Friday, March 16, 2012

Chiffon Nightmares

I've been working on a super-secret project (probably the hugest I've ever tackled!) involving chiffon, and let me just say...I take back everything I ever said about interminable circle skirt hems. I will take sewing twice and ironing thrice any day over the what-feels-like-miles of rolled hem in this dress. I swear, last night I went to sleep and dreamed about doing rolled hems. And they were not good dreams.

I'm getting flashbacks just looking at this.
While I'm thrilled to have discovered that my machine came with a rolled hem foot (I can't even imagine trying this dress without one!), I've also discovered that (at least for me) the learning curve is pretty steep when it comes to using it successfully with chiffon. Of course, it probably doesn't help that for my first chiffon project, I chose (more like, I could afford) a cheap polyester crinkly chiffon in black. So let's just get this straight: I can't press it (can we start a petition to ban fabrics that can't hold a pressed crease, but can hold a wrinkle forever?), it's slippery as the dickens (are the dickens even slippery?), it's pre-crinkled so it's impossible to straighten out, and I can't see the thread I just sewed in it so that I can pick it out. Brilliant choice!

Anyway, for your amusement and scorn, have a look at my horrendous rolled hem. One day, future-Dreamstress-blogger is going to look at this and comment on how this sad home seamstress didn't know what she was doing. Please don't laugh too hard.

None of the tutorials I found say anything about how to hem a pointy bit in chiffon.

But in the grand scheme of things, it's not going to matter because the dress as a whole (when you're not staring up close at my hems!) is fantastic! I can't wait to show you!

14 comments:

  1. I have quite a few chiffon fabrics but not used them yet. I'm dreading cutting into them cos of all I hear about chiffons. Weldone, keep up the good work. Can't wait to see the finished product.

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  2. Awwww...I'm not laughing at the bad hems in my vintage garments. I think they are kind of sweet. It reminds me that not everyone, everywhere was a perfect seamstress. And I feel better about the things that I suck at! And I love seeing a garment that is beautifully made in 95% of the finishes, and has one thing that is a little wonky. Because you just know that was the one thing she couldn't master - and we all have those! Perfect everywhere garments are boring!

    Rolled hems in chiffon are the devil. Sometimes you get lucky, and they work well, but mostly they don't. I generally try them on some scraps of my fabric and, (confession here) if they don't work well, I cheat and do a picot hem, or a buttonhole hem. I can't wait until I have space/money/a real reason for a baby overlocker so I can do my chiffon hems with that!

    And I have never found a satisfactory way to hem a pointy bit of chiffon myself. I generally do my best with a rolled hem or one of the other techniques I mentioned, and then hand-sew the loose thread ends back in to tidy it up.

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    1. I need to investigate these other hem options! Thanks for all the reassurances re: hemming. If I decide I care enough, I might go back and hand-sew those pointy bits...

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  3. I am in awe of your bold adventures in chiffon. Chiffon is my Everest. I have a lot of Everests.
    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

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    1. I, too, have many Everests. I would even go so far as to say that I have a whole Himalayan range. And I don't know if I particularly climbed this Everest so much as made a valiant effort past Base Camp 3 and then turned around when it started storming.

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  4. Not sure if this will help with your crinkly fabric, but I have had much better luck with doing a zig-zag rolled hem---it's not quite the same neat edge, but I find it's way easier and even if a few bits stick out they're much less obnoxious-looking. Basically use your rolled-hem foot as normal but set your machine to zig-zag over it, so that the zig-zag encloses the little roll.

    Making sure your fabric edge is perfectly smooth (no jags from cutting) and free of loose threads helps a bit, too. You have to watch both edges (the fabric edge and the fold) to make sure they go into the little roller thing at the exact right point.

    But mostly it's just a pain in the butt. Also, chiffon is the devil. :)

    Now I am all curious about your mega project, though :)

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    1. I'm going to have to try that zig-zag rolled hem on my scraps! I got better at watching my edges while using the roll-hem foot, but eventually I got very tired and it was late and so there we are.

      You always have the most helpful tips -- thanks ever so much!

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  5. Can't wait to see your super secret project!!!

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  6. I love the chiffon venting. I have had a run in or two with the blasted material myself! I bet the result is fantastic though.

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  7. I've hemmed polyester chiffon before. What you need to do is dab starch along the edge and then iron it dry and it will be easier to hem using the roll hem foot.

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    1. Thanks! I'll have to try that next time!

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  8. I can't wait to see the finished garment!!!!

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  9. ARGH what tricky fabric! Can't wait to see it!

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  10. Well done for being able to use chiffon, that is tricky! I definitely want to get one of these foots now! Looking forward to seeing the finished piece! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk/

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