Sewing With Italian Polyester Chiffon – Gelato Required

neon chiffon CollageLovely Annie of The Village Haberdashery said she had a couple of metres of neon chiffon to spare. Could I make something with it? You betcha! Could I photograph it to accurately reflect the colours? Maybe. The ice-cream photo is the most accurate, in my opinion.

Pussy bow collar

I knew immediately that this fabric would become my fourth version of the Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse. (Fifth if you count the failed attempts with silk chiffon.) This time, I made version 1 with the edgier key hole collar treatment, which I thought suited the brushstroke print.

Neon chiffon pussy bow blouseI took a lot of care over the cutting out, pinning together the selvedges and then sandwiching the fabric between paper pattern pieces and a large roll of paper. Below, a detail from this stage. This makes a big difference to the accuracy of cutting out floaty fabrics. It’s a technique much better profiled herebetween paperAfter the cutting out, everything went swimmingly. This poly chiffon behaves itself. All I really advise is testing stitching and serging on swatches of fabric, before you get stuck in to the blouse. Otherwise, you’re good to go! This is not a chiffon to be scared of.

I really, really love this pussy bow blouse. It’s a classic and so easy to wear. I wonder how many more I’ll make… Would you sew with chiffon?

sewing in chiffon

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38 Responses to Sewing With Italian Polyester Chiffon – Gelato Required

  1. ellegeemakes says:

    Love the blouse! What beautiful fabric…I’ve sewn with chiffon only once, before I knew the technique you’re referencing here of sandwiching the fabric between paper and pattern. To say the least, my cutting experience was…difficult. But I too love the drape and look of chiffon, and you’ve inspired me to try, try again.

  2. Chris says:

    Very stylish, especially when accessorised with the gelato!
    I’ve sewn with chiffon before, but always used the gelatine pre-treatment. I found I then did not need any other help when cutting. Haven’t used it for a while, though, because I decided to stop using poly fabrics, and silk chiffon is just a bit too precious for my lifestyle…

  3. I have never made one but it certainly suits you. Jo x

  4. I would never have thought to make this blouse with this fabric, you clearly have a better eye than me! Looks fab on you 🙂

  5. I have sewn with chiffon often and not had too many problems. I absolutely love this blouse. I love the colours, the fabric, everything. I really must give it a go, but since I have the book I am going to try TGBSB3 one first. xx

  6. That’s such a good look on you. On my screen you appear to be wearing orange (it suits you), in the ice cream pic it’s showing as shocking pink, both are lovely. I have never sewn with chiffon, it scares me.

  7. Such a gorgeous blouse! Looks amazing on 🙂

  8. Jane says:

    wonderful, really suits you

  9. I really really want to try chiffon but I’m a scardy cat x

  10. Do you use heavy paper or tissue paper?

  11. katemcivor says:

    I love the blouse and the fabric. I’m glad it wasn’t too hard to sew with!

  12. Stacey says:

    The Italians sure have an eye for fashion … and a tongue for ice cream 😛

  13. Brenda says:

    I just finished sewing my mother of the bride dress and it has a chiffon skirt. It is the first time I have sewn with chiffon. I read up on it in my sewing books and watched some very helpful youtube videos. I’m happy with how it turned out. It took a lot more time than sewing with other fabrics. I did French seams (four of them) and the hem is 1/8″ folded then sewn the another 1/8″ folded and sewn. The trick on the hem is to press at the hem line, sew 1/8″ from the edge then trim the excess very close to the stitching. After trimming fold over the second 1/8″ and sew again. Very easy. The tissue paper trick works great on the seams and NOT back tacking the seams is a must. The hardest part was sewing the invisible zipper.

    • LilyandSparrow says:

      Hey Brenda, I noticed your comment about sewing an invisible zipper on chiffon – can you give me any tips? I’m making a skirt from poly-chiffon, which has been pretty smooth so far, except that I’m stuck on the zipper. Can’t really use french seams there, can we? Can you tell me how you inserted yours? Did you have a lining aswell?

  14. Sheree says:

    The sandwiched paper is a great solution. I have used it several times with silk and it works great. Although the first time my hand sorted of slipped and I managed to slice a large slit on the back piece. Its not perfect as a bit too narrow, but I use kids drawing paper on a roll from Ikea.

