the sewing machine.

  • 08 of 09

    Interfacing and Edges

    An assortment of interfacing

    Debbie Colgrove

    When interfacing is required, use Silk Organza, a lightweight sheer fabric that is strong and stable. You can also use a second layer of your fabric in many instances.

    Do not make deep, wide facings when you are using Chiffon or very sheer fabric. To finish edges, use a bias tape facing or binding. It may be possible to make your own bias tape from your fabric.

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  • 09 of 09

    Hemming Chiffon Fabric

    Hemming chiffon fabric

    Debbie Colgrove

    A deep hem will most certainly show through the fabric so a rolled hem, sewn with a serger or a narrow turned under hem ​is best.