Selecting a pattern with simple, classic lines. Velvet requires special care when pressing so fewer seams and darts reduce this problem.
THREAD AND NEEDLES
For general stitching use Coats Dual Duty Plus® All purpose thread Use a Universal point size 11 machine needle.
The best choice for most velvet fabrics is a sew-in woven or nonwoven interfacing.
Purchase the amount given on the pattern envelope for “with nap”. However, be sure to check the width of the velvet. If it doesn’t fit into the standards on the pattern envelope, layout major pattern pieces to determine actual yardage needed before purchasing fabric.
Prepare fabric by preshrinking using the method that will be used to clean the garment. Straighten grain if necessary.
Make any alterations to pattern pieces before cutting. Needle holes cannot always be removed when seams are ripped out. Reduce bulk by using an extended facing rather than a separate facing where possible and substituting lining fabric for facings, collar stands and under collars.
Before laying out the pattern determine the direction of the nap on the finished garment. When the nap runs up, the fabric feels rough and the color is richer and darker. When the nap runs down, the fabric feels smooth and the color is lighter and shinier. In addition, the pile lasts longer since there is less abrasion on the pile. When laying out the pattern pieces, follow the “with nap” cutting layout. If one is not included place all pieces with the nap running the same direction. To assure more accurate cutting, trim the margins of the pattern pieces.
CUTTING & MARKING
Velvet should be cut on a single layer of fabric to avoid the slippage that may occur when cutting through two layers. Reverse the pattern tissue when cutting the second piece . When possible cut with the direction of the nap. Remove pins immediately to prevent leaving an imprint.
To mark velvet, use tailor’s tacks, marking pens, chalk or pins.
- Protect the nap when pressing by following these guildelines:
- Use a steam iron.
- Use a needle board. If one is not available, lay a piece of self fabric, right sides together. Plush towels are also suitable.
- Do not touch the iron to the right side of the fabric.
- Press in the direction of the nap.
- Use the point of the iron to press seams open; never let the full weight of the iron rest on the fabric.
- Place a strip of brown paper between the dart, seam allowance or hem edge and the garment to avoid leaving an impression on the right side.
- Use a stitch length of 10-12 stitches per inch (2-2.5mm).
- Reduce the pressure slightly on the presser foot to avoid shifting of the fabric layers or damage the pile.
- Use a loosely balanced thread tension.
- Make a test seam. If the fabric puckers, use a straight stitch foot and throat plate. If the fabric shifts, use an even feed or roller presser foot.
- Stitch with the nap, even if it means stitching against the grain. The top layer of fabric when stitching velvet tends to shift, causing the bottom layer to pucker. To prevent this:
- Insert pins along the seam line catching a small amount of fabric each time. Place pins close together and parallel to the edge with the heads toward you. When stitching, hold the bottom layer of the fabric taut, removing pins as you come to them.
- Hand-baste with short stitches taking a back stitch every few stitches along the seamline. When machine stitching hold the bottom layer taut.
Use a Coats Invisible Zipper (f.84) following the package instructions for installation or a Polyester All Purpose Zipper and had sew the final step with a “prick” stitch (a short backstitch).
Finish the raw edge with zigzagging, serging, or applying seam tape or lace or a Hong Kong finish. Use an inside hemming stitch such as the blind stitch or catch stitch. Produce a soft fold in the hem by steaming from the wrong side and patting the fold with a soft brush.
Revive the pile by hanging in a steamy bathroom.
If the pile becomes crushed, brush it lightly with a soft brush or a piece of self fabric.
Never discard velvet scraps! Bits and pieces can be used in many different ways. Trim a garment with a velvet collar. Make a decorator pillow or crazy quilt Christmas ornaments. The richness of velvet adds an elegant touch to any project.