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Conversational Threads

Velvet and Velveteen

Sancin | Posted in General Discussion on

I am pretending to be Scarlet O’Hara. I have my grandmother’s old velveteen drapes, which unfortunately my mother cut into smaller pieces. I am 67 years old so you can imagine how old the fabric is. It is in good shape, faded, yet MY colour. I would like to make a long vest with the some pile ‘burned?’to the base of the fabric around the bottom and down the front. Unfortunately there is not quite enough of the design to do this even with piecing. Any ideas as to how I could make more of the design? I believe there is a product that can do this but have no idea where I was the product or process. I did read the article in the latest Threads that talks about Velvet and velveteen, but no answers to my problem – in fact the article stimulated me to think of this fabric I have been hording for years.

Edited 11/11/2008 7:13 pm ET by Sancin


  1. MaryinColorado | | #1

    Is this the same as "burnout velvet"?  I think http://www.dharmatradingcompany.com might be able to help if you email them your question.  Good luck on this interesting technique, "Scarlet".  he he  I love long vests, hope it turns out great!  Mary

  2. Gloriasews | | #2

    Does your velveteen have a pattern in it already & you want to copy it with the burnout product on the other pieces?  I'm trying to envision what you mean.  If the pattern is already in/on the fabric, could you use smaller/narrow pieces for your vest, because, if the pattern is fairly elaborate, the burning-out might be very time consuming.  I came across a beautiful velveteen jacket idea in my file today (from Sew News in 2001), & it was made with velveteen patches of complementary colours, which you might think about for your vest if you run out of your lovely red.  That way, your patterned pieces would go further.  Just a thought.


    1. Sancin | | #3

      Thanks for the response, Gloria. The fabric was a long narrow drape (s) with a burned pattern along the bottom, about 5 inches in depth. As I mentioned, my mother had cut up the fabric, so I will have to piece it whatever I do. I have enough in total to make a vest with design down the front and along the bottom, but am short about 4-5 inches of design. It is not really elaborate so I can take the time to 'burn' the design if I can figure out how to do it. A concern may be that that it will be darker than the rest of the fabric as it is all faded. But I will try to work around it, even if I have to use some diluted bleach or paint. Unfortunately I don't have time right now to do this, but it is on my mind and pile!I actually do have some lighter pink velveteen in my stash but have not put the fabrics together to see if they may work. I have had both fabrics for a long time - I don't dare say how long! The original plan for the pink velveteen was a reversible Folkwear coat, but never could, find another fabric for the other side that I liked. So then I thought suit. Time will tell.

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #4

        Sancin, as much as it would be nice to have the patterned part go all the way around the vest, it would be perfectly fine to leave the back plain.  If there are ties or a belt at the back, do those in the burnout instead.  It would add interest and echo the burnout in the front.  If you have any leftover burnout, you could use it in the pants or skirt for trim.  That way you could also do trimwork on a jacket to match.  A little bit of fancy fabric can go a long way to coordinate a whole outfit.   Cathy

      2. Josefly | | #5

        I like Cathy's suggestions for your vest. As I read your description of the fabric I thought you could even just use the burnout on one side of the front of the vest. Asymmetry is in!Since your fabric is so old - you said it was your grandmother's - I would proceed very cautiously using any chemicals on it, whether to copy the burnout pattern or to change the color. There've been stories galore here about vintage textiles dissolving when cleaning. What a nice thing, though, to have a "Tara" vest from your grandmother's draperies.

        1. Sancin | | #6

          Thank you and Threadkoe - I do like the idea of asymmetry. I don't know why I didn't think of that as that is my usual way of thinking. Leaving bottom plain is good idea and less attention to my girth. I will have to play around with the placement of pieces. And the nap of the velveteen. As I said it is not something I am going to do immediately, but something I do think about quite a lot.

