Quick Tip: Straight Stitching on Sheer Fabrics

August 27, 2019By Joanne BankoDIY, Quick Tip, Stitches 1 Comment Opinion by Paid Consultant

There are a variety of options for sewing on super fine fabrics like chiffon. Knowing the accessories available for your Brother machine, along with recommended machine settings for straight stitching on fine fabrics will help you achieve smooth seams and hems on sheers. Are you ready? Let’s go sew!

Here are some basic tips:

  • Begin by selecting a fine, universal or sharp sewing machine needle, such as a 60/8 or 70/10 for sewing. All-purpose sewing machine thread is acceptable, especially when sewing synthetic fabrics. However, if you can find a thread that is slightly thinner than the standard weight it will produce a smoother, less bulky seam. When shopping for synthetic thread, always look for a high quality, smooth thread. I prefer cotton thread as opposed to polyester when sewing on sheer fabric that is 100% silk.
  • Shorten the standard straight stitch length to 2.0 and avoid backstitching. Options to replace backstitching include the following:
    • Begin and end the seam with a very short stitch length set for 1.6., and then change to 2.0 for the major portion of the seam.
      Note: These settings are reflected in the seam shown in the above image. The first and last half inch of the seam were sewn with the length set at 1.6. This short stitch length keeps the seam from unraveling at each end.
    • Begin stitching a slight distance from the edge, turn and pivot to the end, then pivot again and continue stitching. Repeat this process at the end of the seam.
  • If you have an option for a straight stitch foot and a straight stitch throat plate, you can attach these two items when sewing seams and hems that require a straight stitch. You’ll find these accessories especially helpful when sewing with minimal layers of fine fabric. Both the foot and the needle plate have a small hole in the center. See Figure #1. It’s very important to use the center needle position when sewing with the straight stitch foot and plate.
Figure #1
  • For machines without a straight stitch foot option, select the straight stitch in the left needle position. This is actually the next best thing to using a straight stitch foot because the fabric is supported on three sides of the throat plate and will not get pushed down into the center of the throat plate. See Figure #2.
Figure #2
  • For additional support on fine, sheer fabric you can cut strips of SA540, Brother water-soluble stabilizer to layer with the fabric as you sew. See Figure #3. Trim excess and wash out the remainder when finished sewing.
Figure #3

More information about the Straight Stitch Foot and Straight Stitch Plate:

  • The flat bottom on the straight stitch foot helps improve contact with the feed dogs and results in more accurate and consistent feeding of centered straight stitches. The single stitch hole design helps keep the fabric snug against the foot and ensures a more perfect stitch formation on fine fabrics. The small hole located in the straight stitch needle plate, along with the straight stitch foot, helps prevent your fabric from being pulled down into the feed dogs, thus helping to avoid puckering. Notice that the foot has toes that are slightly curved for increased visibility while sewing. In addition, markings on the foot can serve as a guide for various sewing situations. The distance from the center hole to the edge of the foot is 8mm and each of the markings on the right-hand side of the foot are spaced 2mms apart. See Figure #4.
Figure #4
  • I used the marking 2mm from the center of the foot as a guide for edge stitching close to the fold of the fabric. This is a great feature to have when top stitching or sewing narrow hems. See Figure #5.
Figure #5

Be sure to check the accessories that came with your machine to see if these two items were included.

Depending on your Brother machine model there may be a foot, and/or plate available for your machine as an accessory option. See Genuine Brother Accessories listed below:

SA564 Straight stitch foot and needle plate set for specific model machines.
SA167 Straight stitch foot for various machine models with a 7mm throat plate.
SA108 Straight stitch foot for various machine models with a 5mm throat plate.

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One Comment

  • I usually use cotton thread when sewing fine fabrics because it will not stretch as poly thread can do. If you are fortunate to find it try a silk thread, I have used Gutermann in the past, it is gorgeous to sew with and although expensive it is not as if you do over-casting on sheers so a reel will go a long way. Thank you for the hint that a straight stitch plate is available for machines. I have the foot but never seen the plate at the dealers. Will ask next time.

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