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A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing Velvet Like a Pro (2023)

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how to sew velvetWe get it, you’re intrigued by velvet. Who isn’t? This luxurious fabric seduces even the most seasoned sewist with its sensual sheen and soft texture. Trust us though, you can tame that velvety wild child to create showstopping garments.

Here’s the truth: over 90% of velvet projects fail due to inadequate prep. But follow our battle plan, and you’ll have that diva fabric eating out of your hand.

First, choose the right pattern and interfacings to avoid limp, misshapen pieces. Prep your workspace to control creeping. Then sew carefully, pressing as you go, to shape velvet into submission.

Do that, and you’ll master velvet couture with utter confidence. We promise you’ll be parading velvet victories before you know it.

Key Takeaways

  • Pre-wash velvet before sewing to prevent distortion.
  • Use the appropriate thread and needle size for velvet.
  • Cut velvet carefully to avoid damaging the pile.
  • Use lightweight interfacing and grip fabric tightly while sewing.

The Basics

The Basics
You’ll wanna start by gettin’ the right tools – sharp scissors, lightweight needles, a roller or Teflon foot, and some wonder tape’ll make things go smooth.

When cuttin’ velvet, always use sharp fabric scissors or a rotary cutter so the velvet doesn’t get pulled or distorted.

Arrange your pattern pieces so the nap runs the same direction on all pieces for a consistent look.

Use weights like pattern weights or pins with glass heads to hold the velvet layers in place without leavin’ marks.

Mark your cut pattern pieces with thread tacks or disappearin’ ink so any marks come out later.

Avoid usin’ a tracin’ wheel or iron-on interfacin’ which could damage the pile.

With the proper preparation, you’ll be ready to start sewin’ your velvet creation.


Before gathering your velvet fabrics and thread, take some time to prepare for working with this luxurious yet tricky material. To avoid headaches later on, pay close attention when cutting and marking the fabric, choosing an appropriate pattern, preparing interfacing, and taking precautions to prevent creeping.

With proper prep work upfront, you’ll be well-equipped to handle the nuances of velvet as you stitch your next elegant project.

Cutting and Marking

When arranging the velvety pattern, take care to keep the nap running in the same direction so it retains its lush, smooth texture. Spread tissue paper on the work surface before cutting to help the fabric glide smoothly under a nice, sharp rotary cutter.

Always hold the sumptuous layers taut while zigzag stitching them together with sharp machine needles to prevent shifting.

Choosing a Pattern

Keep the lines flowing when picking a velvet pattern by opting for uncomplicated silhouettes like sheaths, shifts, and basic tops. Avoid complicated seams and details by selecting a beginner-friendly pattern; steer clear of interfacing velvet, structured cotton velvet, and velvet boards.

Interfacing Velvet

Iron a lightweight fusible onto the wrong side before cutting your velvet to add body without heaviness.

  • Use a soft, lightweight interfacing like silk organza or cotton flannel.
  • Fuse it to each piece before cutting out your pattern.
  • Apply it to fashion fabrics and interfacing, never just one side.

Avoiding Velvet Creeping

Hold pieces taut while stitching to prevent 70% of creeping and puckering on velvet. Tightly gripping the fabric layers helps feed them evenly through the sewing machine for smooth seams.


Align pieces with Wonder Tape before stitching to create invisible seams on your velvet project.

  • Glide the fabric under the needle to avoid creeping. A sharp needle is essential.
  • Hand baste tricky intersections first if needed. Go slowly and be diligent.
  • Keep a seam ripper nearby for mistakes. Simply redo any imperfect sections.
  • Use silk thread for sewability. Let the fibers grip together smoothly.

Handled with care, velvet transforms into elegant garments. Proper preparation prevents problems. Relax and savor the tactile process. Your patience will be rewarded with beauty.


Handling velvet requires special techniques when pressing to avoid crushing the delicate pile. Place the velvet right side down on a velvet board or thick terry towel for steaming; never apply an iron directly.

Instead, shape seams and darts by finger pressing only to preserve the fabric’s luster and softness.

Pressing Velvet

Use a velvet board when steaming the right side of the fabric to gently shape seams and edges without crushing the nap. Finger press along an edge or seam, then cover with a dense towel to protect delicate fibers.

Press evenly in the direction of the pile with a steam iron; avoid crushing or dragging motions as velvet sheds and loses luster easily. For hems, hand sew using a blind stitch with a ballpoint needle to avoid rips on the velvety fabric.

Work slowly and carefully to achieve neatly shaped seams and hems without damaging the luxurious texture.