          1. Josefly | | #8

            Gloriasews idea made me think of that article that appeared in Threads about embossing designs on velvet, using rubber stamps or other textured surfaces under the fabric and pressing from the wrong wide with an iron. Did you see that? If there's a way to duplicate the design of your burnout, perhaps by cutting it out of firm cardboard, I think repeating the design by embossing would be pretty.Please let us know what you end up deciding, and how it turns out.

            Edited 11/14/2008 9:59 pm ET by Josefly

          2. Sancin | | #9

            Josey - I think that was the article I was thinking about to start with. Anyone remember what date/issue it was in?You know one of the things I do not like about Threads is the frequent reference to issue numbers. I have subscribing for a very long time, but d/t space and personal practices I don't keep the magazine more than 3 years. I cut out the articles, tips, etc I want or think I will ever want and bind them in binder. While Threads puts issues on the cover, they don't put the issue on each page. Thus I like to know the dates as it makes it easier for me to flip through my books. I organize the articles according to category (don't ask how I decide a category!!). I will indeed let you know what I decide and hopefully insert a picture but it will many months before I get started. I purchased a McKenna Ryan applique kit last year and talked about it on another discussion list - now everyone wants to know how it is going. There is a long story as to what has happened to my progress with the kit so will not go into it here ;0. BTW - regarding your favourite quote regarding ripping out, I discovered, in a reflective moment, recently that I rather like the process - the feel and sound - of ripping out seams!!!

          3. Josefly | | #10

            Okay, I won't bug you about this project...you can get to it in your own sweet time. :>) But it does sound interesting.I'll look through my issues and see when the article on embossing velvet appeared, unless someone beats me to it - I probably won't get to it before Monday. The feel and sound of ripping seams. Hm. Yes, I think you've found the zen. I just always see it as worse than starting over - so impatient. And lately, it seems I've been sewing on dark fabrics, and darn, it's hard to pick those little stitches out.

          4. cafms | | #11

            The embossing article was in the Feb./Mar. 1998, #75 issue. "Lush, Embossed Velvet"  by Mary Benagh O'Neal.  This is a link to it online. ttp://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00072.asp  It isn't hard to do and can turn out really nice.  I've used the inexpensive stamps from Wal-Mart with good results.  It also works on fleece.

          5. Sancin | | #12

            Thank you - I think I have that article in my box ready to be bound. I will paw through the pile. Good excuse to do more sorting and binding!!

          6. Gloriasews | | #13

            Oh, Sancin - I, too, have a box of articles that I am sorting by categories, exactly like you - & some are hard to categorize, as they pertain to a couple of things.  I just picked up a bunch of binders at the dollar store today in which to place them.  Now I need more shelves! (but at least I'll now be able to find what I'm looking for when I need it, rather than 'pawing' through the box as we've both been doing :)  Oh, it's good to know I'm not the only one who does this!


          7. Gloriasews | | #14

            When these items are stamped, they're not washable, are they?  Sancin's fabric is velveteen.  I know that the article I read said that velvet couldn't be washed after it was heat-stamped.  How about the fleece, then?  (I didn't know you could get the stamps at Wal-Mart - thanks)!


          8. Josefly | | #15

            Good questions... I'd wondered about washing, too. I don't even know if velveteen will emboss as effectively as velvet does.

          9. Gloriasews | | #17

            I also wonder about velveteen, as it is much thicker & firmer than velvet.  It's worth a try, though, to see what happens (on a scrap, of course).  Fleece is another interesting, thick fabric, yet another lady said she embossed fleece, so let's see if she gives us more info.


          10. cafms | | #16

            The fleece can be washed.  I made a Christmas tree skirt out of some white fleece and stitched a large snowflake with a regular machine (not embroidery) and then used a small stamp to scatter embossed snowflakes all over it.  I usually wash it after Christmas since we have a live tree and sometimes they drip.  I've used it several years now and it is just like when I made it.  I don't put it in the dryer with heat.   Fleece does not take heat well but that is a good thing when doing the embossing.  I put the fleece or other fabric right side down on the stamp, spritzed it with water, then set the hot iron down on it till the sizzling stopped.  Be careful the steam holes on the sole plate aren't on the stamp.  You'll get an extra design. 

