Voile combines the billowy quality of chiffon with the durability, softness and crispness of cotton. This lightweight, breathable fabric is usually made from 100 percent cotton and is often available in plain white or cream, although it also comes in pastel and bright colors. This breezy, elegant, low-maintenance fabric often finds its way into lingerie, children's clothing, summer dresses and blouses as well as fine bedding, curtains or drapery. Dressmakers and tailors like voile because it is easy to sew and doesn't slide under the needle as badly as organdy, tulle or chiffon. However, voile garments require special handling to prevent shrinkage and wrinkles.
Stitch any unfinished fabric edges to prevent voile from fraying during laundering.
Wash voile garments by hand, using a gentle detergent made for fine fabrics and hand washables. Alternatively, launder the fabric in cool water on your machine's gentle cycle. Place delicate items such as lingerie or scarves in a pillowcase.
Tumble dry voile on low heat or the gentle setting of an electric clothes dryer. If you prefer, hang voile fabric on a rustproof hanger and allow it to air dry. Avoid sunlight, which fades the colors and may deteriorate the fibers.
Stretch voile gently while the fabric is slightly damp to restore the fabric's original length and width.
Iron voile, if necessary, with an iron set on low heat and light steam. Cover the fabric with a press cloth and then press the fabric using a light touch. Testing the iron on an inconspicuous spot first is always a good practice.
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- Fabrics A to Z: The Essential Guide to Choosing and Using Fabric for Sewing; Dana Willard
- Sew in a Weekend - Curtains, Blinds & Valances; Eaglemoss Publications
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: Sewing With Voile
- Read the garment care tag before laundering voile garment.
- If the fabric is purchased in bulk, care instructions are usually printed on the end of the cardboard fabric tube.
- When you sew with voile, cover the cutting table with a cotton sheet or with a flannel-lined tablecloth with the flannel side facing up to prevent the sheer fabric from slipping; sandwiching the fabric between two pieces of tissue paper serves the same purpose.
- Pin voile in the seam allowance to prevent snags and runs.
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.