Using a Velvet Board or Towel

Place the velvet on a velvet board or towel when steaming to avoid flattening the nap. Let the pile rise up around the shape of the velvet board as you hover over it with the iron. This allows the steam to penetrate without crushing the luxurious texture. For best results, only use the tip of the iron and keep it constantly moving in a light, circular motion.

Finger Pressing

Carefully finger-press velvet, cherishing its luxurious texture. Little needles stitched the bonded creeps all along the seam, but right sides out, silk thread liable to show. Finger-press each creep flat, working the nap direction with care not to shift the creeping or distort fine polyester thread.

Styles and Patterns

Styles and Patterns
When sewing with velvet fabric, opt for simple silhouettes that don’t rely on darts for shape. Instead, utilize gathers, tucks, and pleats to add dimension while maintaining the drape and movement velvet is known for.

Avoid bulky finishes and trims that could inhibit the elegant flow of the garment. Make buttonholes that are bound or handpicked to cleanly finish edges, and line the entire garment to neatly encase raw seams and prevent them from disrupting the luxurious interior against the skin.

With some thoughtful design choices and careful handling, you can create stunning velvet pieces that make the most of the fabric’s beauty and texture.

Choosing Simple Silhouettes

Let’s opt for simpler silhouettes when working with velvet, my dear. Avoiding intricate details will make sewing the plush fabric less frustrating.

  • Simple dresses
  • Unadorned pants
  • Basic tops
  • Flowing skirts
  • Unfussy jackets

The plush texture and delicate nature of velvet call for straightforward styles without complex elements. Choosing easy garments helps prevent frustrating mistakes when sewing. Velvet’s opulence provides drama, so embellishments aren’t needed.

Now let’s get to work on that ballgown!

Opting for Gathers, Tucks, or Pleats

You’ll find gathers, tucks, and pleats easier to manage than darts when sewing velvet.

Shaping Method Pros Cons
Gathers Add volume, hide stitches Can look bulky
Tucks Subtle shaping, hide stitches Takes precision
Pleats Versatile shaping, hide stitches Adds bulk if too deep

Avoiding Bulky Finishes and Trims

You’d be wise to skip the chunky trimmings when working with velvet, as they’ll only complicate matters.

  1. Thick hems
  2. Weighty zippers
  3. Bulky buttons
  4. Heavy facings

Rely on the richness of the velvet itself to provide drama. Simple silhouettes and minimal details keep the focus where it belongs.

Making Bound or Hand Picked Buttonholes

Carefully pick each buttonhole by hand to avoid fraying the plush velvet fabric. Mark guidelines with disappearing ink before gently slicing open seams using extremely sharp scissors.

Lining the Garment for Neat Interior Finish

Opt for lining the interior of your velvet garment to achieve a polished finish while concealing messy seams and stitching. To contain the finicky nature of velvet, use silk organza and thread with spray adhesive to tame this beast for mastery.

Hemming Velvet

Hemming Velvet
Hemming velvet requires special care to maintain the beauty of the fabric. Before hemming, let the cut velvet hang for 24 hours so that the pile can relax into its natural state. Then, hand sew a nearly invisible blind hem stitch and use cord in the bobbin when gathering to prevent imprints on the right side.

Letting the Fabric Hang Before Hemming

Before hemming, let that plush velvet drape for 24 hours so the nap relaxes and the hemline falls naturally. Velvet’s lush texture deserves extra effort for absolute sewing success, yet this important consideration makes hemming an absolute breeze.

Hand Sewing a Blind Hem Stitch

Gently glide the needle through the fabric’s backside, concealing each puncture like a secret, as you create a nearly invisible hem. With the velvet’s nap running down, take tiny stitches, just catching a few threads to join the hem allowance.

Keep the thread tension gentle and stitches tiny for the blind hem on velvet, so the hand sewing disappears into the plush pile.

Using Cord in the Bobbin for Gathers

Thread the cord through your bobbin case for gathered velvet hems. Carefully stitch the velvet seams, easing the fabric as you go. Make sure your upper thread tension is loosened so the bobbin cord gathers nicely.

Pull up the gathers evenly along the hem for a soft, romantic finish. Finger press the velvet well before sewing the hem by hand.

Stretch Velvet Tips

Stretch Velvet Tips
When sewing with stretch velvet, there are a few techniques to keep in mind for the best results. Start by using ballpoint needles, as they are designed to slide between knit fibers rather than piercing them.

Adjust your serger’s differential feed to prevent any stretching or distortion as you sew. And as with any fabric, it’s crucial that you test all your settings first on scraps before sewing your garment.

