Thursday, 11 December 2014

Sewing with Velvet: Auuuggghhhh!

I am still plugging away at the little velvet dresses as I kick myself for ever thinking this was a good idea. But I digress... 

These dresses are proving to be a challenge because

  1. nap
  2. pile
Along with the fact that I should have started this months ago.  

Velvet has a nap which requires greater yardage. In the velvet that I chose for this project, it had a narrow width and I had to be careful on the placement of my pattern pieces. With a fabric with a nap if you hold opposite ends of the fabric against your body and look down on it you will notice that one end will appear darker and richer in colour than the other end. If this is the case take care when cutting. You may want to mark the end where it appears darker and richer in colour as the "top" and then mark the top of your pattern pieces so that they face the "top" end of your fabric. Did that make sense?  

Velvet also has a pile where you can find the "top" of your fabric by rubbing your hand back and forth over the fabric. You will be able to feel which direction the pile lays and determine the "top" of the fabric. Here again the "top" of your fabric should be matched up with the "top" of your pattern pieces. 

The pile on the velvet has been creating a challenge when it comes to sewing as well. As you can imagine this fabric likes to slip and slide all over the place as it runs through the sewing machine. Special tools are needed.  

The presser foot on the left is my regular presser foot. And it does not work well on this project. The middle presser foot is what is recommended in many of my reference books for sewing fabrics with a pile. And for the most part this roller foot does work. But I will admit that it was challenging to use when I was sewing the darts. I then used the third presser foot shown so that I had an unobstructed view as I sewed the darts. I do have a walking foot that provides two sets of feed dogs to shift the fabric along but regardless of which presser foot I use, there are challenges presented with the pile.  

Auuuggghhhh! This project may drive me to drink or it may make me slow down and do some serious hand-stitching. There are three basting methods are are recommended when working with velvet.  
  1. double basting
  2. back-stitch
  3. diagonal basting
The hand-stitching won over the drinks. And I have chose the diagonal basting method. Especially when it comes to sewing the lining fabric to the velvet along the neckline on the second dress. 

The drinks might have to wait until these dresses are done. Stay tuned, more to come.  

Happy Sewing!  


  1. I read the first part too quickly and thought naps & pie were keeping you from sewing- I know how that is!!


The Iris Dress

It's not the greatest looking photo. It's kind of a hot mess and could use a iron to get rid of those wrinkles in the front but...