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  • Londa

Gift Sewing Continued…Sewing with a Sheer Knit Fabric

Updated: Jun 20, 2022

The Fabric

It’s always fun to come up with a sewn gift of love for my great niece in FL.  This sheer knit caught my eye because of the unicorns on it as I was in JoAnn’s one day.  Affirming with my sister that her granddaughter likes unicorns, I purchased just 1/2 yard of this 60″ fabric.  On another visit, I found a metallic activewear knit  (60″ wide) in perfect colors to use for the binding – purchasing just 3/8 yard.

Sheer Knit Vest with Binding

Sheer Knit Vest with Binding

The ‘Pattern’

Having decided that a long vest with deep side slits was my ‘design’, I knew all that I really needed was the armhole, shoulder, and bodice widths for her size.  Given that I was told she is a size 8 (ready-to-wear) and tall, I decided to go with one size larger – Size 10- common in the relationship between store ‘sizing’ and sewing patterns.  The ‘fit’ really isn’t much.  I simply used the shoulder width and armhole of the dress to which I’m pointing in the picture.  For the Back, I was able to sketch in a higher neckline, utilize the width of the back of the dress through the bodice, and extend the length down the side seams.  To cut the front, I added as much length as I could achieve using half of the width of the fabric, taking care to match the horizontal ‘striped effect’ at the side seams so that they matched the Back.

pattern dimension guide

Pattern for dimensions

The Construction

With metallic on the fabric, I immediately knew I could never touch it with an iron.  Up to the task – my favorite pressing cloth: silk organza!  This favorite does the trick yet allows you to see through the cloth to your project.  I did lower my iron temp to synthetic, but kept steam on, and used a clapper after steaming. I first stitched the shoulder seams, WRONG sides together, topping with a 1″ strip of the Binding fabric.  Turning under the exposed edge, flipping it over the trimmed seam allowances and topstitching with a narrow zigzag finished those seams pronto.

Silk Organza Pressing Cloth

Silk Organza Pressing Cloth

 Needle:  I used a Stretch size 75 needle for this project, and polyester thread.


Although I generally prefer to stitch side seams and then finish armholes, I felt that the lame surface on the activewear would provide a challenge on the curves of the armhole.  Therefore, I decided to do them ‘flat’ before stitching the side seams.  Below is the binding technique I utilized both here on the armholes and the neckline/front and hemline edges.  The photo below shows both the process and end result up close.

Binding Method

Binding Method

  1.  Cut 2″ crosswise strips of the knit binding fabric.

  2.  Lay RIGHT side of Binding against the INSIDE (WRONG side) of the armhole.  Stitch in a 1/2″ seam.

  3.   Turn remaining edge inwards to meet the cut edge, then turn the folded edge over towards the stitching line that you can see, aiming to just ‘cover’ the stitching.

  4. ZZ this folded edge down to finish using these settings:  Stitch length:  1.5   Stitch width:  2.0.  As you stitch, allow the left swing of the needle to swing next to the folded edge of the Binding, and right swing to penetrate the Binding.

Side Seams

Though I could certainly have bound the side seams as well, I decided at this time that binding the lower hem would be important to give the garment ‘weight’ to hang properly, and therefore binding the side seams also … would be just overkill.  There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ to these decisions, just experience and ALWAYS:  if in doubt, leave it OUT!

I left approximately 2/3 of the side seams UN-stitched. For the seam ‘finish’, I simply pressed them towards the back and topstitched.  At the top of the slit, I clipped through both seam allowances so that I could double turn both edges of the slit to ‘finish’ them as well.  For durability, I added a triangle of the Binding fabric at the top of each side seam slit.