Sewing Tips: Darts and Seams in Velvet

Natalie brought in tried and true McCall’s #3830 to make a skirt. So far so good.

Then she pulled out her fabric after having made the muslin: a $170 a yard upholstery velvet from Fishman’s.  She got it on sale for $50 a yard and wanted this to be right.

When you are sewing with velvet this dense, you have a couple of options:

  1. Sew it together as you normally would and deal with the bulky and unruly seams, or
  2. Sew it together as you normally would with plenty of basting and then trim out the pile with a razor, scissors, or a hair trimmer.

We opted for the latter to keep everyhting under control and give us a better result.

The first thing we did was to thread trace the legs of the darts and seams to give us a clean trimming line. She then trimmed out all of the excess pile within the lines. You have to be careful or you will over-trim.

She tried a couple of different ways – after an accident with the razor blade, she decided that a combination of sharp scissors and trimmer was the best bet.

We then basted up the trimmed-out darts and seams, stitched them, and…

Voila! Nearly perfect darts and seams in a fabric that is not terribly friendly with detailed sewing!

We would also suggest that you look at how well planned out the pattern is on these darts – when you are sewing with symmetrical shapes, you should try to get the match as close as you can, even if it means that the dart has to be relocated a few millimeters left or right.