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finishing seams on chiffon fabric
am I on to something or a little mad?
rmusic1
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rmusic1
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Date: 9/3/11 5:19 PM

I'm making a regency style dress with a silk chiffon overlay. This is the first time I've worked with this type of fabric. Boy, does it make you work. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for when I bought the lovely innocent looking fabric!

It ravels horribly, pleats frequently when sewing, slithers all over the place, is a nightmare to cut out and water marks really easily.

The sense and sensibility website recommended doing a flat felled finish to the seams. I tried to iron a crease so I could then cut one side of the seam and fold over the remaining side. Hah, did I mention chiffon doesn't crease well either?

So what I've ended up doing is getting my hemming foot out and making a "baby hem" on the edge of the seam ends. All the nasty fluffy bits vanish, it looks neat and narrow, and from the outside of the fabric you get a nice fine line of fabric following the seam. As it is so sheer anyway it doesn't really have much bulk to it.

Would anyone have a better idea of how to treat chiffon seams in future, or is this worth repeating? I'm interested to know...

Miss Fairchild
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Miss Fairchild
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In reply to rmusic1 <<


Date: 9/3/11 5:34 PM

This is a fabulous solution, especially if you don't have a serger that does a two-thread rolled hem. I'd say you are onto something! I gave up working with chiffon because I found it so fiddly, and I didn't have the sense to do what you've done (either that, or I was too lazy..) You could also fold the seam allowance over, and make a flat fell seam, like what is on jeans, but I think the fabric might buckle or stretch if you did that, especially if it was near some kind of a bias edge. Great solution!

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JillyBe
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JillyBe
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In reply to rmusic1 <<


Date: 9/3/11 5:40 PM

This is exactly what I just did recently when working with some sheer silk habotai. I had done a rolled hem (with a vintage Straight Stitch machine) & since I had yards of seams to work with, along with some time restraints, I didn't really want to do French Seams on all of them. So I thought "why not just finish the seam edges the same way?" It worked perfectly, and as you say, with a sheerish fabric, there's very little bulk. Worked perfectly, imho!

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a7yrstitch
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a7yrstitch  Friend of PR
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In reply to rmusic1 <<


Date: 9/3/11 6:10 PM

Great idea! I'm lucky to have an odd little blind hem attachment for my old Pfaff 1229. The attachment causes the thread to be pulled to the edge of the fabric at intervals like a serger but with no tension on the fabric at all. It's the little spring loaded attachment that takes all the tension. There is a Pfaff 1229, Excellent on ebay right now that shows a picture of the little gadget. It's in the 5th picture nested in it's own box at the bottom of the picture and inside the accessory tray. I would sure like to know if there is anything like this for any other machines. I start all of my chiffon projects by using this attachment on the raw fabric edge, not to hem, but to cast on a delicate serged type edge. I've used it for this so often that I didn't know it was for blind hemming for years.

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tourist
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tourist  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/3/11 7:15 PM

Wash away wonder tape and my serger are my best friends when working with chiffon. I have actually switched to organza as much as I can because it is so much more cooperative. But I did just find a single strand of blue silk chiffon thread in my hair yesterday and I haven't touched that fabric in months.

I was reassured recently when I saw some professionally made gowns that had less than perfect rolled hems on chiffon. Mine are not so bad, after all.

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Lena Merrin
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Lena Merrin
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Date: 9/3/11 8:43 PM

I bet you ladies are going to want to throw things at me, but the easiest way to work with chiffon is to gelatine it. YEAH, you heard it right! Starch makes it too rigid and distorts the grain, where gelatine is just perfect, does not stain and washes out beautifully.

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JillyBe
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JillyBe
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In reply to Lena Merrin <<


Date: 9/3/11 9:16 PM

Definitely NOT throwing things at you, but I want to know more! Do you dissolve the gelatin in a bunch of water & soak the fabric ahead of time? Or something else? And does it work with other similar fabrics?

Details, please!

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Sew it seams
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In reply to Lena Merrin <<


Date: 9/3/11 9:21 PM

Yes! Details, please!

The gelatine does not gum up your machine needle?

marec
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marec  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/3/11 9:35 PM

if no gelatin, how about strawberry jello?

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JillyBe
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JillyBe
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In reply to marec <<


Date: 9/3/11 9:52 PM

Well, I suppose we could all have a jello party if it didn't work...

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a blog about creativity, sewing, vintage sewing machines, and...... life :)

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