Since I first laid eyes on it, I've been dreaming of making a holiday dress from the golden silk velvet. It shimmers like liquid gold, and the color is called "Deep Amber" so of course it was meant for me! I was imagining a simple silhouette, with a high neck and long fitted sleeves. The Avid Seamstress Raglan Dress seemed like the perfect choice.
I went with the long sleeves but decided to taper them significantly more. I took about 3" of width from the hem edge of the sleeve, making the sleeves much more fitted. As this was my first time sewing with velvet, the simple construction of the raglan seams was a blessing, and turned out beautifully in the velvet!
When choosing my size, I was smack-dab in the middle of 2 and 3. Looking at the pattern cover and at the finished garment measurements, I decided to go with the smaller size. This ended up being the wrong choice! When I had assembled the dress it was too fitted across the back and shoulders. I carefully seam ripped the back seam and sewed it with the smallest seam allowance I could. This ended up being just right as far as fit, thankfully, but left major marks down the velvet where the previous seam had been.
Tiffani's velvet wisdom (via Jaime) saved the day here--after I finished my dress I spritzed the fabric with water and threw it in the dryer. It magically floofed up the velvet and the marks mostly disappeared. There were even some blotches on my dress from where my iron had leaked on the dress, which was totally stressing me out, and a thorough round of spritz + dryer fixed it all. Phew!
For the back, I copied Marta and removed the zipper. I love the way the back slit and button closure looks on her dress. Also if I'm being honest, I wanted to avoid sewing a zipper in velvet. I finished my hem, facing and sleeves with hand stitching. I needed some hand stitching time to calm down after the seam ripping scenario. I'm really happy with the look of the hand-stitched finishing.
My top recommendations for sewing with velvet:
DEFINITELY hand baste your seams before sewing them. Pins aren't enough for this shifty fabric. something about the pile going under the pressure foot makes a current in the fabric. It pushed itself this way or that.
Do all you can to avoid water drips or seam ripping. Learn from my mistakes.
But also, don't stress! Most of the marks will disappear with a round of spritz + dryer.
I LOVE my golden holiday dress. I love the Avid Seamstress Raglan pattern. I learned so much about velvet and I'm totally prepared for a stress-free velvet project in the future!