How to sew sheer fabric using only a bobbin thread for stitching

How to sew sheer fabric using only a bobbin thread for stitching

I sew a lot with silk chiffon and organza fabric. And not only because it is very beautiful, it is also very comfortable to wear in hot climate, it is breathable, lightweight and soft.

Chiffon and organza are often used for evening and wedding gowns, but I like to use chiffon and organza for everyday wear too. I mostly make shrugs, blouses and scarves from 100% silk chiffon. 

Why shrugs? When you are over 50 the skin on your arms doesn’t look young anymore (unless you are a movie star and use Photoshop a lot) and wearing sleeveless or spaghetti strap dresses is often not an option if you care how you look, the sagging skin on the arms just doesn’t look nice.

So, I decided for myself that I will make a shrug for every sleeveless dress I made before. And I made shrugs from chiffon and organza fabric which is so lightweight that I don’t even feel I have some sleeves to cover my aging arms.

But there are some difficulties working with sheer fabrics. I wrote an article how to cut chiffon without problems. And now I want to show you some trick I use to sew darts that look good in sheer fabric. 

When you sew darts in sheer fabric you can’t just backstitch to secure the seams, it doesn’t look nice. And if you make a knot at the point of dart you still can see some threads through the sheer fabric.

But there is some technique that makes darts look nice and eliminates the need for backstitching and knots.  This technique is quite simple and at the same time it fascinates me every time I use it. I don’t know really if there is a special term for this in English but I call it “one thread stitching”. 

What is the technique? If I make the long story short, it is using a bobbin thread for threading the needle also. So, when you are sewing darts you are using only one thread from the bobbin to make a stitch.  Let me show you how to do this.       

1.  Wind the bobbin using 100% silk thread (of course, the thread has to match the color of your fabric). Silk threads are just amazing! For sewing chiffon and organza you must use them. They are very thin but they are also very strong.  Here is an affiliate link where you can buy 100% silk threads for your projects.

2. Thread the needle with the bobbin thread. It is a bit tricky because you have to thread it from the back to the front of the needle (exactly opposite to the threading the needle the regular way).
3. Connect the bobbin thread you just inserted to the needle with the upper thread (which you still have on your sewing machine left from sewing previous projects, right?) using a knot.

4. Pull the upper thread so that the bobbin thread is going all the way to the spool pin and make sure that you have enough thread to sew the dart because you will be sewing only with the bobbin thread.

5. Now you are ready to begin sewing the dart.

Keep in mind that in this video to the right I didn’t sew a real dart, I just used a piece of chiffon fabric to illustrate the tip. You have to be really careful at this step. You will have to sew the dart from its point to the side seam (which is the opposite you are used to, right?).

Position the fabric next to the needle and lower the needle to the point where you wish to start. Make sure that the needle actually goes into the fabric and you don’t have any excess thread in the needle so it doesn’t make a loop in the beginning of the dart. Lower the presser foot and start sewing gently guiding the fabric along the seam line letting the fabric feed naturally.

6. After finishing the seam secure the end of the dart by making a knot.

This “one thread sewing” technique can be used for sewing darts in sheer chiffon and organza fabrics.  This tip can be a challenge if you never used it before and it takes some time to master the technique, I suggest practice on scrap before sewing.

Would you like to know more about silk fabric types? Check out my really useful guide “Most common silk fabric types (and tips on how to tell them apart)”.

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25 Comments

  1. Jonathan

    Thanks so much for posting this.

    Reply
    • Olga Balasa

      Thank you! That’s so nice of you to say!

      Reply
    • Olga Balasa

      Thank you for your sweet comment!

      Reply
  2. Meig

    Absolutely amazing technique!! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Olga Balasa

      Thank you! Did you try to do it?

      Reply
  3. Erika Cronje

    I am a very experienced seamstress but this blew my mind, never seen this before and will definitely try it. Thanks for the super instructions!

    Reply
    • Olga Balasa

      Thank you for your sweet note, Erica! I know many other interesting sewing tricks I would like to share but it takes time to create tutorials. But I will try.

      Reply
  4. Kathy

    Fascinating! Will certainly be using this move!

    Reply
  5. Chris Vasoyan

    What happens at the ends threads, are they knotted?

    Reply
    • Olga Balasa

      After you finish stitching you will have to secure the threads as usual – it will be two thread tails left in the end, secure them manually. Check the video of the article.

      Reply
  6. Nelly

    Thank you for sharing this tip. I always wondered how the thread was so or should I say “sew” well hidden. I tried it and it looked really nice. So glad I learned something new.

    Reply
    • Olga Balasa

      Thank you for your kind words!

      Reply
  7. Ann

    What is the advantage of doing it this way?

    Reply
    • Olga Balasa

      When you sew darts and pintucks in sheer fabric you can’t just backstitch to secure the seams, it doesn’t look nice. And if you make a knot at the point of a dart or a pintuck you still can see some threads through the sheer fabric.
      So, this technique makes darts look nice and eliminates the need for backstitching and knots when you work with see-through fabric.
      I hope it helps!

      Reply
  8. Catherine

    Hi, I am trying to mend a sheer dress that has pulled apart at the darts. Do you have any special tricks for sewing sheers so that they won’t pull apart so easily? I plan on trying this method to work on the dress.
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Olga Balasa

      Catherine, the problem you have with your sheer dress is quite common. It happens usually when a garment is too tight. It’s better to make something from sheer fabric with as little seams and darts as possible. I heard that you can put a strip of sheer or clear stabilizer when sewing seams on sheers but I didn’t try it yet. When I sew chiffon I usually don’t use a complicated pattern, and I choose a design without many seams and darts. I also like to use ruffles and gathers with sheers. I hope it helps.
      As for your dress that you try to mend it’s hard to give an advice without seeing the dress. I would go to Pinterest and look for a tutorial on mending clothes. Maybe you can find a useful advice there.

      Reply
  9. Unity

    This a very awesome tip, thank you for sharing your detailed instructions for this technique.

    Reply
    • Olga Balasa

      Thank you! I am glad my instructions were useful!

      Reply
  10. Debbie

    This is an amazing. Haven’t tried it yet but I wish I new it years ago.

    Reply
    • Olga Balasa

      Thank you! To me, it’s more fascinating than it’s useful but I used it a couple of times though.

      Reply
  11. Lourdes

    Thankyou for this tip.I am an experienced seam stress but I never seen this before.I will try it for sure.

    Reply
  12. Sheila

    I have been sewing for years and years and never have I heard of this. I am going to try it. Thank you for your tip.

    Reply
    • Olga Balasa

      Thank you for commenting! I am glad to hear that my tip about sewing sheer fabric was useful. We can’t know everything there is to know in sewing. I learn something new almost every day (from my sewing friends or from Pinterest).

      Reply

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