How To Sew with Velvet

Velvet is one of the most elegant fabrics out there. It is a very light fabric that feels very good to touch. Velvet can be made from silk or cotton. Synthetic types are made from polyester, nylon, acetate, synthetics and natural fibers, and some others.

In the past, velvet symbolized nobility. They say the weaving of velvet began in medieval Kashmir in the fourteenth century. Nowadays, velvet is used to make beautiful dresses, bags, and decoration. Although a little costly, you can easily obtain velvet.

However, because of how velvet is made, it can be difficult to work with if you are sewing with it. Below are a few tips on how to sew with velvet:

  • Create minimal design and styles. Since velvet is very delicate to work with, it would be best to create minimal designs. The cut should not be too tight on the body. Create designs with draped styles or soft folds and gathers.
  • Create definite patterns. You do not want to rip out stitches from your velvet because it will ruin the texture of the fabric. Make sure that you know the design that you want by heart and that you have a pattern ready to use for when you start sewing with your velvet fabric.
  • Mark the fabric properly. When marking your fabric for stitching, you can use a tailor’s chalk or tailor’s pencil on the wrong side, with tailor’s tacks or basted stitches with silk thread, or thread tracing. Snip through the fabric to mark notches. To mark the direction of the nap, you can use chalk or soap on the fabric’s wrong side.
  • Cut the fabric properly. You can do this by using the pattern pieces that you made. Since the velvet has nap, you can use this to decide if you want a lighter or darker colored final output. Cut the fabric with the nap going up if you want it darker, or going down for a better feel and lighter shade.
  • Press the velvet delicately. To press your velvet, you will need a steam iron. Velvet is steam ironed on its wrong side on a surface that is covered with stiff or thick fabric like frieze or a terry towel.
  • Sew seams with adhesive. To sew velvet with other fabric or lining, use adhesive spray on the right sides of the fabric or fabric pieces and temporarily stick them together. You can also first baste it with silk thread. However, when sewing two pieces of velvet fabric together with seams, use hand-basting method, loosen the tension of your sewing machine, use a walking, Teflon, or roller foot for your machine, stop in between stitching, or use a tissue paper in between the fabrics or in between the fabric and the machine.
  • Use the proper needle size and thread when stitching. When working with velvet, you will need to use a 70/10H or 80/20H sized needle and stitch following the direction of the nap. You will also need to use a walking presser foot for your machine to make the fabric flow through evenly. The proper thread to use with velvet is 100 percent cotton or silk.
  • Let the fabric rest before hemming. If you want to finish your project by hemming, let the fabric hang first for at least a day. Use cotton to support the folds of your hem and steam iron the fabric before working on them. If necessary, hand sew instead of using the machine.

Follow these tips when working with velvet and you will not end up ruining it and wasting your fabric. Good luck!


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