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Sewing with Velvet - Tips/Tricks?

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  • Rae
    Recently I work where the material is velvet --- specifically silk velvet that is lightweight and very soft, no stretch. Several of the projects require
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 31, 2004
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      Recently I work where the material is velvet --- specifically silk
      velvet that is lightweight and very soft, no stretch. Several of
      the projects require lining too. Are there any tips or tricks
      people have when sewing with velvet?

      I am finding that no matter how carefully I cut my fabric, either
      because of the pieces or the material they end up being off in terms
      of length, i.e., when matching seams one side is longer than the
      other. Also while pinning I'm using a pin almost every eighth inch
      to keep the fabric from shifting and my seams are still crooked.
      Coupled with that, seams pinned that match end to end wind up
      puckered when sewed because the fabric shifts moving it up or down
      along the seam.

      I have alternatively loosened and tightened my tension. I have
      lengthened and shortened my stitch length, sewn slower, pinned in
      all sorts of creative ways to prevent this to no avail. I also take
      pieces to be sewn together and measured to ensure they are exactly
      the same length yet when pinned end up with sometimes as much as two
      inches of fabric on one side (lining material or velvet) that no
      amount of adjusting fixes. My patience is exhausted and need to
      know if there is some kind of tip or trick to prevent these from
      happening. Or do you just accept this happens and live with?

      Luckily, through trim, topstitching, garment design, and other
      means, none of these "mistakes" appear visible in the finished
      garment but it is frustrating. It is especially frustating when it
      takes more than an hour to pin, adjust, repin, adjust again just to
      start all over just to get a seam pinned before I can even start
      sewing. I love the silk velvet; how it feels and lays. And it
      looks amazing when sewn but I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth
      the trouble. A court dress skirt I can do in a three hours with
      another material is taking as much as 10 to sew in the velvet and
      that is a cost I cannot pass on to customers.

      Any help would be greatly appreciated as I have seven garments to
      sew all in velvet and anticipate more soon.

      Rae
    • Sheila Martinez
      Rae, There are probably other people on this list that will respond and will probably have better ideas. BUT..... here goes. This is how I do it. 1. Make
      Message 2 of 15 , Jan 31, 2004
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        Rae,
        There are probably other people on this list that will respond and will probably have
        better ideas. BUT..... here goes. This is how I do it.
        1. Make sure that your nap is all going the same way when you cut...but you know that I'm sure.
        2. When I put my two sides together, I sort of press them so that the nap will adhere. It is kinda of like marrying the pieces together. I do not use pins, because pins distort the union of the two pieces
        3. Then I use tissue paper under the needle side. This is esp important on the side seam of a skirt where the cut is across grain. I just put a strip of tuiiue paper on the seam line and stitch away. The stitching perforates the paper and it tears away easily.
        4. I also use a very fine needle..like Schmetz 10 or 12.
        your friend sheila in Austin
        Rae <raedowning@...> wrote:
        Recently I work where the material is velvet --- specifically silk






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      • K Murphy
        Rae: I have found a rolling or especially a walking foot to be extremely helpful when working with the more tempermental velvets. These are attachments
        Message 3 of 15 , Jan 31, 2004
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          Rae:

          I have found a "rolling" or especially a "walking" foot to be extremely helpful when working with the more tempermental velvets. These are attachments you can purchase for any sewing maching that help it feed the material under the needle evenly from the top and bottom, instead of the feed dogs doing all the work. A walking foot is also great for for sewing varying thicknesses of fabric (as in jeans) or materials that tend to stick, such as vinyl/leather. They are not cheap, but since you have such a number of garments to do, it would probably be worth the investment to buy the best one you can find. (There are very $$ industrial machines that only have a walking foot -- in my experience, that's how the garment industry sews velvet).

          Velvet is one of those love/hate fabrics. Love to look at it, hate to work with it!

          Kate Murphy



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        • lanorte1@aol.com
          In a message dated 1/31/2004 9:37:54 AM Central Standard Time, ... Rae: I know what you mean - I love the finished look, but HATE to work with velvet. What
          Message 4 of 15 , Jan 31, 2004
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            In a message dated 1/31/2004 9:37:54 AM Central Standard Time,
            raedowning@... writes:

            > Recently I work where the material is velvet --- specifically silk
            > velvet that is lightweight and very soft, no stretch. Several of
            > the projects require lining too. Are there any tips or tricks
            > people have when sewing with velvet?

