Three Sundays ago at church one of my favorite lady friends was wearing a black velvet blazer that her son had bought her for Christmas. It was great....so great.... it inspired me.
Oh, inspiration. It's what keeps me from homework and sleep, but I love it. At Tissu in downtown Salt Lake, my new favorite store, was a royal blue stretch velvet that immediately came to my mind when I saw my favorite lady's blazer. A royal blue velvet blazer???? SIGN ME UP.
That following Friday afternoon, with 2 yards of royal blue velvet in hand, I planned on making my blazer with this pattern in time for mine and my husband's Valentine's dinner that Saturday night. I honestly thought it would be no big deal and I could do it easy peazy.
WRONG. SO WRONG.
Since stretch velvet is a knit, I thought I would serge my blazer and use just facings to give it support. No lining or nothing. I had done that before with this blazer and it worked out great.
The thing about stretch velvet: the nap has to be treated with careful hands. The other thing- it will stretch out while sewing because of the darn nap. The lining-less blazer I had made for two days straight ended up with one side being about 3 inches longer than the other due to serging the nap. That darn blazer almost killed every ounce of work ethic in me, and it ended up in my "fail" suitcase, with all the other lost causes.
I was beyond frustrated and mad. If you aren't a sewer, the only way I can think to describe this feeling of loss and frustration is this: making a dry, undercooked Turkey on Thanksgiving day with the entire extended family feasting on mashed potatoes because that's the only thing edible. And on my Valentine's date, I was definitely feasting on Cheesecake Factory mashed potatoes, swallowing my pride.
So, with nothing done but the failed blazer, I went through my week of school, work, and fiercely catching up with all my homework. But Friday afternoon rolled around again, and that blue velvet was still calling my name as I tried to not go to Tissu after class. But I did. And I'm so glad I did. I lamented my story to the owner of Tissu, Teresa, and she gave me several tips on sewing with velvet:
1. You HAVE to hand baste the seams before putting them through the machine-- that's the only way to sew velvet properly.
2. For a piece like a structured blazer, you might as well treat stretch velvet like a woven, instead of a knit. That means regular stitches and lots of pressing.
3. Don't use a bulky interfacing with stretch velvet. Hell, NEVER use a bulky interfacing on anything. Interfacing should always be lighter than the fashion fabric. She suggested using a feather weight fuisble tricot for my blazer.
After hand basting EVERY DARN SEAM in this blazer, remaking that pattern that I used before, because it was really bad (It's amazing what being in my advanced pattern drafting class at SLCC has taught me only a month in-- what was I doing before this? I trashed my old pattern. I'll be using this one from now on), and actually lining it with a mustard gold charmuese, I ended up making the most perfect little blazer EVER. Seriously, I think it's the best thing I've ever made, or maybe just favorite thing. The velvet has so much life and humor to it. Can a blazer be funny? Not funy lookin'-just funny? I think it makes more of an arrogant laugh, like: "Bow down to me, peons! I am VELVET!"
|This isn't a great pic, I know. But do you see the luxury in the bracelet length sleeves, as I do? If you saw me in Costco, you'd give me a double take...as I bite my lip like a weirdo.|
|Even though the lining isn't a stretch lining, with the fashion fabric is stretch velvet, the blazer still fits great because I treated the velvet like a woven; meaning: wearing ease like a woven blazer.|
|gold buttons for a luxurious blazer.|
|I made the blazer with a shawl collar. I really like it. Not hard to sew either.|
Back to homework.