  15. Mags says:

    Love your blouse, not so much sewing with chiffon. I tried to make a zinnia with a satin underling and chiffon over skirt! Nightmare especially the zip. It’s languishing on a shelf unfinished!

  16. Birgit says:

    I love your blouse, the colours are very fun. You look great in it!

  17. What a fab blouse – love a good pussybow. Looks great in neon! (The gelato looks yummy too)

  18. Debra says:

    That is so good. Not my style or my colours but I love it on you. I’ve looked at that chiffon in the Village Haberdashery a few times and if I had your colouring I would give it a try 🙂 Kudos for not giving up after wadding the silk chiffon one.

  19. Jenny says:

    If anyone had said either chiffon or neon to me I’d have run a mile – too scared to try either of them, let alone together. Your blouse is perfect though. I love everything about it.

  20. Paola says:

    I have a length of poly chiffon in the stash that dares me to sew it every time I go stash diving. Haven’t done it yet though, too chicken.

  21. lisa g says:

    Love the fabric! Looks great as this blouse.

  22. Beautiful blouse I love the bow especially. It looks great on you.

  23. Carolyn says:

    Karen, this is gorgeous! What a great combination of fabric and pattern. Thanks for the tip about cutting chiffon. My current project is in poly chiffon (altering a friend’s RTW bridesmaid dress), and so far it’s proven to be better behaved than I was expecting. I’m a bit worried about inserting the invisible zipper, but my experience thus far with the chiffon has been pretty good!

  24. Cecilia says:

    Beautiful blouse! I love the color, amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Lou Lou says:

    Lovely blouse, looks great on you! That print is simply gorgeous. I would love to be able to sew with chiffon, as it’s a fabric I love to wear, but my skills aren’t up to it yet. Great tip for cutting it out though, thank you!

  26. Katy says:

    I love everything about this top, especially the pussy bow collar feature. It really makes it! Oh and the gelati matches nicely too 😉

  27. Great blouse! Where are you in your last photo – looks a really fun place to sew.

  28. Vivienne says:

    Broadsheet newspaper (old Sunday Times rescued from the log basket!) works fine on 140cm wide fabric if you don’t have tracing paper. Three sheets, sideways, on the bottom and between the layers then the pattern on top. Perhaps not for white wedding dresses but works fine on all the slippery fabric I have tried. I downloaded this pattern last night and am looking forward to seeing how it works out. Love the blouse on you, in fact I love all your blouses!

  29. Simona says:

    Your top is lovely, Karen! I would only sew with Chiffon only if I stabilise it first by using some wash away fabric stiffener! Would not dare to touch the darn thing otherwise! Gelato yummy! Your pussy bow blouses are making me want this pattern although I already have two similar ones already!

  30. stitchesoftime says:

    What a beautiful blouse! No I have never sewn with chiffon, my most challenging fabric to date has been velvet. I found your blog a while ago but wanted to read everything you had posted before commenting, it has been very useful for me even though I make kit for medieval re-enactment rather than everyday clothes. I do a lot of pattern drafting and adjusting so have learnt lots and really enjoyed reading it all!

  31. Katrin says:

    What an intriguing combination of a classic pattern with a modern fabric. I love it! Mind you, I don’t think I will ever sew with chiffon because I am still a beginner and jersey still proves challenge 🙂

  32. lemur178 says:

    Just this weekend I did a workshop at the London Fashion & Textile Museum with Zandra Rhodes dressmaker Jolanta Cerniauskiene (fantastic course btw) which amongst other things addressed how to sew with chiffon. Her recommendation was indeed to place it between two layers of paper but avoiding anything too slippy (like pattern paper or even that white paper with crosses). She actually recommended using newspaper as something that would provide some grip, then placing the pattern and weights on top before cutting out. Haven’t tried it myself yet but she made it all seem so easy and really took the fear out of using such fabrics!

    • Vivienne says:

      Glad I am not the only one! Yes, the newspaper trick was an old one my mother used during the war. Newspaper is great for sewing over as well because it pulls away so easily afterwards. I often start off a narrow seam with a bit torn off a corner and placed behind the fabric.

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