            Rae:

            I know what you mean - I love the finished look, but HATE to work with
            velvet. What I've ended up doing is pinning about every 1/4" or so, and then I hand
            baste the seam before sewing. Time consuming, yes, but it's the only thing
            that's worked for me.

            Good luck

            Donna


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Renee Schmutz
            Eek! Velvet..but I love velvet, but I hate velvet..... Sorry, I m still working thru issues. :) My first big show off-y sewing project was a red velvet
            Message 5 of 15 , Jan 31, 2004
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              Eek! Velvet..but I love velvet, but I hate velvet.....

              Sorry, I'm still working thru issues. :)

              My first big show off-y sewing project was a red velvet imperial Russian
              styled gown. It was quite an...experience.

              Anyway, we discovered (after the fact, of course) that they make a really
              nifty lil sewing foot just for this problem. It's called a walking foot, and
              there is also an attachment that works almost as good and is a lil bit
              cheaper called a rolling foot.

              I hope this helps some, and good luck with the velvet....

              Renee :)
            • Sheila Martinez
              Renee, Thanks for reminding me about the rolling foot. I always pull it out when I sew velvet, leather or polyurethane. I use every trick I can come up with
              Message 6 of 15 , Jan 31, 2004
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                Renee,
                Thanks for reminding me about the rolling foot. I always pull it out when I sew velvet, leather or polyurethane. I use every trick I can come up with to keep a smooth seam. I am eager to get the walking foot. I understand that it is also great for buttonholes? Think I read that in a Threads Magazine a couple of years ago.

                good luck with your issues! ;-)
                sheila


                Anyway, we discovered (after the fact, of course) that they make a really
                nifty lil sewing foot just for this problem. It's called a walking foot, and
                there is also an attachment that works almost as good and is a lil bit
                cheaper called a rolling foot.

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              • sylvia@ntw.net
                Hi Kate, I dont know if the Starting Over show is of any interest to any others on this list, but in case it is, and because I have grown to be hooked on it
                Message 7 of 15 , Jan 31, 2004
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                  Hi Kate,
                  I dont know if the Starting Over show is of any interest to any others on
                  this list, but in case it is, and because I have grown to be hooked on it
                  (you can tell I don't have enough work to do), I have a question about
                  Karen and her projects with you. This concerns past shows so I gather
                  you can answer it.

                  We saw Karen get together with you a few weeks ago and you gave her an
                  assignment to make some costumes for one of your shows. Then we saw her
                  go to the opening of said show. Then there was nothing about her for
                  awhile until just the other day when we saw her meeting with you again on
                  what was apparently a new assignment. Is this the case? Or were they
                  flashing back to the first assignment you gave her? It was rather
                  confusing. I'm just trying to follow her progress since she is involved
                  in the same business so many of us on this list are.

                  I also wanted to bring up her problem with hating to sew. I totally
                  sympathize, however, I have wondered why no one on Starting Over has
                  brought up the point with her that one doesnt automatically get to
                  design without putting in years of either construction work or school
                  training. Without any prior theatrical experience, does she really think
                  that someone is going to hand her a design job, especially one that she
                  wouldn't have to sew herself? Has anyone taken the time to explain to her
                  how the business really functions?

                  Sylrog
                • mrbs1163
                  ... foot -- in my experience, that s how the garment industry sews velvet). ... I have been working at The Shakespeare Theatre in DC. And for the industrials
                  Message 8 of 15 , Feb 1, 2004
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                    --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, K Murphy
                    <costumerkate@y...> wrote:
                    > Rae:
                    >
                    > (There are very $$ industrial machines that only have a walking
                    foot -- in my experience, that's how the garment industry sews
                    velvet).
                    >
                    I have been working at The Shakespeare Theatre in DC. And for the
                    industrials there we have a "velvet foot" it is a little smaller than
                    a zipper foot with a hole in the center for the needle, the bottom of
                    the foot is shaped in a wedge and pushes the velvet together just on
                    the seam line. I love this foot!! Unfortunately, bernina does not
                    make one for my machine at home, it seems to be made only for
                    industrial machines.

