A lot of us here at Fancy Tiger Crafts have become enamored of our newest garment fabric: Silk Velvet. That's right, silk velvet. It's a beautiful, luxurious fabric that's perfect for special occasions. I took the plunge and sewed up a dress for holiday parties and I'm in love.
I chose to use Sonya Philip's Dress No 2 pattern. I wanted something very simple for both ease of execution and also I just love this basic, classic silhouette. I opted to lengthen the dress quite a bit (it is more of a tunic length) so I added 6" to the hemline for this dress. I also omitted the patch pockets. In retrospect, I wish I had added in-seam pockets, but didn't think of it in time - oh well!
I've never sewn with velvet and there is a learning curve. Here are some basic tips for sewing with velvet that worked for me:
1) I traced all pattern pieces fully onto Swedish Tracing Paper (mirroring the pieces that are meant to be placed on the fold) in order to cut out my fabric in a single layer
2) I used a rotary cutter to cut out
3) I used a microtex 70/11 needle
4) I used a slightly longer stitch length and a looser tension (use a scrap to test what works best on your machine)
5) I hand basted every seam before sewing
6) I cut out a facing for the neck (2" wide) instead of using bias
7) I hand sewed my hems using a blind hem stitch
8) For pressing, I used medium heat, lots of steam and a light hand, always pressing the wrong side of the fabric.
9) After I was finished, I sprayed the dress down with water and tossed it in the dryer on high heat for about 15 minutes to fluff up the pile again (tip from Tiffani!)
Guys... I love this dress! It feels so luxurious and is also so comfortable. I was worried it would be too sack-like, but the fabric is so drapey, it hugs my body nicely when I move. I have already worn this to one-holiday party this season and received several compliments (from people who have no idea I sew!). I'm excited to have a fancy dress in my wardrobe that is simple enough to be classic for many seasons to come. I'm also more confident in this accomplishment of successfully sewing with silk velvet.
Stay tuned to see what everyone else has been making with this fabric throughout the week...