Chiffon is an attractive lightweight fabric suitable for formal gowns. It can be difficult to work with, but with a little bit of experience you can learn to make a stunning garment from this material. It is possible to prevent the common problem of the chiffon’s getting caught in the feeder teeth of the sewing machine. Using tissue paper as a stabilizer and having the right sewing machine needle will make sewing with chiffon manageable. You will be able to create a beautiful chiffon gown for any special occasion.

Things You'll Need

Take your bust, waist and hip measurements with a tape measure and record them before you go shopping for a pattern. Select a simple design without excessive gathers and folds if this is your first project working with chiffon. Check the directions on the back of the pattern envelope to ensure that chiffon is a recommended fabric for that design.

Iron the tissue paper pattern pieces with a cool iron. Prepare your fabric by ironing it with a cool iron and then laying it smooth on a flat work surface. Fold the chiffon fabric in half, aligning all edges. Lay out and pin the pattern pieces as described in the instructions that are included in the pattern.

Use very sharp scissors to cut around the outline of each pattern piece. Transfer all pattern markings to the fabric with light-colored tailor’s chalk. Remove all pins.

Thread your sewing machine with thread matching the color of your chiffon fabric. Insert a sewing needle with a very sharp tip, indicated as suitable for stretch or knit fabrics.

Cut a sheet of tissue paper into 2-inch strips to use as a stabilizer when sewing. Sew all the pattern pieces together as directed in the instructions that came with the pattern. Lay a strip of tissue paper underneath both layers of the chiffon fabric each time you sew a seam to stabilize the fabric and prevent the chiffon from catching in the feeder teeth of the machine. Tear away the paper after you sew each seam.

Try on the gown wearing the shoes you will wear with the gown and have someone assist you in marking the correct length for the hemline. Allow an extra half inch for turning the hem. Turn the hem toward the wrong side of the garment one-quarter inch and pin. Fold once again, another quarter inch, to form a rolled hem, enfolding the raw edge inside the hem.

Remove the pins as you make the second fold and pin again through all three layers of fabric to hold in place. Stitch with a straight stitch on the sewing machine. Clip all threads and remove the pins. Press with a cool iron.

Tips

  • Depending on the style of the gown, you may wish to create a lining for either the bodice, skirt or both. If so, cut all pattern pieces out of lining fabric and make a second gown. Insert the lining into the dress with the wrong side of the gown facing you. Attach the lining to the chiffon at the shoulder seams, around the armhole seams and at the waistline by hand sewing two or three stitches in each place.

References and Resources

Sewing.org: SEW-lutions Guidleines