How to Sew With Lightweight Crepe

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Things You'll Need

  • Fine needle
  • Thread

Often used in lingerie or evening clothes, lightweight crepe fabrics like crepe-de-chine are synonymous with luxury. Because it is so fine it is often used to create drapes or add decorative touches to everyday clothing. It adds a different texture in rooms when used for soft furnishings, but it can be tricky to sew with. Using the right preparation, and the right tools for the job can avoid a lot of problems, as can a little practice.

Cut the fabric as per pattern instructions. Use sharp scissors to cut out around paper patterns or a rotary cutter for long straight edges. Avoid cutting hems and seams along the grain of the weave to avoid fraying. Look for the direction of the threads in the material and make sure that long straight edges of the patterns do not line up with the threads when laying out the pattern before cutting.

Insert a new fine needle in a sewing machine; size 60/8 is recommended. If sewing by hand, use a new very fine needle.

Thread machine and needle with a lightweight cotton or lightweight poly-cotton thread. Machine embroidery thread can also be used in sewing machines. Use the same thread in the machine's bobbin. Use lightweight threads for hand sewing also.

Sew with small stitches, 1.5 to 2 mm or 12 to 15 stitches per inch, if sewing with a machine. Use zigzag or straight stitches. Sew with small stitches when sewing by hand.


  • Preshrink lightweight crepe before cutting by dry cleaning the fabric or washing by hand in warm water. Do not tumble dry crepe.

    Practice on spare crepe material first.

    Hand basting hems and seams can make it easier to be precise when sewing fine crepe. To baste the hem or seam by hand use a very fine thread and needle and sew large stitches by hand to hold the material in place. Carefully cut and remove the thread used to baste once the hem or seam has been completed.


  • If using pins to hold fabric, use extra fine pins or you will make holes in the fabric.


About the Author

Louise Jones has been a technical writer since 2006 and is the director of a technical writing company, providing literature for U.K. construction firms such as MITIE and Balfour Beatty. Her work also appears on various websites, focusing on business and technical articles. Jones has a postgraduate certificate in education and has been trained in information technology. She studied English at Cambridge University.

Photo Credits

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