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Sewing velvet

mollyjo3 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am attempting to make velvet curtains . When sewing two lengths together , i.e. velvet faces together and on the inside , I find that the surfaces tend to  move ( sideways )although pinned and also there is some stretching of one length of material in relation to the other along the direction of the sewing line . Is this a function of the machine ( e.g. tension , stitch length etc ) or is there some trick associated with the material that I am unaware of .


  1. sammysm0m | | #1

    Hi, I'm new here, just joined yesterday, but velvet is tricky to sew with. It's better to baste your seams so they stay together, and you get no pin holes. Also as you sew, every couple of inches, stop and lift the presser foot. This seems to help. Good luck with the drapes, they'll be gorgeous when they're done.

  2. ReneeParrill | | #2

    Velvet "creeps". To avoid this, before you start sewing, rub your seam lines together (velvet sides touching) to lock the nap together. I would do this in addition to any pinning or basting.

  3. ClaireDuffy | | #3

    I have sewn velvet and the suggestion of basting is good. I also pin every 1" and hold both layers taut as I go. I also stop regularly to check everything is holding.

    I also have a question about sewing velvet. I am making a Velvet, satin lined hooded coat for a woman who is getting married in Scotland. It is buttoned down the front and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice about buttonholes in velvet. I haven't done a test yet. I may try putting them in a seam down the front.

    1. BonnieM16 | | #4

      I think it would be a mistake to try buttonholes in velvet.  Why not use frogs and knotted buttons?  Or loops sewn into the seam?  Depending on the color of the satin lining, you might make the frogs and knotted buttons out of turned bias satin cording.

      1. ClaireDuffy | | #5

        I am actually copying or near enough a design from a website of a shop in Scotland. It is a coat made from velvet with a hood and buttoned down the front. http://www.designerfashion.demon.co.uk The style name is Genevieve. I'd be glad if someone else had a look at it and tell me what they think.

        Thanks Bonnie


    2. lindamaries | | #6

      I would do a fake button trick here. I'd put the diamond buttons on

      the lap and then use snaps to do the actual closure.

      I do not think that holes in a seam here would work. The holes would be vertical and the tight design might make the hole gap.

      For this design, I'd also think of loops because it looks to me like

      there are only three or four buttons and the rest of the floor length is left open to flow. Loops would look elegant and bridalie, I think.

      1. ClaireDuffy | | #7

        Thanks for the advice. I went into my favourite sewing shop and asked how they would deal with the problem. Their top sewer, who does lots of fancy sewing and embroidery said she uses a product they have which is like a sheet of perforated plastic which all the embroiderers use. She assures me that if I lay it on the velvet and do the hole through it, the plastic will hold the pile down and stop the surrounding area from being crushed. Then I rip the plastic off.

        Will let you know how I go


        1. ShannonG4d | | #8

          Claire, I'd be interested in knowing how that turns out.  Buttonholes in velvet are really tricky; in fact, I think your idea of putting them in a seam is an excellent solution.  The plastic sounds a lot like a tear-away or water-soluble stabilizer, which would hold the pile in place.....I'm hoping your results are good, because I'd like to try this myself!


          1. ClaireDuffy | | #9

            Well I'm getting somewhere. I tried the plastic and it the pressure of the foot crushed the velvet. As I thought it would. Since then I've thought I should try it the otherway up because I recently that velvet flattens one only like animal fur ???

            Failing that I will do a hidden placket and stich the buttons on the outside.

            Thanks all. I have to have it made by this Friday so we'll all know soon enough.

          2. ClaireDuffy | | #10

            I have tried the velvet up the other way and the foot still crushes the velvet.

            So it looks like the hidden placket is it.


          3. ClaireDuffy | | #11

            The cape is winging its way to Scotland and the bride is happy.

            I ended up making a hidden placket from velvet and sewed clear buttons. I knew she wanted to have the top couple of buttons undone. I then sewed velvet covered buttons on the outside. Also her choice.

            I found the velvet was easiest to sew if I pressed the two pieces together so the pile locked. The difficult part was sewing the velvet to the lining. I found if I sewed with the lining on top the pile would flatten and the slippery lining would want to slide toward the needle and by the time I got towards the end of the seam the lining seemed inches longer which of course it wasn't. I un picked several times until I tried turning it over. This worked much better.

            I put a small loop inside the hood so she could put a bobby pin through and stop the hood sliding off.

            All in all it was a great project and I was pretty pleased with it

          4. NansiM | | #12


            I like the idea of the  Loop for the bobby pin to hold the hood in place!  Especially with costume season upon us-I'll probably end up needing to use that.  thanks for sharing!

          5. rjf | | #13

            What a happy ending!  It was interesting to read how you solved the problem and you never sounded frazzled once.  What color is it? Did you take a picture you could post so we can see the finished cape?     rjf

          6. ClaireDuffy | | #14

            The best I can do for a photo is to direct you to the web site I mentioned earlier. The design is called Genevieve. It is very close to this design with our own touches. It is made from a winter white silk velvet and the faux fur has a slight pinkish tinge to it.


          7. rjf | | #15

            That's amazing!  Very romantic and elegant.  How about the dress?  Did you do that too?  After seeing the picture,  I think your choice of fly front was the best.   rjf

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