Usually we prefer to sew with fabric that is easier to work with than chiffon. But sometimes a special chiffon comes along and we can’t resist! At times like this we use these tips we’re sharing today.
1. Tip for sewing with chiffon – buy good quality
Even though you might find a really “good deal” on chiffon and get it for a couple dollars per yard, don’t do it! The less you pay for chiffon, the poorer the quality. If you’re going to work with chiffon, save yourself a few headaches and buy good quality! You’ll thank me 1000x over. We used really great quality John Kaldor Abstract Floral Print Chiffon Dress Fabric from Minerva. Besides the higher price point, you can recognize good quality chiffon by it’s soft hand feel and liquid drape.
2. Tip for sewing with chiffon – prewash care
Before you try to work with chiffon, we recommend prewashing it. That way if anything bad/weird/funny is going to happen to the fabric, it will happen before you spend a lot of time working with it! Prewash chiffon like you plan to launder the finished garment. For us that usually means wash on cold and hang dry. Before you wash your chiffon fabric, be sure to either serge or zigzag the raw edges. If you don’t you’ll end up with tons of area you have to cut off because it frayed in the wash. We also recommend washing it with other garments that don’t have zippers, snaps, etc. as those could tear the chiffon.
3. Tip for sewing with chiffon – choose a simple pattern
When sewing with chiffon, this is not the time to choose a difficult pattern with tons of seam lines and details, plus a complicated front placket collar combination. Since chiffon has a tendency to fray, the fewer seams you sew the better. (Look at each time the needle goes through the fabric as a potential fray spot!) We chose to use the Phoenix Blouse from Hey June Patterns. It had quite simple pattern lines, and with the good quality chiffon fabric we were using, we felt confident this would be a good match. We also took advantage of the beautiful liquid drape of this chiffon by using the butterfly sleeves from the Amalfi Dress pattern from Hey June Patterns.
4. Tip for sewing chiffon – use the right tools
When cutting, use pattern weights instead of pins. This will not only minimize the number of holes you make in the chiffon, but help hold the fabric in place while cutting. When sewing, take the time to put in a needle for delicate fabrics. (Remember the part about poking holes in the fabric above?) We use a microtex needle with a 65/9 or 70/10 grade. Use a rolled hem foot on your sewing machine when hemming so you only have to work with the hem once, not twice.
5. Tip for sewing with chiffon – finish the insides
This is not the time to skip finishing steps! If you take the time and effort to sew with chiffon, you want that garment to last and not fray to pieces the first time you launder it. This means each seam should be finished on the inside of the garment. Use french seams, a serger, a zig zag stitch, or your preferred method, but just finish them!
That’s pretty much our favorite 5 tips for sewing with chiffon fabric. If you use them, you will have more success with a finished garment made from chiffon.
Funny truth: This was one of our Make 9 in 2020 outfits…but we completely changed our plan! Here was the original idea…
Jacket Pattern: Joy Jacket by Chalk and Notch
Jacket Fabric: Tencel Denim from CaliFabrics
Jacket Lining Fabric: Floral chiffon by John Kaldor from Minerva
Oops! Not a Joy Jacket. We’ll have to find a different fabric for the lining! Stay tuned.
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3 thoughts on “5 GENIUS Tips for sewing with Chiffon Fabric”
I agree with the prewashing but often that will remove sizing from the fabric. My best tip is to treat the yardage then with a starch solution and let hang dry. This will make it easier to cut pattern pieces and sew seams. Then after finishing your garment you can rinse again to remove the starch.
Great tip, thanks! We’ll have to try that!