Alo, everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend and have a wonderful week ahead. I have a busy week planned, full of congregation activities. But how am I supposed to focus when all I can think about is The Last Jedi? I have so many follow-up questions! I guess I’ll have to spend some time on Tumblr. Anyway, remember my ode to velvet a month ago? Around that time, I received two yards of burgundy stretch velvet that I mainly swooned over before even cutting it! I was visualizing the perfect velvet dress of my 90s dreams. However, that was my first time sewing with stretch velvet, so I had to do a lot of research. Many of the tips I read from various sources seemed to have the same general guidelines, some of which I followed and some that…I didn’t…but it still turned out pretty swell.
Tips For Sewing With Stretch Velvet
Don’t prewash at home! • Velvet is dry clean only. I skipped this step altogether, mainly because I was just in a rush to get started on my dress. It’s probably a good idea to go ahead and get it dry cleaned.
Cut the velvet in a single layer • We’re so used to folding fabric before cutting, but this is the time not to do it. The thick pile of the fabric will just slip around, which could end up causing different directions of nap in different sections and making the garment look like it’s all different colors. Some sewists have folded their velvet wrong sides together, so that seems to be a good idea, too. For mine, I just did the single layer.
Make sure all of your pattern pieces are going in the same direction • As mentioned above, you don’t want things to go in different directions because that could make things look very odd. I accidentally cut one of my sleeves in a different direction than the other one (I was trying to conserve fabric as part of my “zero-waste” initiative. I ended up wasting a whole sleeve piece!), so I had one sleeve that looked pink and another sleeve that looked burgundy. Woy!
Finish the seams • Velvet loves to leave behind a lovely fuzz. The best finish seems to be serged, but for those of us who don’t have a serger, a faux overlock stitch can do the trick. I also read that a zigzag stitch is effective. French seams are not suggested because they’ll just add unnecessary bulk.
Use a walking foot • We already discussed in the cutting stage how slippery velvet is. A walking foot and a lot of pins will help stop the slip.
Hand or machine hem? • Apparently, it’s better to hand-stitch your hem. I went against the grain (lol) and did a machine hem of the unfinished edge only folded once, and it looks alright to me.
The Finished Result
I decided to use a familiar pattern for this dress. Sewing with stretch velvet for the first time was more than enough experimentation for one project! Any guesses as to what pattern this is?
It’s another Moneta!
For my third (third!) Moneta, I skipped the elastic shirring of the waist and just gathered it. I also shortened the bodice and raised the back neckline. It turned into less of a fit & flare/skater dress and more of a sheath dress with a waistline.
And check out these embroidered flats I got from Cato.
Have you experimented with velvet? If you’ve got tips, please share!