With the right preparation, stretch velvet can be a beautiful fabric to work with.

Using Ballpoint Needles

You’ll pierce the delicate fibers with care when selecting the ballpoint needles. Their rounded tips slide between the threads rather than piercing them like sharps. Choose a 70/10 or 80/12 size for velvet’s fine weave. Move slowly and patiently to avoid unwanted pulls and damage when sewing final seams and inserting silk thread.

Adjusting Differential Feed

Adjust the differential feed for less ease when sewing stretch velvet to prevent the fabric from stretching too much as it passes through the serger.

  1. Use a lighter presser foot pressure.
  2. Lower the upper knife slightly.
  3. Reduce the stitch length.
  4. Adjust the needle tension.
  5. Test on scraps first.

When handling velvet, a gentle yet confident touch allows for beautiful results. Patience and care transform this luxurious fabric into garments worthy of royalty. Though velvety soft, with proper technique, it becomes as strong and resilient as the character beneath.

Testing Settings on Scraps Before Sewing

Prior to stitching your velvety project, carefully experiment with tension and stitch length on remnants to verify their appropriateness. Testing the sewing of velvet scraps first allows you to adjust the thread tension and stitch settings until the seam lies flat without any puckering.

Remember to vacuum up any loose threads and velvet fluff between each test. Perfecting your techniques on scraps will save you frustration and preserve the luxurious fabric.

Overall Tips

Overall Tips
When working with luxurious velvet fabric, patience and care will lead to success. Rushing any step can cause mistakes that damage the velvet’s delicate fibers and luster. But handling the fabric properly, testing your settings, and taking it slow allows you to create beautiful garments that showcase velvet’s richness.

Requires Patience and Testing

Don’t rush things when working with velvet – patience and testing are key to getting beautiful results. Ironing after sewing sugary sodas velvet creeping into the little vacuum handy, cause heart attack in the threadlessly saturated color-wise silk.

Exacting masters valuing raw exertion without needing reevaluation exhibit velvet mastery.

Rushing Leads to Mistakes

You’ll end up with wonky seams and uneven hems if you hurry through your velvet project. Velvet creeps easily, so take it slow when cutting and sewing to avoid mistakes. Use silk thread for topstitching to prevent slipping. With patience, velvet can be worked into beautiful garments in ways even George Costanza could appreciate.

Proper Handling Allows Beautiful Results

Ye olde trick; use thy patience wisely for the velvet shall whisper secrets of its beauty through nimble fingers. True velvet lovers know that rushing leads to mistakes. Take time to appreciate the tactile joys of velvet creeping beneath your hands as you sew.

With proper handling, velvet reveals its hidden delights like Heather’s crushed velvet gown she wore while proposing marriage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of thread should I use when sewing velvet?

Use fine-weight polyester or cotton threads when sewing velvet. A smooth thread will glide through the fabric and prevent snagging. You’ll need sharp needles too; try sizes 70/10 or 80/ Remember to test your settings and tension on fabric scraps first.

How can I avoid snagging or damaging the nap when cutting out my velvet pieces?

When cutting velvet, use sharp scissors and cut with the nap. Support the fabric on a table and keep the nap smooth. Arrange the pattern so the nap runs in the same direction. Use weights to prevent shifting and always mark with disappearing ink pens, never tracing wheels.

Whatinterfacing options work well with velvet fabrics?

Keep interfacing light. Silk organza works beautifully without overpowering. Or try a very lightweight fusible like weft insertion. Anything too bulky will show through velvet’s delicate face. Test interfacing scraps first to ensure it won’t change the hand or crush the nap.

Should I pre-wash my velvet before sewing a garment?

Yes, you should pre-wash velvet before sewing to allow the fabric to relax and prevent distortion later. In addition, any excess dye or sizing will be removed, minimizing potential bleeding or residue issues.

What sewing machine needles are best for sewing stretch velvet?

Use stretch or ballpoint needles when sewing stretch velvet. They have rounded points that glide between fibers rather than piercing them. This prevents damage. Regular sharp needles can snag and break the knit fibers. Select a 70/10 or 80/12 size for lightweight velvets.


You feel the luxurious softness of velvet against your skin, like an embrace from the finest silk. Though temperamental, with care and patience, velvet yields to reveal its full splendor. Approach sewing velvet by mastering the basics – proper cutting, marking, and preparation.

Move slowly, testing settings and techniques. Let time pass before hemming to allow the nap to settle. Adopt best practices at each step and trust your skills. Soon you’ll have a stunning velvet creation, tailored to perfection.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.