            I don't know about washing the velvet.  I've only done some small gift or sample things that haven't needed washing.  I'd think it would depend more on the washability of the velvet than the embossing. 

            When I was going to teach a class on the embossing several years ago I tried using several different fabrics from my stash that had a pile.  Corduroy embossed a little, velveteen some, but the pile was not really high enough to cause it to be flattened with the heat and pressure.  It was also cotton which doesn't do as well.  I had a piece of fabric that I really didn't know what the fiber content was, though I think it was man made.  It was a low pile but embossed beautifully.  I was able to use a stamp that said "thank you" in a fine, close script and it came out so clear.  My idea was to make some thank you notes with it.  In the Threads article Mary O'Neal says to use stamps with fairly solid designs.  She also says that some stamps will not stand up to the heat and the glue that holds them together will release.  The ones I had from Wal-Mart at that time were a light weight foam like stuff and they were 4 for a dollar.  I figured if they lasted through what I was doing and the class that would be all I needed but they are still just fine.

            Edited 11/16/2008 10:28 pm by cafms

          11. Gloriasews | | #18

            I was just telling Josefly that I hoped you'd give more info - & you certainly did!  Thanks so much!  You're the first person I've heard of who's stamped fleece - & with such success, too.  At what setting was your iron, did you have water in the iron & did you use a press cloth against the fleece?  (before you set the iron down on it).  I'm amazed that the foam stamps didn't melt or deteriorate somewhat.  The tree skirt must be lovely.  Did you heat-stamp the small snowflakes, too, or use ink/paint?

            Sancin's fabric is velveteen, which is usually cotton, & usually washes well, so she should try the stamping on a small scrap & see how it goes, then throw it in the wash & see if it still remains embossed, eh? 


          12. cafms | | #20

            Well I just tried to post a picture but it was too big and then lost everything I'd written too.

            My iron was on a high setting since I wanted to sort of melt the fleece.  I sprayed water on the fleece but didn't use a press cloth.  I didn't use steam because I was avoiding the holes in the iron.  I heat stamped the small snowflakes - no paint or ink.  It is all white on white.  I was surprised about the stamps, too.

            I remember there was an article on stamping slinky but I didn't have the right kind of slinky so didn't try that.

          13. Gloriasews | | #21

            Thanks so much for the added info.  I'll now have to see if I can find those foam stamps & try this out.  Too bad your picture didn't post.  Have you checked the archives for posting pictures?  Months ago (maybe even last year) Cherrypops gave very good directions for posting pictures.


          14. Josefly | | #19

            Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I think I'm going to be on the look-out for an iron with fewer/smaller/no steam vents. Mine has so many large tear-shaped vents, I think they interfere with efficient fusing of interfacings and stabilizers.I think the embossing article I saw was more recent than the one mentioned in this thread, and maybe focused on slinky knit fabric instead of velvet. I love the idea of the thank-you notes. And your Christmas tree skirt with the snowflakes sounds beautiful.

      3. Gloriasews | | #7

        Sancin, be very careful using the bleach.  Because the fabric is so old, it might just rot away.  Test it on a scrap & see what the bleach does - it might turn orange - or bleed.  The drapes must have been quite beautiful in their day, eh?  I'm still trying to think of the name of the product that burns out the nap (it seems to stick in my mind that it's something like Fray Check - same idea).  I'll check in my notions catalogue & see if they have some & let you know.  The product shouldn't make the area 'burned' turn darker, as you don't actually burn it.  You might be better off stenciling it.


      4. MaryinColorado | | #23

        There is a product called "Fiber Etch" I wonder if that would work for you.

        1. Sancin | | #24

          I'll check it out - need to find a source here. Our local craft shop recently closed and our local and only fabric shop is closing. I have read of the this 'stuff' in the past and wondered about it. Thanks for the suggestions.

