Hello Internet friends!
Just in time for the holiday season (and the accompining holiday work parties) I managed to quickly sew myself a little holiday ‘uniform’ in the form of a velvet Seamwork Tacara dress.
I wanted something that would be super simple to style while being comfy to wear for ease of ‘pre party getting ready’ as well as maximum eating room (holiday food is the best food!). So when Blackbird fabrics released a batch of ‘just in time for the holidays’ stretch velvet I knew I needed to snag some specifically to whip up a holiday party specific dress! Also, would it even be the holidays without out some sort of self induced last minute ‘throw a hem on it so we can leave for the party’ sew-a-thon would it?
In order to reduce the amount of stress sewing that I was signing myself up for I went on the hunt for a pattern with simple construction as well as clean lines. Not only would a simple pattern assist in speeding up sewing but it also helped highlight the velvet material :) After a round or two of pattern roulette I settled on Seamwork Magazine’s Tacara Dress. This is a simple sheath dress with drop shoulders and POCKETS! :D I love pockets! Especially velvet lined pockets!
As per usual I had to do a few adjustments for shortness....in this case I reduced the length at the ‘lengthen/shorten’ line by around 3”, primarily to help raise the pockets to my hips. This not only made the pockets functional but also ensured that the minimal amount of shaping was in the correct place. I ended up taking an additional 1.5” off the hem of the dress post sewing since it was still a bit too long.
Sewing with velvet typically gets a pretty bad name due to the issues of ‘creep’ inherent to the velvet texture. ‘Creep’ describes the natural shifting nature of the fabric as you sew, when you sew with right sides (aka the velvet sides) together the piled texture of the fabric grabs on to each other and can cause your once neatly pinned seams to be quite wonky post sewing. Due to the bulky nature of the fabric it’s also not recommended to French seam the seams in order to avoid sewing with right seams together. The easiest way to combat ‘the creep’ is to pin you fabric as normal then hand baste before sewing with the machine.
While the pinning-handbasting-sewing process may seam really time consuming and tedious it really is the best way to avoid issues and will save you time in the long run since you won’t waste time ripping out seams! Post hand basting I simply sewed all my seams on my serger and was lucky enough to not have to unpick any serger seams! To finish the neck line and hems, instead of using the included neck band or folding the hems twice I simply turned the seam allowance or hem once to the inside and sewed with a straight stitch. This was done to avoid excess bulk at these points that would be very visible. I didn’t have to finish these edges since the velvet is stretch velvet and won’t unravel :)
In terms of fulfilling its purpose as my ‘holiday 2018’ dress it has already fulfilled this purpose in spades (don’t worry it’s been washed in between!) and with the holidays no wear near done yet it will for sure get some more usage before 2019 hits! I also had a bit of the velvet left over that I’m thinking of making into an Ogden cami over my holiday break ;)
Hope you all have been having an amazing holiday season! It’s been a challenging but rewarding 2018 for me so I can’t wait for what 2019 brings!