Sunday, January 1, 2012

I am never sewing velvet again

My absence has been long, but, as usual, I have returned to post some lack-luster new outfits.

I'm going to Europe for 8 weeks next week (Aahh! Typing that makes it seem so real!). Since I have no winter clothes (as evidenced by my untimely mid-Self-Stitched-September departure), my mission is make at least 3 warm outfits to get me through a week or so before I can buy up big at Topshop.

I've made a few things but I'm not 100% thrilled with any of them. I'll post them all over the next couple of weeks, plus some Europe photos, hopefully, although I'm not quite sure where I'm going to get a camera from...

I've been completely obsessed with silk velvet lately, but I haven't been able to find any affordable stuff online other than the undyed variety from the excellent Silk Wholesalers. After spending 3 years dyeing everything for uni I swore I'd never ever dye anything again, but I caved, and dyed it a gorgeous dusky pink (it was supposed to be red... but the colour is more gorgeous than I had planned).

Unfortunately, as I should have realised, velvet is a bastard to work with, especially since you can't iron it. Apparently you can get some kind of miniature bed of nails, so you can iron without crushing the pile... but I was in a hurry and couldn't be dealing with that malarky.

I don't think the style of the dress takes full advantage of the gorgeous drape of the fabric and I think a simpler, less fitted design would have looked better. But the dress is wearable, I hope.

Does anyone have any good velvet-sewing tips?






  1. I think the dress looks beautiful! The colour is divine. You're being far too hard on yourself.

  2. The dress is really cute! I've heard that if you use another piece of velvet as your press cloth, having nap on nap action while you iron, that works well. But you probably need steam and not a lot of pressure still.

  3. Lovely dress! If you get any velvet sewing tips feel free to share. I would love to make a big black velvet bow belt but have never worked with velvet before.

  4. Toferet is correct, iron pile to pile (like the two piles are kissing) and the result is dl most as good! Welcome back, Europe for 8 weeks, um, yay!!!

  5. I have heard to use a piece of mohair velvet as a pressing cloth for velvet, pile-to-pile, but I haven't tried this yet myself. I think I may even have a scrap piece of mohair upholstery velvet upstairs in my sewing room, leftover from a client's project and buried in piles and piles of other scraps that I couldn't bear to part with but couldn't possibly lay my hands on when I need them. Some day you may see me on that hoarding TV show where they send in a rescue crew because I'm suffocating in my stash.

    Oh, and I LOVE the color of your velvet dress! Very bohemian, and it's lovely on you. Have grand adventures in Europe!

  6. Yes, velvet is a bee-arch to sew. But your dress turned out utterly adorable, so it was worth the angst. That colour is divine too!
    Re ironing, I've just finger pressed whenever I've sewn with it.

    Hope you have a wonderful trip!

  7. I think your dress is gorgeous! And yes, sewing with velvet is awful and I wish I could figure it out as well!

  8. Awesome dress! I love the colour and reflectiveness. :) Where are you going in Europe? Any chance you'll be passing by in Berlin? Have fun on your trip!

  9. The frock is lovely,simple and o so wearable!
    I wish I had some velvet sewing tips,I'm scared of it myself!!!
    Yay that you're back....but then you're going on a big trip!!OOO!Do spill some details!

  10. Is the whole necklace irritating your skin, or just the pendant? If just the pendant, try coating the backside of the pendant with clear nailpolish so the metal isn't in direct contact with your skin. If the chain is bothering you, try stringing the pendant on a narrow cord or ribbon instead. It looks great with your dress.

    As for Natalie Portman: Funny thing is, my two little boys are so severely into Star Wars that for the first hour of the No Strings Attached movie, I kept looking at her and seeing Queen Amadala with the goofy lipstick and weird hairdo. Also noticing what elfish little pointy ears she has. I'm sure she's a nice person, but as the R-rated scenes show, she has the body of an eleven year old girl. I'll bet she reads your blog and is jealous that you have boobs and she doesn't! ;-)

  11. I love your dress! It's absolutely gorgeous! If you pass through Vienna on your travels through Europe and want a little guided tour or meet up for coffee, let me know. Except for a weekend in early Feb in Dublin I'll be in Vienna all winter. Have a lovely trip and bring warm clothes :)

  12. Found your blog through Burdastyle on your chemise project page (I loved it and thought it was super adorable!)

    Velvet is a royal PITA, and I've only used the cotton sort. You can iron it without a needleboard if you have a thick, plushy towel and place the nap face down in the towel. All the other tips on sewing velvet: baste and pin like crazy, go slowly and carefully, and feel free to curse your brains out.

  13. thank you so much
    happy nice day

  14. hi

    may I ask what you please,
    to the velvet dress very important to me
    Please please contact me


    please contact me