Sheer fabrics are so pretty but working with them is not always user friendly. Here are some tips for sewing organza and sheer fabrics in general.
How to sew Organza
I love sheer fabrics, especially organza which is super great to use in holiday projects, sew beautiful, flowy curtains or to make festive garments like wedding or prom dresses. But sewing organza can be such a big pain! The thought of it might scare you off at first, especially if you are not as experienced in working with sheer fabrics. Use these tips for sewing with organza to conquer your fears and make beautiful projects for yourself or your home.
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I’m not an experienced sewer when it comes to sheer fabrics in general, even though I did manage to sew a few projects using lightweight fabrics. I even made my own curtains and window treatments which was a huge projects, I have sooo many windows and I wanted full curtains which meant a lot of material was involved.
Before making the mentioned project, I used organza in a pretty simple one because I didn’t want to venture too far, I just wasn’t ready for something more elaborated. I needed a little practice before moving forward with larger and more difficult projects. My house had no curtains at that point and I wanted to make them myself. These tips for sewing organza proved to be very helpful and while the project took me some time to finish, I was pretty pleased with the results.
Want more sewing tips?
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- DIY hem gauge
- Adjusting bobbin tension on sewing machines
- DIY seam guide
- Sewing needle types & size chart
I think organza was the best match for this particular project since it’s sheer, has a lot of body and not much drape. Organza is typically available in several different fibers with most common being silk, nylon and polyester. Silk is the softest while nylon or polyester offer a crisper hand. Mine was nylon which was just great for what I needed and wanted in my curtains.
There are also matte and shimmery types and some are embellished with design motifs making organza perfect to use in formal wear. No matter your choice, these simple tricks for sewing organza will get you through your project successfully!
- organza fabric
- pressing iron
- flannel fabric
- microtex needle
- cotton thread
- sewing machine
- fine pins
- non slip ruler
- fabric weights
- sharp scissors
- tape – optional
- There’s no need to pre-wash organza as it will soften it. Unless of course you need it soft.
- Do press organza if needed though. Adjust the pressing iron temperature accordingly. I used the lowest setting for my pressing iron. Use dry pressing instead of steam, I find steam a real trouble maker when it comes to organza and other sheer fabrics.
- Since it’s quite difficult to get a clean cut on sheer, slippery fabrics such as organza, use these tips for keeping the fabric still while cutting. Using a large, straight surface, place your organza fabric over a large piece of flannel fabric before pressing (I was so lucky that my mom made me some bed sheets out of flannel for winter time! perfect size for my current needs). Lay it out straight and square and press using the method above. If unsure, place a piece of cotton cloth on top of your fabric before pressing. Then place a long non slippery ruler as close to the area where you’ll do the cut but leaving enough space to cut without having to pull the fabric. Place lots of fabric or pattern weights over the ruler then measure and mark with a fabric marker (make sure it’s a good quality one and that it comes off easily). You can also tape the opposite side of the organza to the working surface before cutting to make it even more stable and less slippery. Cut using very sharp sheers since any drag will distort the fabric.
- Pinning the fabric won’t get you too far and can also damage the fabric but if you must use pins throughout your sewing project, use very fine, sharp pins and place them closer together. Also here’s a little pinning trick that is valid for all sheer fabrics but particularly useful for organza which is probably the most difficult to measure, cut and sew: add small pieces of scrap fabric or paper to the spots where you need to add the pins. This way the pins will stay put.
- Sewing organza requires a very sharp, small size needle (a 70/10 Microtex needle would normally do the trick but if you can still hear the needle pushing through the fabric, switch to an even smaller needle).
- Use regular weight cotton thread.
- Adjust presser foot tension as indicated in this tutorial.
- Use smaller stitches than you would in a regular project.
- Before staring a larger project, test on a piece of fabric that all your settings, needle and thread are correct for your project.
- Organza might pucker while sewing so a good idea would be to hold the fabric in front and behind the presser foot while sewing. It makes sewing a little harder so sew slow.
- Do not backstitch as it will show and also distort the fabric; sheer fabrics get caught in the feed dogs easily when a backstitch is used. A piece of tissue paper placed at the start and end of a seam is helpful for preventing puckering.
- To finish hems and seams in organza, make them as narrow and tidy as possible. A narrow hem is great, using either a serger, my preferred method here or a rolled hem.
- A nice method for finishing seams is sewing a straight stitch seam, and then a narrow zig zag seam right next to it. Finish by trimming the fabric as close to the zig zag stitch as possible, using care not to cut through the stitch.
- Another great way to finish seams is a French seam.
- Do the hem as a last step after allowing the project to hang for a few hours; this helps the fabric to stretch out and ensures an even hem.