Blue/Grey Stretch Velvet

Stretch Velvet fabric

Melissa Stramel is the designer behind Lilac Lane Patterns, with lots of patterns for girls and a full range of patterns for accessories too. (There are even matching 18-inch doll patterns for the girls’ designs!)

Lilac Lane Patterns is having a website launch party this week, and they’re also celebrating the release of their 50th pattern! There are tons of giveaways on the site, including one for each of the 50 patterns.

Melissa is here with her comprehensive research on Types of Velvet + How to Sew with Velvet. It’s all you’ll ever need to know about this luxurious and special fabric! Melissa covers Cotton or Twill Velvet, Triple Velvet and Stretch Velvet, plus she has tips for sewing with all types of velvet.

The purple dress shown below is Melissa’s Enchanting Dress pattern, a great opportunity for you to use velvet in your next sewing project. Head over to Lilac Lane Patterns and the Lilac Lane blog for a chance to win this pattern and more!

Types of Velvet + How to Sew with Velvet

When you’re in the mood to make something fancy, do you ever think about fabrics other than quilting cottons? Pattern designers love to work with cottons for several reasons: they are easy to sew with; they are printed in vivid, gorgeous designs; and the quilting industry will often sponsor a designer with a gift of fabric if they will feature it.

However, I have recently begun to think about the world of different types of fabric, and there are so many choices. Because we’re not sure how to work with them, there are fabrics getting completely ignored that make such a beautifully finished product. When you think of all the time you invest in creating a garment, isn’t it worth your while to check out ALL the types of fabric?

One of these fabrics is velvet. Does working with velvet scare you? It has a “hard to work with” reputation. Some of the things you may have heard about velvet is that it is slippery and expensive. Let me give you some tips on how to use this luxurious product.

But first, let’s talk about different types of velvet. Velvet encompasses a broad range of fabrics. Velvet can be made from silk, cotton, linen, wool, rayon, polyester, nylon or acetate. I like to divide velvet into three categories, based on how it finishes rather than what it’s made from:

  • Cotton or Twill Velvet
  • Triple Velvet
  • Stretch Velvet

Here are a few tips for working with all types of velvet:

  • Most types of velvet need to be dry cleaned. That alone can make some people run! If you buy velvet from a reputable seller, directions for cleaning it will come with the fabric. There are some velvets that can be hand washed or even machine washed in cold water. Before creating your garment, be sure to prewash the fabric. This means to have it treated as you will treat the finished product. If you plan to hand wash, then hand wash the fabric before starting to cut.
  • Always cut the velvet with the nap going in the same direction. If you look at a piece of ANY type of velvet, you will see that it has fibers that lay in a certain direction. This pile is called the nap. Some like the nap to go up on the garment, and others like it to go down. Regardless, it needs to go in the same direction on your entire garment. Velvet looks darker when the nap goes up.
  • Speaking of cutting, it’s easier to cut velvet with the pile facing in (if folded) and the wrong side of the fabric facing up towards you.

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