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How to Create Sheer Magic

Layering transparent fabrics over other textiles creates multiple options for new surfaces.
Threads #49, Oct/Nov 1993

Layering sheer fabrics over other textiles creates multiple options for new surfaces.

The simplest application of layered sheers is just to change the color of a fabric by putting a transparent layer over it. Try white or black sheers to lighten or darken without changing the color of the underlayer. The pattern or design of the underlayer will be softened or muted, and any strong contrasts in the design will be brought into greater harmony.

A sheer layer can instantly unify a fabric collage composition that’s getting out of hand, while holding it together physically. You don’t even have to finish the raw edges underneath-you can simply fuse or tack the pieces in position. You can include delicate elements like strands of unstitched metallic thread, loose yarn, and other decorative scraps, textile-based or not. Adding multiple sheer layers, either all over or selectively, allows you to increase the muting effect, or even create opacity, exactly where you want it. You can collage small sheer pieces under the top layer, or create layered stripes by tucking or pleating the top layer. This technique is an interesting way to add texture to your garment.

“Sheer Magic” by Lois Ericson was published in Threads #49, Oct./Nov. 1993.

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