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. Sew Ruthie

    All sounds very intriguing, I shall look forward to what you decide to sew.
    For only slightly sheer things I wear a well matching nude bra and a smile!

  2. 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.

  3. Mary Funt

    I’m looking forward to see what you come up with. I love working with sheers. Layering colors can produce some very interesting effects.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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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