How to sew with velvet!

Hey y’all! I know that this post is a long time coming – but here it is! How to sew with velvet. Velvet, kind of like any other fabric can have a stretch or a non-stretch property.

I’ve sewn with both and I honestly believe non-stretch velvet is more difficult to sew with, but we’re not here for debate, we’re here for information. LOL!

I will share that if you do decide to sew with a stretch velvet, you’ll still want to use a zig zag stitch and lots of pins because it’s swimmy.

For this particular project, I used a non-stretch velvet to create a blazer using Mimi G’s simplicity pattern 8749. The only alteration that I made to this pattern was bringing the pattern pieces up about an inch before cutting into the fabric.

Otherwise, here are some tips for working with velvet.

  1. Prewashing. I’m a strong advocate of prewashing all of your fabric. However, because this has a nap, I let it airdry. I took pant hangers and hung it from selvage to selvage- being extremely careful not to cause a crease in the fabric.
  2. The nap. Just like fur or a directional pattern, it’s important to pay attention to grain lines and the direction of the nap. Velvet has a very short nap, but the sheen that can appear on the fabric will be a dead giveaway if care isn’t involved. So in short, nap matters here.
  3. It’s slippery. Even thought it’s non stretch, it’s still slippery when you place right sides together. Gather as many pins as your can when you’re sewing your pieces together.
  4. Cutting. Accuracy when cutting is important when working with any fabric, but it’s really important when working with velvet. Be sure to cut on the back side of the fabric and make sure it’s as smooth as possible. The great thing about velvet is that it does not fray – so it’s easy to fuss with while sewing.
  5. Ironing. Anytime I ironed anything on my jacket I would use a scrap piece of fabric to cover the velvet. I still used steam but intermittently. And finally, when I was finished with my jacket, I had to press my lapels into submission LOL! You’ll definitely want to use a cloth and steam for those tight corners and bulky areas.
  6. Needle, stitch and thread. I used a microtex needle, widened my stitch (because, puckering) and used Gutermann thread. I’m not a complete thread snob, but you want to have a nice strong but a not so thick thread that works well for this type of fabric.

Until next time. xo!

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