                    Maria
                  • Stickfries@aol.com
                    You know, I caught that show once and I was thinking the exact same thing! I just saw the episode where she was fighting because an assignment was due on in a
                    Message 9 of 15 , Feb 1, 2004
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                      You know, I caught that show once and I was thinking the exact same thing! I
                      just saw the episode where she was fighting because an assignment was due on
                      in a few days or something and she got upset. It was funny because I am
                      currently working on a show where an actor had to leave so roles got switched
                      around and added so I am stuck figuring it out in a day or two. But, that is par
                      for the course. At first dress, the director may not agree,or I may want to
                      change some choices that I have made. It is tough. It is hard enough to get a
                      job even with a decade of training and experience. She also needs to be told
                      that she has to work on her sketching and rendering skills.

                      K


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • sylvia@ntw.net
                      ... ago. He claimed to make diffferent ones for different types of domestic machines but I tried 3 of them on my 3 sewing machines that I owned at the time, a
                      Message 10 of 15 , Feb 1, 2004
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                        > I tried buying one from a merchant I met at a sewing fair a few years
                        ago. He claimed to make diffferent ones for different types of domestic
                        machines but I tried 3 of them on my 3 sewing machines that I owned at
                        the time, a Singer, a Pfaff and a Kenmore, and could never find one that
                        would fit.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, K Murphy
                        >>costumerkate@y...
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > foot -- in my experience, that's how the garment industry sews
                        > velvet).
                        >
                        > I have been working at The Shakespeare Theatre in DC. And for the
                        > industrials there we have a "velvet foot" it is a little smaller
                        > than
                        > a zipper foot with a hole in the center for the needle, the bottom of
                        > the foot is shaped in a wedge and pushes the velvet together just on
                        > the seam line. I love this foot!! Unfortunately, bernina does not
                        > make one for my machine at home, it seems to be made only for
                        > industrial machines.
                        >
                        > Maria
                      • K Murphy
                        Hey there, Sylvia and K (Stickfries) -- Sylivia, the project you saw Karen attending as a completed assignment was for the Neo-Futurists, and it was a
                        Message 11 of 15 , Feb 1, 2004
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                          Hey there, Sylvia and K (Stickfries) --

                          Sylivia, the project you saw Karen attending as a "completed" assignment was for the Neo-Futurists, and it was a completely different project from the one I worked on with Karen. I assigned her seven costumes to design and build for a production of "Here Comes the Sun," an original children's theater piece at the Raven Theater in Chicago.

                          And yes, I talked to Karen at great length about how the business works, what kinds of jobs are out there in costuming, and also how she couldn't expect just to jump right in to paying design work with no training or education or theatrical costuming experience or rendering skills. She was very nice and glad I was honest with her, and she understood that she was at a disadvantage due to her background. You can tell from watching the show that she also wasn't very enthusiastic about the specific opportunity she had with me. I encouraged her to pursue work in the costume rental business or in wardrobe (especially film and tv because they are more lucrative) because they are easier to break into without an education.


                          On TV, you've only seen us together twice, but believe me, we had worked together a great deal more than that before my second appearance (last week), when I told her I'd have to fire her if she was working (as opposed to volunteering) for me.

                          I know what "really" happened, but we'll all just have to stay tuned and find out what the "Starting Over" folks decide to show you. I recently found out that one of the original producers of the show (Mary Ellis Bunim) has been very ill and just passed away, which may or may not have contributed to the confusing editing of the different stories.

                          "Starting Over" seems to me to be more about emotions and drama than about "reality," so it's not too surprising that they leave out the meat and potatoes and only show you the gravy. It is also very exploitative of the women, always getting them to bare their souls (or legs) and that was something I think Karen chafed at. And once the "Life Coach" decided (several weeks ago) that all Karen needed was "to believe in herself," well, so much for education, training, experience...even the desire to actually do the work.

                          Kate Murphy



                          sylvia@... wrote:
                          Hi Kate,
                          ...This concerns past shows so I gather
                          you can answer it.

