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Velvet Jacket for Real People

Added Jan 16, 2012

by wzrdreams

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.

Material Notes

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.



Related Techniques


Garment Type
Classic, Evening Wear
Cotton, Velvet

11 Comments Sign in to add a post

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    Mar 5, 2013, 12.06 AMby annybell

    Did you add the back vent? I really hate doing them and was hoping to omit it

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    Jan 22, 2012, 02.21 PMby wzrdreams

    Thank you all for the lovely comments! I’m so glad you enjoyed the project details.

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    Jan 22, 2012, 08.25 AMby kslaughter

    Wow! What a beautiful, classic coat! Thanks so much for taking the time to write up some of your construction notes.

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    Jan 19, 2012, 04.00 PMby gretajutie65

    I love your detailed report. It is a great help of actual adjustment of the pattern. I was afraid of fitting problems to making a coat with a kind of expensive fabric. After reading your notes, I feel much better and now I’m ready to try. Thanks a lot!

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    Jan 19, 2012, 11.55 AMby anajan

    Well done Grace! Your instructions are so straight forward and easy to follow, too. Nice jacket!

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    Jan 18, 2012, 01.07 PMby nanhewitt

    I am wanting to try this with the faux suede/sheerling that is presently my favorite fabric – at $25 a yard, I can’t afford to make mistakes – thank you for allof the tips and hints, now to wait for a 50% off fabric sale!!

    1 Reply
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      Jan 18, 2012, 02.38 PMby wzrdreams

      That sounds lovely! Do take the time to make the muslin so you can avoid fitting problems and be confident in the sewing order. Good luck!

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    Jan 18, 2012, 08.38 AMby cikk

    Wow. It’s gorgeous. and it really suits you. I’m also impressed with your balls in tackling a whole coat out of velveteen. I made a long black velvet A-line skirt way back when and turned the air blue cos of slippage… and that was with 5000 pins and tacking!

    Just a sidenote – I made a pinafore dress/jumper (now I am sounding like the mag:) ) in fine-ish corduroy from a retro pattern and after a little research found that it has the same inherent problems as velvet. Since my fabric had a little elastane in it, that added to the problems involved with pressing since it is not supposed to be given too much heat or steam. The solution I used after quite a bit of research was finger pressing, using my steam iron just above the seams etc, and since I don’t have a needle board, I used a thick pile towel underneath – which is anotehr alternative to putting a piece of velvet underneath. Worked great. Love my dress.

    1 Reply
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      Jan 18, 2012, 02.37 PMby wzrdreams

      Yeah, cordurouy defintely gets squashed when pressed, but most corduroy I’ve used is cotton and machine washable so I find that it revives pretty well in the wash. I made some corduroy pants not too long ago and I think I pressed as usual while makeing them.

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    Jan 17, 2012, 10.35 PMby SatinBirdDesigns

    Beautiful coat!

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    Jan 17, 2012, 04.08 PMby Saeriu

    Love the color and love the style! A winter coat is on my new year’s resolution to-do list for this year. I’ve picked a similar style and ruby-red cordoury. I can’t wait to get started. Great job on the coat!

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    Jan 17, 2012, 03.40 PMby The Tropical Sewist

    What a deliciously sumptuous-looking coat! Thanks for all the helpful tips…I just bought my first piece of velveteen to try and I’m nervous about cutting into it!

    1 Reply
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      Jan 17, 2012, 04.12 PMby wzrdreams

      Don’t be afraid of velvet or velveteen! Just pay attention to your cutting layout and pin and baste your seams. Good luck!

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    Jan 16, 2012, 04.05 PMby jenss-1

    Cute coat – perfect fabric alternative for the style. Thank you for posting the info about working with velveteen. It was really informative and I’ll consider working with this fabric now.

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