Sewing with velvet fabric: tips and techniques

Sewing with velvet fabric: tips and techniques

Velvet fabric exudes luxury and elegance, making it a popular choice for a variety of sewing projects, from glamorous evening gowns to plush home accessories. However, sewing with velvet can be intimidating for beginners and experienced seamstresses alike due to its unique texture and delicate nature. In this guide, we’ll explore the best practices for sewing with delicate fabric, along with valuable tips and techniques and fabric selection to help you achieve beautiful results in your sewing projects.


Choose the right velvet

Velvet comes in various types, including silk velvet, cotton velvet, and polyester velvet. Each type has its own characteristics and requires different handling. Silk velvet is luxurious and drapes beautifully but can be delicate and prone to crushing. Cotton velvet is more durable and easier to work with, making it a great choice for beginners. Consider the intended use of your project and select the appropriate type of velvet accordingly.


Preparing the fabric

Before you start cutting and sewing velvet fabric, it’s essential to prepare it properly to prevent distortion and minimise shedding. Gently steam the fabric to remove any wrinkles, being careful not to press too hard and crush the pile. Use a velvet brush or a soft, clean cloth to brush the nap of the fabric in one direction, smoothing out any imperfections.


Handling and cutting

Velvet fabric has a nap, which refers to the direction in which the fibres lie. When cutting velvet, be mindful of the nap and cut all pattern pieces in the same direction to ensure uniformity in colour and texture. Place weights on the fabric rather than using pins to prevent leaving visible holes or marks. Use a sharp pair of scissors or a rotary cutter to cut the fabric cleanly, avoiding any jagged edges.


Use the right sewing tools and techniques

When sewing with velvet, opt for sharp, fine needles (size 70/10 or 80/12) to prevent snagging or damaging the fabric. Use a walking foot or a roller foot on your sewing machine to help feed the fabric smoothly and prevent shifting. Use as many pins or sewing clips as possible along the seam allowance, this will help to keep the fabric in place when sewing. Reduce the pressure on your presser foot and reduce the stitch length slightly to avoid puckering. Test your stitches on a scrap piece of velvet before sewing your project to ensure the tension and stitch length are appropriate.


Seam finishes

Velvet fabric tends to fray easily, so it’s essential to finish the seams to prevent unraveling. Consider using a serger or overlock stitch to finish the edges. If using a regular sewing machine, trim the seam allowances and use a zigzag stitch or a satin stitch to secure the edges.


Pressing and care

When pressing velvet seams, use a pressing cloth or a velvet board to protect the fabric and avoid crushing the pile. Press lightly and avoid dragging the iron across the fabric to prevent flattening the nap. To refresh velvet fabric between wearings, hang it in a steamy bathroom or gently steam it with a handheld steamer.


With these velvet sewing tips and techniques in mind, you can confidently tackle sewing patterns with velvet fabric and create stunning garments!

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