Category: Technique:

Sewing Velvet


Velvet was once thought of as a luxurious "evening" fabric, but now we see it everywhere - in suits, jackets, scarves and of course evening-wear. It is a little tricky to sew, but with a few basic techniques you can sew your own velvet fashions at a minimum cost.

Essential Supplies For Sewing With Velvet

  • Walking Foot
  • Glass head pins
  • Silk thread for basting
  • Silk, all purpose or cotton thread for sewing the garment
  • Universal size 70/10 or 80/12 needle

Tips For Sewing Velvet Successfully

  • Textured velvets are easier to work with than solid velvet, because they are more forgiving and not quite as slippery.
  • Use simple patterns with few details.
  • Choose loop closures instead of buttonholes.
  • Zippers should be basted in place, then hand prickstitched ( a "prickstitch" is a tiny backstitch sewn on the right side with all the backstitching on the wrong side).
  • All pattern pieces should be cut singly. For pieces on the fold make a full pattern piece.
  • Choose a nap layout for the pattern pieces and make sure you cut all the pieces in the same direction by marking the back of the fabric with arrows. Note: Velvet wears better with the nap running up, from hem to collar.
  • Mark with tailor tacks and silk thread as chalk may disappear.
  • The cut pieces must be well basted with silk thread before sewing. Silk thread will not leave marks when it is removed.
  • Use a Walking Foot to avoid slippage when sewing seams. Loosening the top tension and slightly lengthening the stitch will help to avoid puckering.
  • Stitch in the pile direction, holding the fabric taut with both hands and raising and lowering the presser foot to relax the fabric as you sew.
  • Hand stitch hems with a small catch stitch.
  • Use a needle board for pressing. Just steam and finger press the seams.