Obsessing Over Velvet, the Must-Sew Fabric for Fall

McCall Pattern Company blog
Swatches of velvet from textile manufacturers, as displayed in our fabric library.

Take it from every fashion editor out there, velvet is the It fabric of F/W 2016. You can’t look at a trend piece or pick up a fashion magazine without reading how velvet is everything this season.

Alberta Ferretti fall 2016 (photo by Getty Images)
Alberta Ferretti fall 2016 (photo by Getty Images)

Which is fine by me, because I’ve had a longstanding crush on velvet. I think my obsession is in my DNA, as evidenced by this black velvet opera cape made by my grandmother. She lived in northern Maine and to my knowledge never actually wore this cape, but no doubt a velvet obsession overtook her and SHE HAD TO MAKE THIS CAPE.

McCall Pattern Company blog

My actual sewing experience with velvet is very limited. I know I made something from silk or rayon velvet in the not-too-distant past, but I can’t remember what I made or what it was like to work with velvet. This concerns me, as maybe it was a horrifying experience and I’m repressing the memories? Entirely possible.

But we all know sewing obsessions can’t be denied, and I managed to come home last week with about six yards of silk velvet I bought in the garment district. (Give-or-take, $20/yd seems to be the going rate for silk velvet at the small shops in the area.) My plans are to make a coat and a simple top.

McCall Pattern Company blog
As soon as I got home with my velvet, I folded it and then hung it up in the closet using safety pins on the selvedge. If you leave it piled in your stash it’s likely to develop creases, which are difficult to get out of velvet.

Here’s a velvet jacket by Elie Tahari I picked up at a church bazaar a few years ago. It’s lined with chiffon, which I wouldn’t have considered as a lining fabric but it works quite well here.

McCall Pattern Company blog

Before I begin working on Velvet Project #1 (probably the top), I’m going to read up on sewing with velvet as much as I can. This article on Threads.com seems like a good starting point. If you have any tips for sewing velvet or links you’ve found helpful, please leave a comment. Thanks! I’ll share my velvet adventures this fall here on the blog.

Are you also obsessed with velvet? Here are some patterns we think would work well in velvet:

velvet patterns
l-r: V1515, M7431, V1516, M7251, B6240

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Have you joined our McCall Pattern Company Group on Facebook yet? It’s a great place to get tips and inspiration from your fellow sewers/sewists. We love seeing what everyone has been sewing lately.

Congratulations to Ashley R., who was our random winner in our Shirtdress Sew-Along Giveaway. A new Oliso Smart Iron and some Clover sewing goodies will be on their way to her soon. Thanks to all who participated in the Shirtdress Sew-Along! You all made some amazing dresses!

The Inescapable, Unavoidable Cape: Past and Present Patterns

Capes and ponchos sewing patterns through the decades. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Capes: You either adore their casual chicness or consider them an unflattering waste of good fabric. Like culottes, capes and ponchos seem to resurface every decade in fashion. Let’s take a look at some of the cape patterns we’ve offered through the years:

Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1930s: Capes were often paired with suits like this. Very Katharine Hepburn.
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1940s: If padded shoulders were big in the ’40s, then again in the ’80s, does this mean the 2020s will be all about looking like linebackers again?
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1950s: Capes were utterly ladylike and often paired with gloves.
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1960s: Poncho time! This doesn’t look very different from the ponchos of today. Except we don’t wear a fez with our ponchos.
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1970s: Amazing how everything from the ’70s fits right in with today’s styles.
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1980s: Oh the drama. You can feel Donna Karan’s influence on the decade just looking at this pattern illustration.
Cape inspiration F/W 2015
RTW cape inspiration: l-r, Joseph Lina, Missoni, Thakoon. Images from Net-a-Porter.
cape patterns
Cape pattern options. Clockwise from top left: Kwik Sew K4031, Vogue Patterns V8959, McCall’s M7202, and Butterick B6250.

Ok, so have we convinced you to sew a cape this season? Where do you stand on capes? Leave a comment and let us know!

Fall ’15 Fashion Trends and Sewing Inspiration

One of the best things about August is the arrival of all the September fashion magazines, giving us a mega-dose of sewing inspiration just when we need it. We spent some time looking through hundreds of pages of fashion editorial to come up with the four key trends we think work best for those of us thinking in terms of fabrics and patterns: Quite Romantic, Luxe Bohemian, Mostly Mod, and Military Orders.

Fall 2015 fashion trend report by the McCall Pattern Company
Runway looks, l-r: Alberta Ferretti, Louis Vuitton, Altuzarra. Source.

Quite Romantic: Blouses and dresses with high necks, the return of ruffles, and soft, flowy fabrics like chiffon, georgette and crepe de chines. Patterns that fit the Romantic trend include 1) Vogue Patterns dress V9076, 2) Butterick dress B5985, and 3) Butterick blouse B6133.

Fall 2015 fashion trend report by the McCall Pattern Company
Runway looks, l-r: Donna Karan, Thakoon, Dries Van Noten. Source.

Luxe Bohemian: Rich fabrics, like brocades and silks shot with gold, with contrasting prints mixed together in the same garment. Patterns that work for this trend include 1) McCall’s dress M7246, 2) McCall’s vest M7257, and 3) Kwik Sew jacket K4139.

Fall 2015 fashion trend report by the McCall Pattern Company
Runway looks, l-r: Calvin Klein, Jonathan Saunders, Bottega Veneta. Source.

Mostly Mod: A-line shapes and simple lines reminiscent of the ’60s and ’70s. Faux suedes and double knits. Patterns that translate include 1) McCall’s dress M7241, 2) Vogue Patterns jumper V9122, and 3) Vogue Patterns skirt V9132.

Fall 2015 fashion trend report by the McCall Pattern Company
Runway looks, l-r: Gucci, Edun, Oscar de la Renta. Source.

Military Orders: Sharp lines in navy or black, with brass buttons and other military-style trims. Patterns for this trend include 1) Butterick jacket B6103, 2) Vogue Patterns pea coat and pants V1467, and 3) Vogue Patterns suit V1466.

 

What do you think of these trends for your home sewing plans? If you’re participating in the #V1467sewalong where we’re making the Vogue Patterns Anne Klein pea coat together, then you’ve already embraced the military trend. Tell us about your fall sewing plans in the comments.