                          We saw Karen get together with you a few weeks ago and you gave her an
                          assignment to make some costumes for one of your shows. Then we saw her
                          go to the opening of said show. Then there was nothing about her for
                          awhile until just the other day when we saw her meeting with you again on
                          what was apparently a new assignment. Is this the case? Or were they
                          flashing back to the first assignment you gave her? It was rather
                          confusing. I'm just trying to follow her progress since she is involved
                          in the same business so many of us on this list are.

                          I also wanted to bring up her problem with hating to sew. I totally
                          sympathize, however, I have wondered why no one on Starting Over has
                          brought up the point with her that one doesnt automatically get to
                          design without putting in years of either construction work or school
                          training. Without any prior theatrical experience, does she really think
                          that someone is going to hand her a design job, especially one that she
                          wouldn't have to sew herself? Has anyone taken the time to explain to her
                          how the business really functions?

                          Sylrog




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                        • K D
                          Hello, I don t know if you can help me, but I decided to give it a try.... I saw at the website a some references to a cameleon pattern and a cameleon
                          Message 12 of 15 , Feb 2, 2004
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                            Hello,
                            I don't know if you can help me, but I decided to give
                            it a try....
                            I saw at the website a some references to a"cameleon
                            pattern" and a "cameleon costume" and got
                            very interested in it. I tried a search at the
                            internet but their site is under construction and thus
                            I could have no more
                            details....
                            Since I am living in Greece, it is impossible to call
                            them by phone.
                            Thus, i would like to know if you have any information
                            conserning this costume/pattern,
                            Thanks for any information,
                            KD




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                          • Loretta Larson-Armstrong
                            OO!!! OO!! I can help you!!! I am in the process of ordering some cameleon patterns!! The Camelion company no longer has a website. You can occasionaly find
                            Message 13 of 15 , Feb 2, 2004
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                              OO!!! OO!! I can help you!!! I am in the process of ordering some
                              cameleon patterns!!
                              The Camelion company no longer has a website. You can occasionaly
                              find them at Rennisance Festivals, but I don't know if they travel
                              overseas. The only website that has any info is http://www.crystal-
                              stix.com/camln.html BUT YOU CAN NOT ORDER FROM HERE. Unfortunalty
                              all my contact information is at school- I will send it to you first
                              thing tomorrow morning. I love the camelions, they are great. I own
                              one and have made a couple my self. The company sells the pattern
                              which I personaly think is the greatest thing to happen. I also have
                              an order placed with them, as soon as I hear from them, I will let
                              you know that too. Like I said- contact info, tomorrow morning. (Uh,
                              colorado time.) BTW, the web link I gave has a link to a small video
                              where you see some demonstration.

                              Much apologies for spelling errors- I teach costumes, not english.

                              Loretta
                              aka lamina the great
                              www.laminathegreat.com

                              --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, K D <kallbar@y...>
                              wrote:
                              > Hello,
                              > I don't know if you can help me, but I decided to give
                              > it a try....
                              > I saw at the website a some references to a"cameleon
                              > pattern" and a "cameleon costume" and got
                              > very interested in it. I tried a search at the
                              > internet but their site is under construction and thus
                              > I could have no more
                              > details....
                              > Since I am living in Greece, it is impossible to call
                              > them by phone.
                              > Thus, i would like to know if you have any information
                              > conserning this costume/pattern,
                              > Thanks for any information,
                              > KD
                              >
                              >
                            • Siebel San
                              I saw their clothing at the Michigan renaissance faire. Cool stuff, and I didn t know they make patterns! Please post the ordering info to the list, cause I
                              Message 14 of 15 , Feb 2, 2004
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                                I saw their clothing at the Michigan renaissance faire.
                                Cool stuff, and I didn't know they make patterns! Please
                                post the ordering info to the list, cause I want some too!
                                Jessica

