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How to sew velvet fabric

What is velvet?

Velvet is a type of fabric that is known for its soft, plush texture and luxurious appearance. It is made from a variety of materials, including silk, cotton, and synthetic fibres. The process of making velvet involves several steps, including weaving, shearing, and raising the nap.

First, the yarn is woven or knitted into fabric. Then the fabric is sheared to create a short pile, or nap, on the right side. This nap is created by cutting the yarns that are protruding from the weave, leaving the yarns on the surface of the fabric to create a soft and plush texture. The process of shearing can be done by hand or by machine.

After shearing, the fabric is then raised or “carded” to create a longer, more luxurious nap. This is done by brushing the fabric with a special carding brush to raise the fibres and create a more uniform nap.

Finally, the velvet is dyed to the desired colour. This process can be done using a variety of dyes and methods, depending on the type of velvet and the desired final colour.

Velvet can also be made from synthetic fibres such as polyester and nylon. These fibres are made into yarn and then woven into fabric in the same way as natural fibres. The process of shearing and raising the nap is also the same, but synthetic fibres may not have the same soft and plush texture as natural fibres.

Stretch velvet fabrics are popular because of their stretchability and soft texture which makes it comfortable to wear and drapes well.

Overall, the process of making velvet is a complex and time-consuming process, but the end result is a luxurious and elegant fabric that is perfect for a variety of garments.


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S9642 and S9643 are modern empire line dresses with sleeve variations and hem ruffle options.

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New Look 6469 is the perfect stretch velvet raglan sleeve dress

Tips and tricks for sewing velvet

Sewing with velvet fabric can be a bit tricky, but with the right techniques and tools, it can also be very rewarding. Here are some tips and tricks for sewing with velvet:

  1. Nap layouts: Remember to cut out with a “nap” layout just like you would a fur or satin fabric. The colour will look different and the texture will feel different when held in opposite directions so you have to cut everything out single layer and all pattern pieces positioned the direction “top to toe”. Patterns that recommend velvet will always show a nap cutting layout. Other patterns may still include this and is indicated on the pattern envelope. Look for “nap” or “one way fabric design” to identify this. This layout is often more fabric hungry!
  2. Use a sharp needle: Velvet is a delicate fabric, and it can easily be damaged by a dull needle. Make sure to use a sharp needle, such as a universal or microtex needle, to prevent snags and tears.
  3. Pin or baste: Before you start sewing, make sure to pin or thread baste your fabric to keep it in place. Velvet likes to “walk” as you sew it, where the two layers push away from each other as they go under the feed dogs. Basting with thread is the best way to prevent any shifting or bunching while you sew.
  4. Use a walking foot: A walking foot is a presser foot that moves in sync with the feed dogs of the sewing machine, which helps to keep the velvet from shifting and bunching while you sew.
  5. Use a steam iron: After you’ve finished sewing, use a steam iron to press the seams and fabric. Be sure to press on the wrong side of the fabric, using a pressing cloth to protect the velvet from scorching. You can also use a towel on your board to protect the pile of the fabric.
  6. Use a velvet brush: A velvet brush is a special brush that is designed to brush the nap of velvet fabric in the same direction. It will help to restore the nap and make the velvet look smooth and even after construction.
  7. Avoid using too much pressure: When sewing velvet, always use a light touch. Pushing down too hard on the fabric can cause damage to the pile of the velvet. Don’t stretch or warp the fabric, ruining your project.
  8. Avoid using too much heat: Heat can cause velvet to shrink, so avoid using hot irons or steamers when working with velvet.
  9. Use a lining: If you’re making a garment out of velvet, it’s a good idea to use a lining to protect the fabric from wear and tear. A lining will also help to keep the garment from clinging to or tickling your skin.
  10. If using a stretch velvet, remember to follow the rules for stretch projects – use a pattern designed for stretch fabrics, check the amount of stretch, construct with a ballpoint needle and using stretch stitch settings on your machine.

When sewing with velvet fabric, be sure to take your time, use the right tools, and handle the fabric gently. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to create beautiful, luxurious projects that are sure to impress.

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Velvet coating would make a dramatic version of M8156

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For a knockout couture dress try V1520

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