Mesh Tutorial – Jalie Sweetheart Top

June of 2009 is shaping up to be the least sunny in Boston ever. Seriously, we have had 3 days of sun this month and that is it. I decided that I need to make some sunshine, so I settled on Jalie’s Sweetheart Top made up with Citrus Paisley Mesh from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course). I made the short sleeved version this time. I’m not going to review it here, since you can see everything I did in This Review.

Because I was working with a mesh fabric, there were some changes I needed to make it wearable in public. Mesh, by its very nature, is sheer. You can counteract that in several ways: wear a camisole underneath, line it with tricot fabric or take the “Sweet Pea approach”, which is what I did.

A couple of years ago I bought myself a top by Sweet Pea. The top is mesh, and it had some interesting construction details. To solve the sheerness issue in the body of the shirt, they used a double layer of the mesh, with the wrong sides together:

The sleeves, on the other hand, are just a single layer:

This is quite easy to translate to your sewing projects. Cut duplicates of the pattern pieces that you want to cover up sensitive parts, and just singles of the rest. In the case of the Jalie top I cut the front, the back and the yoke pieces twice. I cut the sleeves and the neckbands (which are folded over anyway) just once.

I basted the fronts and backs together just as you do with an underlined pattern piece. Like the Sweet Pea top, I basted them wrong sides together so the right sides face the world and the body. I then proceeded to sew the top together just as the instructions say. There were no other changes. The result is a top that is sunny, but not see through.

The other thing to know about mesh is that it doesn’t run or ravel, so you don’t need to finish the hems on it. Here you can see it in the sleeve and at the bottom:

It makes it a snap to finish! Of course, you do want to finish your seams nicely so they don’t leave thread tails hanging down. Since I used a serger for this project, the way I finished off my seams was by threading the tails back through the stitches using a large-eye needle:
Trim off the excess and you’re ready to go. I’ve done this lots of times and it works great.

It’s supposed to rain again tomorrow. You can be darned sure I’ll be wearing my sunny top.
Happy sewing!

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