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Home > Sewing Guides & Inspiration > How to Sew with Velvet Fabric

How to Sew with Velvet Fabric

How to Sew with Velvet FabricVelvet is a luxurious, soft pile fabric whose threads have been wound into a double cloth formation using a specialized loom. The warp threads go through two pieces of cloth and a blade cuts the two pieces of fabric apart down the warp, creating the velvet. One reason for its high cost is that manufactures’ must use twice as much thread in order to create the fabric .Initially, velvet was made only from silk threads, making it even more costly. Now however, cotton and many synthetics have been used in its manufacture thereby creating similar textured fabrics at a much lower cost. Because of its high pile and delicate nature sewing with velvet fabric can be challenging. The high dense piles can interlock during sewing and can cause the fabric to 'creep'. Also the fabric is very delicate so ironing and even removing stitches can damage it. The tips below, will ensure that even a novice sewer will achieve professional results when sewing with this luxurious fabric.

    1. SELECT A SIMPLE PATTERN WITH A CLASSIC DESIGN – Since it is necessary to take special care when pressing velvet fabric, try to select a simple pattern which does not have allot of darts.

    2. USE THE RIGHT NEEDLE – A Universal size 70/10 or 80/12 needle works best. Stitch in the direction of the fabric pile using a 100% silk or cotton  thread.

    3. LAYOUT & CUTTING OF THE FABRIC – Determine the direction of the pile you will use. Velvet feels smoothest when the nap runs down toward the hem. Since Velvet tends to slip when folded, cut the pattern pieces using a single layer of fabric cutting in direction of the pile. When marking use chalk on the wrong side of the fabric or  tailor tacks. Our favorite type of pins to use are Clover Fork Pins. They do a remarkable job of holding the fabric in place. Remove pins as soon as possible to avoid disturbing the pile.

    4. INTERFACING – Use lightweight sew-in interfacing such as silk organza, cotton batiste or a high-end muslin. Avoid using fusible interfacing as the heat and pressure needed to apply them could crush the pile of this delicate fabric.

    5. BASTING –Quite frankly, basting is not a step that you want to skip if your goal is to achieve a professional result. Despite the best pinning, velvet may still slip when fed through your machine proper basting ensures this does not happen. If using a cotton velvet fabric which you plan to wash, use a temporary spray adhesive to 'Baste' the fabric pieces together.  Then simply wash the finished garment to remove the adhesive.

      Or hand sew your basting gently mesh the velvet layers together by finger pressing the two fabric layers together so that the piles interlock with each other prior to hand basting.  This makes basting easier and when the final stitching is done the meshed layers fed through the machine much easier with less shifting.

    6. USE THE RIGHT PRESSER FOOT – Our favorite presser foot for sewing velvet fabric is the Even-Feed Walking Foot
      The top feed dogs of the walking foot feeds the fabric while lower feeds of the sewing machine feed the fabric giving an even result. A Roller Foot can also be extremely useful since it rolls the fabric rather than yanking it under the foot. Loosening the top tension and slightly lengthening the stitch will help to avoid puckering.

    7. NEVER LET YOUR IRON TOUCH THE FABRIC – Set your iron to the lowest possible heat setting which still allows steam to be produced. To keep the pile from being crushed, use a velvet needle board or a Velvaboard.  Steam your garment from the wrong side of the fabric while gently finger-pressing the seams open. To avoid seam impressions use a Seam Roll or Pressing Ham. Also placing  a strip of brown paper between the dart or hem edge and the garment helps to avoid leaving an impression on the right side. Most importantly before handling, allow the velvet to dry completely.

    8. HAND PICKED ZIPPERS LOOK BEST – Although hand sewing a zipper can be time consuming, this type of zipper placement will yield the best results.

    9. HEMMING – In most cases it is acceptable to finish the raw edge with a zigzag stitch, or by using a serger to get a rolled edge. However one of our favorite methods  to create a clean, elegant  finish is by using  Hong Kong seams. When using this method the seam allowance is encased with a narrow strip of bias fabric. It's important to use a light weight bias so as not to add unnecessary weigh to the garnet, such as silk organza or silk bias ribbon.

    10. USE THIS TRICK TO REVIVE CRUSHED PILE – If the pile on your fabric becomes crushed you can revive it by hanging in a steamy bathroom, then brushing it lightly with a soft brush or a piece of velvet fabric.