Thinking about a translucent blouse

I am thinking about creating a blouse that uses a translucent fabric to create an ombre et lumière effect.

I have been collecting inspirational images.

And here are my thoughts.

  • Some sheers are more sheer than others
  • A translucent blouse does not have to be white; interesting effects are achieved with deeper shades and pastels
  • With a blouse we need to provide coverage for at least the erogenous zones, for decency’s sake.
  • A solid body with sheer sleeves or yoke, or a visible camisole are the obvious fixes
  • Layers themselves can provide coverage
  • Manipulation of the fabric, darting, pin tucks, frills, gathers and ruffles can create density and coverage
  • Construction techniques are obvious – it seems likely we will need to use French seams or other enclosed seams throughout

Over the next few weeks I am going to buy a variety of translucent fabrics (with an emphasis on natural rather than synthetic content). I will then make some samples or a garment to see how I get on. I think my only experience with translucent fabric was a fine cheesecloth dress I made for Esme when she was three.

Hand smocked girls dress 1988
Esme in smocked dress

This dress had a double yoke, but the dress and sleeves were unlined. I made a pair of matching knickers (not seen) for modesty purposes.

14 Responses

  1. Karen K

    I like translucent knits as well as wovens. The wovens look a bit scary, mostly, except for voile, which would handle a lot easier. I tried on a semi-transparent dress with an integral slip at All Saints and loved it. It was good quality polyester and draped fabulously. The effect was very classy and contemporary. I’m wondering whether I could copy it now so am looking forward to any hints and tips you’ve got on sewing with sheers.

  2. Jay

    This sounds like a nice project. I really like the sleeves in the centre photo on the bottom row, ( no possibility of fitting them into my lifestyle!). Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  3. Jennifer

    The dress on your little Esme is adorable! Like Jay above, I could never wear those voluminous sleeves, but the blouse is exquisite. And I love, love, love the deep gray color of that blouse with button front. Looking forward to see what you come up with…quite sure it will be phenomenal.

  4. Susie

    I have also noticed many lovely translucent outfits lately. (All layered in some fashion or another.). I especially liked a translucent paisley print in blues, that looked great with layers beneath it and a pair of jeans. I think it was voile. What a sweet faced child wearing the cheesecloth dress.

  5. BB

    Love the smocking!
    On the subject of translucency, I find that as I age, sheer fabrics and lace for special occasions are becoming my friends. They provide some cover without making me look dowdy. I preserve the illusion of a sleeveless dress, for example, without showing bare arms and shoulders.

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