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Velvet Seda Dress

Happy New Year! I hope you had a nice holiday break and I wish you all the very best for 2016!Let’s start the new year with last year’s last make, the Holiday Seda dress.

I had in mind making a Seda dress in velvet for a few weeks now and I thought Christmas and New Year’s Eve were perfect occasions for such a dress.

I mixed view A and view B to make this Seda: the skirt of view A looks just as good with the bodice of view B. What other changes did I make? I added a full lining to the dress. In order to add a lining to view B, I just constructed the lining following the instructions for view A but with the elbow length sleeves instead of the short ones. When the lining was ready, I folded and pressed the seam allowances toward the wrong side on the neckline, sleeve hem and center back edges.

Then you just need some patience (or an evening on the sofa with TV, as you prefer) and you handstitch the lining to the dress seam allowances (you can use a fell-stitch or a slip-stitch). I know that handstitching is not everybody’s favorite sewing activity but I really like the control you get and it’s nice to work slowly sometimes.

As for the fabrics I used, I chose a midnight blue silk velvet for the body and plumetis tulle for the shoulder yoke. If you want some tips on sewing with velvet, you’ll find them in the previous post. As I explained there, velvet is quite difficult to sew with, it moves so much, you need extra care with the iron… making this dress was not easy! You see, velvet fabris slips when the right sides are together, so a dress like Seda with so many seams and darts was not the best choice for this delicate fabric.

But in the end, I’m very happy with the result. The dress looks elegant and the tulle yoke adds some nice contrast (the tulle edges are binded with black bias binding made from the lining fabric).

Fun fact: velvet is very slippery and eventhough I basted all the seams together before sewing, my seam allowances ended up being larger than supposed… which means the dress is quite tight on me! On New Year’s Eve dinner, I thought more than once that the zipper was going to break 😉

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Sewing with Velvet: Tips
Velvet… Such a pretty fabric, which makes me think of princesses, gowns and softness. I’ve been dying to make a velvet dress for some times now and I thought the Seda dress would look pretty good in velvet for the holiday parties.
I’ve been collecting a few tips for you while making this dress and I’m going to share them with you today.

 

 

Tip #1
First tip about sewing with velvet is: DON’T! Velvet is a b**** so if you don’t want to get mad at your sewing machine, change the fabric for something a little bit easier to use.Tip #2
If I didn’t convince you and you still want to use velvet, then tip number 2 is the following: try to find a pattern with minimal seams. Try to stay away from patterns with lots of darts, seams, zippers, buttonholes and focus on simple silhouettes with folds or a little bit of gathers.
As you can probably guess, I had a hard time sewing the Seda dress because of all the seams and darts, so even if it looks great now, I wish I had chosen an easier pattern for that fabric.Tip #3
Velvet has a nap – direction. When you run your hand on velvet, you’ll see the pile going up or down. This means that it’s crucial to cut your pattern pieces all in the same direction.
Best way to lay your pattern pieces is to do so with the fabric fully open: place your pieces on the wrong side of fabric and trace them one by one, flipping over the ones that should have been placed on the fold.
Use tailor’s tacks or chalk to mark your fabric, on the wrong side of fabric.Tip #4
With right sides together, velvet’s naps will shift against one another so make sure you do the following to keep shifting at a minimum:
-Baste the seams together (if you can baste 2 lines, within and without the seam allowances, that’s even better).
-Use a walking foot, a Teflon foot or a roller foot (I used a roller foot but I can’t say there was a hyge difference).
-Lower the tension on your machine.
-Trim the seam allowances and slash the darts.Tip #5
Press the fabric carefully. You don’t want to leave a mark and crush the pile of velvet so make sure the iron doesn’t touch the fabric. You can use steam and open the seam allowances with our hands or place a press cloth between your iron and your fabric.Tip #6
As velvet doesn’t fray easily, you can use pinking shears to finish the seams.
Tip #7
Care: sorry but velvet is Dry clean only! Don’t pre-wash your fabric before and give it to your dry cleaner when you want to get it cleaned.

What about you? Have you sewn with velvet or any other “difficult” fabric?

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Burgundy velvet
I thought I would have more things to post about at the begin of the year but truth be told, I am quite occupied by a very exciting project of mine that leaves me little time for sewing, or at least sewing for myself (I hope to tell you more as soon as possible…). But fortunately, I was able to find some time to make this nice little dress last week.

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I found this amazing burgundy velvet during sales at Julían López and I could not resist. I have been quite drawn to burgundy, maroon and plum colours lately. And what can I say, the price was ridiculously low.
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The pattern is Retro Butterick 6582 (already made here), view B, with a modified collar. I wanted something very simple to let the fabric shine. There are double darts, meaning four front darts and four back darts, no waist seam, a back vent, very basic. I lined the whole dress for more comfort.

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We had a lot of fun taking pictures with our new camera lens (50mm, f/1,8 G). It’s amazing and makes great pictures. Believe me or not, I did not touch anything on those photos. The light is crazy beautiful and it wasn’t even that sunny today. Best Christmas gift ever!
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I wish you all a nice week.

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