The Bridgetown Backless Pattern Hack in Velvet Just In Time For The Holidays! December 13 2015 4 Comments

     Hello!  I've crawled out of the woodworks and back onto my blog page for a brief visit.  I've been knee deep with work and I'm in the middle of getting a couple patterns ready for test sewing.  I'm also trying to get ready for the holidays and be more present with my family and friends.  My tendency has been to hunker down and work on the weekends as of late however, I really wanted to do all the cliche things parents do with their children pre Christmas like bake cookies, trim the tree, make a ginger bread house, shop for gifts, make gifts, have dinner parties etc.  Those events are cutting into my work time but hey - I needed the break.  

     In any case, I made time to make a dress for a special event.  I was able to do so because it's such a quick and easy make.   I have been dying to make a dress out of silk velvet (a current trend).  I used the Bridgetown Backless pattern and added 20" to the length and also added a side slit on the right side hem.  I found the velvet at Denver Fabrics online.  I also found that silk velvet isn't really 100% silk but rather mostly rayon with about 25 or 30% silk.  That's alright, I love the look of rayon.  I was a little nervous about sewing the velvet - I don't think I've done so in about 20 years.  It wasn't so bad though.  I didn't even use a special foot however, if you can adjust your presser foot for light pressure it helps keep the foot from crushing down the pile on your fabric.  I was mostly concerned about ironing the fabric.  I don't have a needle board so I used a towel under the fabric and steamed it so I didn't crush the pile.  I did notice with experimentation that it wasn't too bad to directly iron the fabric for hems and areas that would be turned up.  I just pressed the iron on the side of the fabric that would be turned to the inside - that area did get a bit crushed however, the outer visible side looked fine.  What I did have trouble with was hemming.  I was going to hem by hand however, that looked awful.  Each stitch was magnified.  It looked better just to machine stitch the hems.  It wasn't as polished as I would have liked but it looked much better than the alternative. If you're interested in stepping up your velvet sewing skills, here is a link to an article from Threads Magazine on the subject.


I've also made an alteration to an old bra so I wouldn't have to go braless in the cold.  The velvet turned out to be a tad bit see through.  I couldn't find anything to line the dress with and lining it seemed like it would be too thick at the waist.  I simply sniped off the back clasps of an old bra and tacked on velvet ties.  I wish I could have found some matching silk charmeuse - I think it wouldn't be as bulky in the back but I was in a pinch and didn't have time to go looking for a good matching fabric.

I simply made a tube of fabric and slipped the cut end of the bra into it, turned down the tube ends and zig zag stitched it down.

     I still haven't hemmed the dress because I'm not sure about the length.  I think I may shorten it  a tad so that I can see my ankles and my shoes.  The waist stitching here doesn't look like it matches but it's just the photo.  

I didn't use the bias facing pattern pieces from the pattern because it would have been too bulky.  I double turned the neck edges.  I was going to do a rolled hem by hand but it looked awful so I just machine stitched it with a straight stitch.

     I'm enjoying seeing many of your holiday makes.  If any of you have any tips for hemming velvet, please share them.