Sewing Tips Newsletter – Issue 3

Sewing Tips Newsletter
by Jenny T.

Sewing sheer fabrics can be VERY frustrating… especially if you don’t know all the “rules” for sewing sheer fabrics. The material is slippery… the pins rip the fabric… the sewing machine jams up… and the side seams on your curtains end up too short! Argh! I’ve had the same problems too. There are some simple rules you can follow that will give you positive results when sewing shear fabrics.

In this issue:

1. How to sew sheer fabrics

2. Ask Jenny T. Now

3. What’s new in Simple Sewing Projects

5. Decorating Advice

And now… on to this week’s sewing tip!


Sewing Tip #3: 12 Tips On How To Sew Sheer Fabric

In this lesson, you’re going to learn 12 critical techniques for successfully sewing sheer fabrics. You can apply these tips to your window treatments and to your garments. Try to apply all of the techniques explained here for the best result.

The video for this lesson is at

Cutting Your Sheer Fabric

1. One of the best ways to cut sheer material is to determine where you want to make the cut, and then remove one or two threads at that location. This will leave a straight line to cut along.

2. Use scissors with serrated blades or a rotary cutter to reduce fabric slippage as you cut.

Your Sewing Machine

3. Use a small, single-hole throat plate when sewing straight seams. This prevents toe fabric from being “swallowed” into the machine. A narrow straight stitch foot and / or flat-bottom presser foot may also be helpful.

4. If you do not have these machine attachments, consider moving the needle to the far left to provide support on three sides of the fabric. This is what I do. This allows for the fabric seam to be supported under the presser foot.

5. Set the stitch length to 1.5 or 2 (15 to 20 stitches per inch). This is less than what you normally should have it set at. You’ll discover that reducing the stitch length will help prevent the sheer fabric from “shrinking” as you sew it.

6. Use an eight, nine or 10 size needle made especially for very sheer and lightweight fabrics.

7. Use very fine polyester or extra fine cotton-wrapped polyester thread

Sewing Seams

8. Since most sheer garments or sheer curtains are not lined, you’ll need to treat your seams a little differently. Here are 2 styles of seams that you can use when piecing your sheer fabric.

1. French Seams – A french seam is a nice way to hide the raw edges of your fabric when piecing your fabric. You can watch a video on how to sew a french seam at

2. Double stitched seam – Here’s another nice way to the raw edges of your fabric when seaming your sheers. This style also creates a decorative top stitching. You can watch a video on how to sew a double stitched seam at

Sewing Hems and Side Seams

9. For a bottom hem, fold up your fabric twice and create a wide hem… like 5″ or more.

10. Apply a lightweight interfacing designed for sheer fabrics. This will add body to the fabric and make sewing the side seams and bottom hem a LOT easier.

11. For side seams, make sure you’ve tested on samples before sewing. A common problem is having the side seams “shrink” and becoming shorter than the rest of the curtain. The only true way to avoid this is to hand stitch the side seams in place. But this is slow. So, before you sew the side seams….


12. It is absolutely worth your time to sew with your stitch settings on some sample sheer fabric before you actually sew your project. You can avoid many expensive mistakes this way. Make sure you are sewing the same number of layers of fabric when making this sample. And take notes so that you remember all your settings.

Discover video and audio of even more sewing tips, how-to’s and resources by visiting You’ll even be able to subscribe to these weekly sewing tips and how-to’s and receive them as a podcast through your iTunes or podcast player.


Ask Jenny T Now

While you wait for the next sewing tip, be sure to visit and submit your sewing question. Your question maybe answered in my next podcast or newsletter!

Question from Brenda: Where can I find a clutch roller for roman shades?

Answer: visit

Question from Linda: not a question right now but I really want to see how you put in those(I can not type nasty words) zippers. Most instructions are lame,confusing or just obscure. looking foreward to the next time.

Answer: I have quite a few videos on sewing zippers at

Plus I just added a complete video series on sewing a skirt with an invisible zipper.

Question from Tessie: I am making sheers out of a “silky” fabric. The hems did well but when i try to hem the sides, the fabric does not lay flat the entire length. How can i keep the sides smooth and flat?

Answer: The reason this is happening is the sewing machine is taking up fabric… and creating a subtle gathering and twisting of fabric. This is causing your fabric to not lay flat. Follow the tips in this newsletter to help improve this. To fix the already sewn fabric, you can try using a hot iron to stretch the fabric out some. But be careful to not burn your fabric.

Visit and submit your sewing question today.


What’s New This Month In

1. Step by step illustrated instructions for sewing a pleated cut out swag.

2. Step by step illustrated instructions for sewing jabots.

3. How To Sew Buttons Video Series, which includes how to make custom fabric covered buttons. ** This project will be posted soon **

4. A complete video series of me – Jenny T. – sewing a skirt with an invisible zipper using an easy sewing pattern. This was so much fun!

5. Project of the month: Grocery Bag Totes with reinforced handles and bottoms to withstand all of your heavy duty items! ** This project will be posted soon **

6. Starting June 22nd, my first online class will start. I will be using my living room as the case study and I will be designing, sewing and installing cut-out swags with drapes. This class will last 6 weeks. I don’t have the complete outline yet… I’ll post sign up instructions and the schedule next newsletter.

Gain immediate access to all this exciting content plus to all of the archived sewing projects and how-to’s for FREE… for the next 30 days!

Here’s the link to subscribe to

and in the coupon field use: 118B4

I hope to see you in the member’s site!


Decorating Advice

How Do I Decorate A Wide Picture Window?

What a wonderful problem to have! First, you need to decide the function of the window treatment. Do you need light control, privacy, or simple decoration?

A simple solution is to have nice lined drapes stack to both sides of the window, that you draw shut as needed. I say simple, but that doesn’t mean the window treatment will look so… it’s amazing how just adding fabric to the edges of a window really transforms that wall.

My favorite solution is to have drapes hang on both sides… and then have a light but stylish window valance… like some cut out swags. The effect is of fabric draping and swagging across the decorative pole.

With either option, don’t cheap on the drapery hardware. Choose something nice… and that complements your decor. You could have the nicest window treatments, but if it’s on a cheap rod, the whole thing will look cheap. So, make sure you account for the cost of the hardware when you’re figuring out your budget.

Hope this helps!

If you have a decorating question, please visit and submit your question.


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Happy Sewing!

Jenny T.

Follow me on Twitter: ~ Learn how to hand sew a button on a shirt or any garment. Jenny T. shows you step by step how to sew on a button. Want to watch more sewing tips with Jenny T.? Visit to watch the video podcast and to subscribe.

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