Chiffon Trials and Tribulations

Ok I have to say I have prepared myself for working with "chiffon". I did my homework and educated myself about the"slippery ", "hard to cut", "hard to sew" yet beautiful fabric. I thought to myself, how hard can it be?

Let's just say ...it was the most intimidating experience I have had in all crafty adventures to date. My sewing back ground is a quilter, then I branched off in children's clothes and accessories. So mostly I have worked with cottons and as every sewer knows they are the ideal fabric to work with, or should I say predictable and little effort to get a good line of stitching. The most difficult knitting I have ever done is lace which is also my favorite. I love lace weight yarn and the ethereal, light as feathers qualities it has. THIS WAS WORSE THAN MAKING MY OWN LACE!

Every step was a struggle. Starting with the cutting of the fabric. The material is so delicate when you pin your pattern down they want you to pin in seam allowances only. No problem that was a no brainer. I had a huge circular piece I had to cut so I laid the fabric on my rug. This was actually a cutting tip:

Lay your chiffon on a nappy fabric (in my case the rug) to prevent slippage and movement of the chiffon.

So this piece cut out with no problems :) From here it all went down hill because I thought the other TIPS I READ were not necessary. I WAS SOOO WRONG. To save time I thought I would lay the chiffon on my large cutting board with no tissue paper sandwiching the fabric. That was another tip:

Sandwich your chiffon between tissue paper when cutting out your pattern to prevent movement of your material.

I used my rotary cutter and cut the back piece of fabric out. I used chalk to mark my darts. I did not have a pen that would show up on the color of chiffon I choose and I thought if I mark it with chalk as delicately as possible IT WOULD BE OK.  Guess what the next tip was:

Do not use chalk to mark on chiffon, the delicate nature of this fabric will pucker and warp the fabric because of the drag and pressure you apply to mark  with chalk.

I did take heed to the next tip:

Always use a new needle in your sewing machine to prevent snags in your fabric. I used a 70/10 needle.

So I sewed my darts in the piece and ironed the darts only to discover the darts were not symmetrical at all!! Also the puckering from the chalk was not coming out with the iron. So I threw it away and walked away from my sewing machine too scared to continue. Two hours later I worked up enough nerve and started over again USING THE TIPS DESCRIBED ABOVE.

I was very worried about the fraying and did try stay stitching the fabric all around the edges. This was also a tip:

Stay stitch your openings to prevent distortion and fraying. 

The fabric is so delicate that stitching thru a single layer sort of bunches the fabric a bit and I found this made sewing up the raw edges together were more of a nightmare because of the puckering I got from the stay stitching.  So I ended up having to pick this out. :(

I did french seams so that it looked pretty from the inside.

Fine delicate seams such as french seams are recommended when working with chiffon.

The sleeve seams I just folded under twice in small hem and stitched this. The neck line and front of the top I thought about the nature of this fraying fabric and used this to my advantage. I thought it would add a nice soft texture to this see through fabric. I added a trim like I did with my rag jackets and top stitched this in place and then snipped 1/4 inch snips to produce the fray.

The bottom of this tunic is all on a curve which will make hemming difficult so I though running it through my serger with some wooly nylon and using a rolled hem would be pretty. I used water-soluble stabilizer when serging to prevent the rolled hem from pulling away from the fabric. Which is also a tip when serging.

Use a water-soluble stabilizer when doing a rolled hem with chiffon to prevent the material from pulling away from the fabric. (Also make sure you have a brand new needle in your serger)

Here is my finished project....it's far from perfect but this is the first time I ever altered an extra small "Barbie" like measurements and added major inches to alter this for myself. Also first time ever working with chiffon.