                                --- Loretta Larson-Armstrong <laminathegreat@...>
                                wrote:
                                > OO!!! OO!! I can help you!!! I am in the process of
                                > ordering some
                                > cameleon patterns!!
                                > The Camelion company no longer has a website. You can
                                > occasionaly
                                > find them at Rennisance Festivals, but I don't know if
                                > they travel
                                > overseas. The only website that has any info is
                                > http://www.crystal-
                                > stix.com/camln.html BUT YOU CAN NOT ORDER FROM HERE.
                                > Unfortunalty
                                > all my contact information is at school- I will send it
                                > to you first
                                > thing tomorrow morning. I love the camelions, they are
                                > great. I own
                                > one and have made a couple my self. The company sells the
                                > pattern
                                > which I personaly think is the greatest thing to happen.
                                > I also have
                                > an order placed with them, as soon as I hear from them, I
                                > will let
                                > you know that too. Like I said- contact info, tomorrow
                                > morning. (Uh,
                                > colorado time.) BTW, the web link I gave has a link to a
                                > small video
                                > where you see some demonstration.
                                >
                                > Much apologies for spelling errors- I teach costumes, not
                                > english.
                                >
                                > Loretta
                                > aka lamina the great
                                > www.laminathegreat.com
                                >
                                > --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, K D
                                > <kallbar@y...>
                                > wrote:
                                > > Hello,
                                > > I don't know if you can help me, but I decided to give
                                > > it a try....
                                > > I saw at the website a some references to a"cameleon
                                > > pattern" and a "cameleon costume" and got
                                > > very interested in it. I tried a search at the
                                > > internet but their site is under construction and thus
                                > > I could have no more
                                > > details....
                                > > Since I am living in Greece, it is impossible to call
                                > > them by phone.
                                > > Thus, i would like to know if you have any information
                                > > conserning this costume/pattern,
                                > > Thanks for any information,
                                > > KD
                                > >
                                > >
                                >
                                >


                                =====
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                                - - - - - - - - - -
                                �If the world could have seen what I have seen, feel what I have felt, there would be no more war, only love.� -MLC

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                              • K D
                                thank you!!! ... __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free web site building tool. Try it! http://webhosting.yahoo.com/ps/sb/
                                Message 15 of 15 , Feb 3, 2004
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                                  thank you!!!

                                  --- Loretta Larson-Armstrong
                                  <laminathegreat@...> wrote:
                                  > OO!!! OO!! I can help you!!! I am in the process of
                                  > ordering some
                                  > cameleon patterns!!
                                  > The Camelion company no longer has a website. You
                                  > can occasionaly
                                  > find them at Rennisance Festivals, but I don't know
                                  > if they travel
                                  > overseas. The only website that has any info is
                                  > http://www.crystal-
                                  > stix.com/camln.html BUT YOU CAN NOT ORDER FROM HERE.
                                  > Unfortunalty
                                  > all my contact information is at school- I will send
                                  > it to you first
                                  > thing tomorrow morning. I love the camelions, they
                                  > are great. I own
                                  > one and have made a couple my self. The company
                                  > sells the pattern
                                  > which I personaly think is the greatest thing to
                                  > happen. I also have
                                  > an order placed with them, as soon as I hear from
                                  > them, I will let
                                  > you know that too. Like I said- contact info,
                                  > tomorrow morning. (Uh,
                                  > colorado time.) BTW, the web link I gave has a link
                                  > to a small video
                                  > where you see some demonstration.
                                  >
                                  > Much apologies for spelling errors- I teach
                                  > costumes, not english.
                                  >
                                  > Loretta
                                  > aka lamina the great
                                  > www.laminathegreat.com
                                  >
                                  > --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, K D
                                  > <kallbar@y...>
                                  > wrote:
                                  > > Hello,
                                  > > I don't know if you can help me, but I decided to
                                  > give
                                  > > it a try....
                                  > > I saw at the website a some references to
                                  > a"cameleon
                                  > > pattern" and a "cameleon costume" and got
                                  > > very interested in it. I tried a search at the
                                  > > internet but their site is under construction and
                                  > thus
                                  > > I could have no more
                                  > > details....
                                  > > Since I am living in Greece, it is impossible to
                                  > call
                                  > > them by phone.
                                  > > Thus, i would like to know if you have any
                                  > information
                                  > > conserning this costume/pattern,
                                  > > Thanks for any information,
                                  > > KD
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  >
                                  >


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