How many sheers lurk unused in your fabric hoard? Do they weave fairy dust into chiffon, with a good dose of something more potent than oxytocin? They must. It’s guaranteed that I’ll bond instantly with the stuff and pay no thought to the tedious job of finding a good match in underlining in the right weight.
Obviously, you are probably thinking, I just need a SamCam wardrobe adviser, a snip at £53,000. Such a fashion hound could sniff out the right underwear to blend tastefully and discretely with my diaphanous creations. Why fret over a decency preserving lining, invest in a drawerfull of matching slips and let the sheer do its thing unfettered. Honestly, that is probably fine if you don’t need the kind of underpinning that comes with ugly inch wide elastic straps and strange ridges and metallic bits that set off airport scanners. But I notice that the trim style icon Kate takes no chances. If this sheer front panel isn’t underlined I’ll eat my hat.
To get to the point, sheer purchase indiscipline is evident in my sewing stash. I couldn’t remember when I bought this black patterned sheer with tiny sequins, but it felt like at least a decade of folding and unfolding had gone into its storage, so this week I had a to hell with it moment.
I grabbed the pattern most likely to fit one daughter and fiddled with it slightly, making the short A line skirt into a flared midi, and cut it out.
The best I could find for mounting the bodice part and making a part lining for the skirt was another sheer, black with small printed silver dots.
That’s the back of the bodice, the front also has waist darts and a side bust dart.
If you’ve never set about mounting one fabric on another, I have only one major tip. Tack like fun. It’s tempting, when you want to get the show on the road, to imagine that the layer you have on your cutting table, on which you placed the pieces already cut out in the top layer, will cling like a baby monkey hanging on to its mum as she swings through the trees, and a few pins will do. I actually read the phrase ‘pinning can be basting too’ on a forum recently. Uh huh.
Tack all round the edges after you’ve smoothed the layers, tack round darts and anywhere that might have a structural function. Do this with the fabrics flat on the table before lifting them at all. Don’t be tempted by the thought of doing the tacking on a tray in front of the tv. You’ll thank me for this when you set in the zipper. Nothing beats the glow of smugness when you don’t get bubbles between the layers and it goes in first try, zero unpicking.
I finished the seams like so.
Trim away two layers of top fabric, snipping off any sequins in the seam allowance, and one layer of underlining to 5mm.
Trim the other layer of underling to about 1cm. Wrap it round the 5mm bits and stitch it down to the seam allowance. Press the seam wrapped edge underneath.
I still wasn’t loving the project. Would the fabric look naff, cheapo sequins sewn seemingly randomly to the print underneath? And, big question, would the flared skirt hang right?
Designing a flare is easy in theory. You slash and spread the pattern or block where you want the folds to fall. In practice, how it falls differs with fabric. Would this end up with the dreaded side pokes, or waves wrapping round the legs? I ‘drafted’ this one on the fly – slashing it until I’d got to the full width of the fabric without much mental processing. It’s not my size but I just had to slip it on to check.
Doubts shelved. The mirror shot tells you little, but sequin oddities, and flare worries vanished. Sheer magic, swishy, filmy, fun. Who cares if it was cheap, it feels like a $million.