This year’s spring and summer fashions are wonderfully feminine, flowing, delicate and colorful.  Sheers of all types are popular.  But, chiffon is definitely the fabric of the season.   This presents large and tall women with many design opportunities to create flattering clothing.  I am especially impressed with the white dress with china blue lining to your right.  What wonderful fun!    I am going to try and do something similar with coat V8780, to your right.  But, to do so will require a little thinking.  First....

What are sheers? How do you use them? And, how will they be used with this pattern?

A Google search provides me with decent, although maybe a little to detailed definitions of the following:
Sheer fabric is fabric which is made using thin thread and/or low density of knit and which results in a semi-transparent and flimsy cloth. Some fabrics become transparent when wet.
Gossamer is something super fine and delicate — like a spider web or the material of a wedding veil. The original gossamer, from which these meanings come from, is the fine, filmy substance spiders excrete to weave their webs. A dress can be gossamer-like, if its fabric is so sheer as to be see-through, or almost.
Mesh: In clothing, a mesh is often defined as a loosely woven or knitted fabric that has a large number of closely spaced holes, frequently used for modern sports jerseys and other clothing.

Types of shear fabrics:

Chiffon, French pronunciation: ​[ʃi.fɔ̃], from the French word for a cloth or rag, is a lightweight, balanced plain-woven sheer fabric woven of alternate S- and Z-twist crepe (high-twist) yarns.

Voile is a soft, sheer fabric, usually made of 100% cotton or cotton blends including linen or polyester. The term comes from French, and means veil. Because of its light weight, the fabric is mostly used in soft furnishing.
Georgette (from crêpe Georgette) is a sheer, lightweight, dull-finished crêpe fabric named after the early 20th century French dressmaker Georgette de la Plante. Originally made from silk, Georgette is made with highly twisted yarns.
Organza is a thin, plain weave, sheer fabric traditionally made from silk. Many modern organzas are woven with synthetic filament fibers such as polyester or nylon. Silk organza is woven by a number of mills along the Yangtze River and in the province of Zhejiang in China.
Net or netting is any textile in which the yarns are looped or knotted at their intersections, resulting in a fabric with open spaces between the yarns. Net has many uses, and come in different varieties.
Tulle (English pronunciation: /tuːl/ TOOL) is a lightweight, very fine netting, which is often starched. It can be made of various fibres, including silk, nylon, and rayon. Tulle is most commonly used for veils, gowns (particularly wedding gowns), and ballet tutus.
Challis, sometimes referred to as challie or chally, is a lightweight woven fabric, originally a silk-and-wool blend, which can also be made from a single fibre, such as cotton, silk or wool, or from man-made fabrics such as rayon.
Gauze is a thin, translucent fabric with a loose open weave. In technical terms "gauze" is a weave structure in which the weft yarns are arranged in pairs and are crossed before and after each warp yarn keeping the weft firmly in place.
With all these options, how then do we choose?  In looking at the coat, I want several things from it. 

First, I want it to be timeless.  I don’t waste effort on something that will last only a year.  The irregular hemline is relatively new for 21st century fashion, but looks like it will be around for a little longer.  The collar, although a little dated makes for a very simple sewing project, so I won’t be overly picky. 

Second, I want it to be flattering.  And this is going to be a problem.  The bold colors and multi-layer outfits, all contribute bulk and mass to an already overly bulky and massy figure, and screams—disaster.  Not done well—I run the risk of looking more like a hot air balloon—in bold bright colors.  This is where choosing to use the lining as the coat’s interest seems more appealing to me.  In this way I can better control how the colors are framed both with the outside fabric, and by the clothes I wear inside the coat. 

The texture of the fabric presents a unique problem.  Blessed with a large rear, the light chiffon, because of its light weight and rough surface, will not fall properly on a full bodied woman.  It will gather on my rear and stay.  I will be tugging at the back, the front and the sides every time I get up, bend down, or bend over.  So, therefore, my selection of fabric will have to keep this in mind.  

Third, only on the fashion runway can models wear nothing but a coat bound around their waist, and get away with it.  For me, something else will have to be worn with the coat--pants, shirt, dress--how versatile can I make it?  What color and fabric pairings will limit the use of the coat? And, what will broaden its use? 

And fourth, what types of fabrics can I combine? And, what will not work?  Two chiffons sewn together will be a disaster, because the overall look will be mud, unless it is your intent to build a look through adding layers of different sheers, which several designers have done.  In this case, placement of the pattern as well as the placement of fabric design, will have to be very well thought out.  Being both a coward, and lazy, I will look for an easier alternative.  I am more inclined to combine a linen voile  with my chiffon.  The chiffon will be inside and the voile on the out.  If this is still too sheer, I will go with a light weight polyester or challis.    Of course, color is very important.   A white voile linen and black chiffon is still not going to be a pleasant combination, either while looking at the chiffon through the voile or the voile through the chiffon. 

Because of the characteristics of organza, I chose not to use it for either the inside or outside of the coat.  It is a slick fabric, and therefore, would solve my problem of getting “hung-up” on body parts.  It is stiff not flouncy like chiffon.  And, although I am not, convinced this is a bad thing, organza cannot reflect design and color as powerfully as chiffon, and therefore would not make the bold statement I wish the lining to make.

Well, we have thought through a number of things, and as you can see, we have a number of decisions to make before even buying the fabric.  Join we next week as we whittle all these factors down into not only a coat, but an ensemble.  Until then, God Bless.

 


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