Puffy Sleeved Organza Blouse
For this month’s Sewcial Network blog, I decided to work with some lovely spot organza, which I made into a puffy-sleeved blouse. This fabric is a beautiful shade of gold (though I believe other colours are available!) and is dotted with metallic foil discs that sparkle wonderfully when they catch the light. It’s quite a different style to what I’d normally go for, so I thought it would be fun to give it a try!
Organza is one of those fabrics that can invoke a sense of apprehension in sewists – sheer, slippery, delicate, and fray-prone, it can be an intimidating combination. Though it does certainly require more attention than say cotton, I’ve always loved organza, and I do find the extra effort is always worth the results.
This particular fabric wasn’t as slippery as many I’ve come across – perhaps the gold spots help weigh it down a little, as I didn’t find it to be even remotely troublesome when cutting out. If you are working with a slippery material that’s causing you issues, I hear that laying tissue paper underneath the fabric can really help prevent slippage when cutting out, though full disclosure, this isn’t something I do. I always cut my fabric out on a carpeted floor, which I imagine adds a bit of friction to stop the fabric from moving.
I pretty much always use French seams on everything other than heavy-weight materials anyway, but this is definitely how I’d recommend finishing your seams when working with organza, even if it’s not a technique you’d use otherwise. You want to make sure you don’t have any exposed edges in order to avoid any fraying, and with a sheer fabric, a French seam will give a much cleaner finish than, say, an overlocked edge, since you will be able to see it from the outside of the garment.
In terms of pressing, I found the best way to do this was with the iron on a low heat, and with a press cloth overtop of the organza – if you don’t have a pre-designated press cloth, any scrap of fabric will do for this, provided of course, that this fabric can tolerate the heat of the iron. Do beware that the gold discs may lose their adhesiveness if too much heat is applied, but this shouldn’t happen if you’re being careful with that pressing!
Since fabrics like organza will take any excuse to fray, you want to keep handling to a minimum, and also handle as gently as you can, as the less you touch the raw edges, the less they’re going to be able to unravel. I know this is easier said than done, especially if there are mistakes that need unpicking, which is why I’d suggest making a mock up of your garment before you start on the organza, to reduce the likelihood of needing to make fit adjustments etc., and to make sure you’re as confident as possible before you start.
The blouse I made has a wrap front and is a slightly loose, oversize style, which meant that fit wasn’t so much of an issue on this one. If you can find a pattern that works, less fitted styles can be a really great idea for getting into working with more slippery fabrics, as, even if the fabric does shift when you cut it, and your cut fabric doesn’t end up quite the same shape as the original pattern piece, it’s unlikely to have much of an effect on the overall fit or appearance of the garment.
And with that, I’m out of tips on how to work with this fabric! I really like how this project turned out – it’s quite eccentric and I feel a bit like a 1970’s children’s TV presenter in it and honestly, I’m living for it. I love the subtle volume the organza gives the sleeves and I adore the way the whole thing sparkles when it catches the light.
That’s it for now! Thanks so much for reading, and until the next time!