Velvet fabric has a reputation for being challenging to sew. You can find our best advice for sewing velvet in this article.
Velvet is incredibly opulent, glamorous, and comfortable to wear. A simple garment made with it looks incredibly luxurious and expensive because it also reflects light in lovely ways.
When sewing one velvet fabric to another, place the velvet side down. When possible, stitch in the direction of the nap. For a finish that won’t make your seams bulkier, try serging or using a zigzag stitch to finish raw seams. Avoid French seams because they are bulky and difficult to sew.
There is no need to be intimidated thanks to new technical information and sewing aids. You can sew velvet easily if you have a few sewing skills.
How to Sew Velvet Fabric?
Here is how to sew velvet fabric:
Styles and Patterns
Stitching lines frequently become visible on velvet due to their surface texture. Select garments with a few design elements, such as darts, seams, buttonholes, and topstitching.
The best designs for velvet are those with clean lines and semi-form-fitting to loose-fitting fits. Fitted and contoured garments don’t work as well as those with gathers, soft folds, and drapes.
Straight lengthwise seams can be found in some fabrics (e.g., back seams) and can be eliminated by placing the seamline on the fabric fold. You can hand sew rather than machine sew other details like buttonholes and zippers.
Do not remove stitches; doing so makes the fabric appear damaged. The fit of the garment should always be improved before sewing on the velvet.
Velvet has a distinct nap. The pile moves in a nap direction. When you run your hand over the fabric, you can feel whether the nap is smooth and prickly (the pile is going up, against the nap) or rough and prickly (the pile is going down).
The velvet appears darker and absorbs light when the nap is up. The color of the velvet appears lighter and the nap reflects more light if it is brushed down.
Cutting and Marking
Cutting velvet fabric can be a little challenging. Velvet tends to shift a little when cut because it is a napped fabric. So how to cut velvet? Always cut the pieces in a single layer.
Additionally, you might find it helpful to lay the velvet right side down on a cutting table. This will stop the fabric from shifting while you are cutting. Never make a cut on a fold. This implies that in order to cut pieces that are intended to be cut on the fold in a single layer, the entire pattern must be created before cutting.
Make the seam allowances and the hem a little wider than usual because the velvet pile threads on the cuts may come off. Keep the vacuum close by as well because there might be fuzz after cutting.
The most difficult part of working with velvet can be sewing two pieces of it together. Simply put, velvet cannot be sewn using conventional techniques. Two pieces of velvet shift in opposition to one another when they are placed right sides up.
No amount of basting or pinning will stop the fabric from shifting and moving while you sew—in both directions. Here are some classic tips for sewing seams in velvet:
- Use one or more of the three basting techniques—dual, backstitch, or diagonal—when hand-basting.
- Reduce the tension on the machine.
- While sewing, keep the fabric taut.
- Use a roller foot, walking foot, or Teflon foot.
- Between the layers and/or between the fabric and the feed dogs, stitch using tissue paper or a stabilizer.
Despite the fact that all of these tips are beneficial and undoubtedly help with sewing, temporary spray adhesive is a product that can help you avoid time-consuming mistakes and frustration. Spray a thin line of adhesive on the fabric’s right side along the seamline rather than pinning, basting, stabilizing, and hoping for the best.
After that, align the right sides of the corresponding pieces, press them together with your fingers, and stitch the seam. Pins are not required. Pull the layers apart, then press them back together if you don’t get the pieces in place exactly the first time. The adhesive keeps its ability to stick.
This method can also be used to attach a layer of velvet to other fabrics, such as lining or any other smooth, non-pile fabric. The adhesive eventually disappears without leaving any trace.
Always cover your workspace to catch overspray because even though the adhesive disappears from the fabric, it won’t disappear from your table, the floor, or nearby surfaces. Products for removing overspray from hard surfaces are also produced by adhesive manufacturers.
Always delicate work, pressing velvet. Use only steam when ironing; never let the iron touch the velvet fabric because it is simple to damage the pile. You can place the velvet pile-side down while steaming from the incorrect side on a variety of pressing-board surfaces safely.
Although needle and Velva boards are useful surfaces, they are small and require frequent movement while you work.
It is preferable to cover your entire pressing surface with a piece of stiff-pile fabric, such as heavy velveteen, mohair upholstery, frieze (a coarse, frequently woolen fabric with a shaggy surface or uncut nap), or a thick terry-cloth towel; this prevents shifting of the surface while steaming. Make a press cloth out of a large piece of velvet.
Tips for Sewing Velvet
When it’s time to get sewing, here are our top tips:
- Use universal or sharp machine needles (sizes 70/10 or 80/12)
- Use silk thread for basting, and switch to a fine polyester thread for the final seams (silk is not very strong)
- Always test with scraps before you start sewing your garment. It’s better to find out that adjustments are necessary before you mishandle your cut pattern pieces.
- If you can adjust or lessen presser foot tension, you can prevent smooshing the nap and leaving marks.
- To assist the layers in sliding under the foot uniformly, use a walking foot, Teflon foot, or roller foot (test for marking).
- Hold the fabric taut as you sew and “marry the nap” by first proposing marriage; rub the velvet layers together to combine them and keep them from, you guessed it, creeping’.
Consider using a diagonal stitch pattern when hand-basting a seam. As you sew, your fabric will be kept more stable thanks to this.
If you’ve ever tried to sew with velvet, you know that it creeps, which makes it difficult to work with. Two layers of fabric that move independently as they are stitched together are referred to as creeping.
When velvet is positioned with its right sides together, the fabric’s pile slides against itself, which is why it creeps so horribly. This becomes especially clear once you begin stitching with your fabric under the presser foot.
Hand-basting seams before machine sewing are the best way to stop creeping. I swear that hand basting saves more time than incorrect seams created by seam ripping! It is not as hard as you think to care for velvet fabric.
Final Words: Sew Velvet Fabric
I’ve learned to take my time and enjoy the process of working with velvet and other opulent fabrics. The inevitable result of sprinting for the finish line is ripped clothing and tears.
If you’ve never worked with velvet before, keep it straightforward. Avoid items with intricate seams, numerous darts, or heavy facings or seams. Topstitching should never be used! Sewing buttonholes, in particular, can be challenging. The best option for closures is invisible zips and loops and hooks.
What is the Best Stitch to Sew Velvet?
The best way to finish your seams is to overlock them, but if you don’t have your own overlocker or serger, you can use a simple zig-zag stitch on your machine to reduce the amount of fraying. Use a straightforward single-fold, blind hem because it is the least bulky way to hem your fabric.
Can Velvet Fabric Be Ironed?
The most important thing to know about minding velvet is that you should never iron it. This might destroy the pile and damage any embossing permanently. Use a hand steamer or the steam setting on the iron to gently steam the fabric rather than ironing or dry-cleaning velvet items.
Does Heat Damage Velvet?
Crushed velvet can lose its design and distort from wear and acetate velvets exposed to heat, pressure or moisture can flatten permanently, which ruins its beauty on clothing and furnishings.