          1. MaryinColorado | | #25

            I did a search at http://www.nancysnotions.com She has a scarf kit with the fiber etch on sale for around $12.00

          2. MaryinColorado | | #26

            oooooh, here's a really good one http://www.dharmatrading.com search under Fiber Etch  there are lots of goodies from the fiber etch to scarves, fabrics, and instructions.  Enjoy!  I have been happy with orders from them too.  Mary

          3. Gloriasews | | #27

            Fibre Etch - that's the name I was trying to think of!  We'll have to find a source in Canada, as the US prices are way too high now, with our dollar so low.  I was in our Fabricland last week & it's almost empty - & not a small spool of thread left!  They did say earlier that they were looking for larger premises, but I wouldn't be surprised if they will close permanently - too bad!  I guess it's back to Wal-Mart for us for fabrics, eh?  Maybe the PG Sewing Centre has it.  I haven't been there yet.  Michaels may have it, too.


          4. Sancin | | #28

            Re Fabricland - The rumor is they will close permanently but I was told they make too much money to leave. They have canceled some big contracts. Apparently if and when they open again it will be not until next summer. I guess we use online services until then or buy thread at Kathy's but she does have good thread. I don't like WalMart and Michaels doesn't have very good thread. M's also doesn't have the selection I have seen in other stores in BC and Wash. I can't believe they cleared all the fabric out of Fabricland - some was real junk. I was told some will buy anything as long as it is on sale! I may go back and buy some linen if they have any left. PG Sewing does have some good notions and not bad fabric but I really don't care for the store. Sometime I just don't have any choice. I doubt they have any Fibre Etch but will check it out. Willow Basket probably had some. Hard to believe the stores closing! Vanderhoof general store had some good stuff but not a nice drive in winter.

          5. Gloriasews | | #29

            All the fabric isn't gone from Fabricland yet, but it's pretty bare.  There are still suitings, polyester jerseys (dress-weight), some Christmas stuff, home dec, some formal wear/sheer fabrics, some cottons & lots of their bargain stuff left, & lots of cone thread, some notions & trims, but no small spools of thread.  I had heard that the Willow Basket was closing, too, but their ads don't mention it.  What/where is Kathy's, as I do need some good thread?  (As you can guess, I'm quite new to PG).  No, I'm not going to Vanderhoof at this time of year :).  What have you decided to do with your red velveteen?


          6. Sancin | | #30

            Kathy's Quilts is on 4th ave. If you quilt you have missed out on a dream shop. My furness has stopped working so not having a great day!I am not planning to make any decisions regarding my velvet until the spring. I do a lot of planning and not as much doing as I should.
            Have you come from a warm place to here? Take care.

          7. Gloriasews | | #31

            Not a good time of the year or week to have your furnace go, with more snow coming.  Do you have another source of heat? 

            Thanks for the info on Kathy's Quilts - I'll have to check there.  Take care & keep warm. 


          8. MaryinColorado | | #32

            Red velveteen would make a nice Valentines Day project. 

  3. User avater
    Sewista | | #22

    There is a product called Fiber Etch or something similar that you can use to burn out designs. It burns out the natural fibers and leaves the synthetic ones, or is it vice versa? Its been a few years since I have used it. Using this chemical will definitely necessitate a fabric with both synthetic and natural fibers. I am sure you can find this at Dharma Trading.

  4. sewslow67 | | #33

    I haven't read all of the replies (no time right now), but you can continue with the "burn-out" design by making a copy of it using hard rubber erasers or linoleum.  Just cut out the design on a piece of linoleum and then put the velvet (right side down) on it, and then press on the wrong side with a steam iron for several minutes.  When you turn your velvet right side up, you will find the design "burned out". 

    I hope I've described the process right, but if not, please let me know and I'll try to do a better job in explaining it.  I've done this though, and it works great.

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