Obsessing Over Velvet, the Must-Sew Fabric for Fall

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!