by Shannon Gifford
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  • Velvet

    Velvet is the ultimate luxury fabric! Nothing else feels or looks like the richness of velvet. It is truly elegant, lush, and beautiful. Velvet does require a delicate hand and a bit of patience to sew, but the results will be a garment you will adore!


    Dry clean only

    Needles and Thread:

    Good quality velvet is actually produced on a very thin backing fabric. Because of this, you'll use a thinner needle than you might expect for a fabric of this apparent density. Use 70/10 machine needle, either a denim/sharp or a universal style. Use cotton/polyester, or all polyester thread. For a very special garment, use silk thread for outer details such as hand-topstitching.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    When stitching with velvet, you'll likely encounter the frustration of having the fabric ‘crawl' as you stitching. Hand-basting the seams before stitching is the best method for controlling the fabric. Some stitchers like to use a walking foot for this purpose, but I find the edges of this foot do mar the surface of the velvet. Therefore, I recommend hand-basting. Velvet frays, so seam finishes are necessary. Some velvets can be serged; test yours to see if this is the case. My favorite seam finish in velvet….is to line the garment! If you don't plan to line your velvet garment, shave the pile off the edge of the seam allowance and use a fold-over binding for the seam finish. Hems in velvet are best done by hand. A machine hem will crush the pile.


    Use a sew-in interfacing for this delicate fabric. Silk organza is a good choice for lightweight usage, and cotton flannel is a good choice for areas that need a bit more support. Be sure to prewash cotton flannel before using.

    Pattern Suggestions:

    This fabric is so beautiful, it needs to be the star! Choose patterns with simple lines and elegant shapes. Jackets, capes, wraps, coats, cardigans, skirts, and dresses are all beautiful made from velvet. You can also use velvet for collars and cuffs, pocket flaps, and trim on garments made from other fabrics.

    Creative possibilities:

    Velvets with a high natural-fiber content (silks, rayons) can be machine crushed for an "antique" look and feel. Simply wash the yardage in the washer, no bleach, and dry in the dryer with a towel included in the cycle. This does change the appearance of the fabric, so test first to see if you like the effect. Machine crushing will allow you to be able to hand-wash the finished garment.

    Additional Tips:

    Pressing seams in velvet requires a gentle touch. Lay the fabric, pile side down, on a velvet board, a needle board (sold specifically for this purpose), or a thick-pile towel. Hover the iron over the seam and use lots of steam; don't actually touch the iron to the fabric. Remove the iron and gently press the seam allowance with your fingers, then allow the fabric to cool before moving to the next area. Keep a vacuum cleaner handy. Velvet sheds :-)

    Copyright (c) 2018 by EmmaOneSock