Velvet Jacket for Real People
Added Jan 16, 2012
Brooklyn, New Yo...
I’ve been thinking about a fancy velvet jacket for a while and when saw this pattern I was inspired to make my own.
Rather than just make the jacket and post it, I thought I might share with the community the process I went through to refine the pattern for me.
My reference books for this project are:
Fit for Real People
Singer Sewing Reference Library: The Perfect Fit
Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket
I also documented several of the more intermediate parts of the construction process for this project. A few photos are here, and more can be found on my flickr page.
The fabric I am using for this project is 100% cotton velveteen.
Velveteen is short pile velvet which requires special handling and cutting. The pile lays in one direction which is referred to as the “nap”. If the garment is cut with the nap down the color will be lighter and perhaps shiny because light will reflect off the sides of the threads. If the garment is cut with the nap up the color will appear darker because light will sink into the fabric and not reflect off. Which direction a garment is cut in is a matter of personal preference. Velveteen has a short pile and would be a good choice to cut with the nap up, however I love the glamorous shine when oriented nap down so that is how I decided to cut
Velveteen is a dense fabric and does not drape as well as other fabrics. For this reason (and because of the nap direction) I have changed the collar pattern piece to have a center back seam and to be cut on the bias. I have also decided to cut the under collar and stand out of a contrasting wool fabric so that I can attach the interfacing by machine (a tailoring technique) which would be difficult to do with a velvet under collar.
It is difficult to press velveteen because the pressure of the iron can crush the pile. One way to avoid this is to use a needle board. Another method is to use a scrap piece of velveteen and turn it so the nap is facing the opposite direction as the piece being ironed. I tried the latter option when I tested fusible interfacing and was fortunate that the cotton velveteen shows very little impressions from pressing; however my fusible interfacing did not bond well with the back of the cotton so I decided to use machine interfacing methods.
The pile fibers make sewing with velveteen tricky because the pile slides easily. I recommend using a lot of pins and basting the seams prior to stitching them. A walking foot helps a lot to help control the feed of the fabric.