I recently stumbled across this incredibly lovely and luxurious feeling gold velvet at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores. It had these stunning black and bronze undertones, and I simply had to have it. Initially I was going to make leggings, or even a dress with drape of some sort with it. But after my dress-making spree this past month, I simply couldn’t bring myself to sew another.
So I decided to make something more casual and chic with this incredible textile. Of all the things I could’ve made with this lovely velvet, I decided to make a cap sleeve shirt. After all, what else was I going to wear with my sequin pants?
(Side note on the sequin pants – you feel like a rock star when wearing these. I used to think, heck no, I am never wearing sequin pants. Then I tried them on one day…now I think they are a must in every women’s wardrobe. There aren’t may things nowadays that you can put on and be like…ROCK STAR. And we should all be made to feel like a star from time to time. Am I right? Try them…at least once. I got mine for sale at H&M, and they were $20 well spent.)
Back to the velvet. Like liquid gold I tell ya. In lieu of making another dress, I chose to make this. And learned that sewing velvet can be trickier than it seems…
How to sew velvet, velvet cap sleeve shirt DIY.
HOW TO SEW VELVET
Some things you need to know before working with velvet:
VELVET FABRIC – There is stretch, but it is not a typical knit. Think of it along the lines of a slippery, but heavyweight knit fabric. Use a ball point mid-heavy weight needle, think 80/12 or 90/14. Although you can leave the hems unfinished as they will not fray (like knit), they tend to roll if it is a tight fit. A more loose fitting pattern will not have this problem.
There IS a direction to the velvet, a true nap. Run your hand up and down on the fabric, notice that it is smooth going in one direction, and rough in the other. When cutting out patterns, pay attention to the nap of the fabric. For a darker velvet, the nap can go upwards and for a lighter velvet let the nap go down.
SLIPPERY FABRIC – The fabric is extremely slippery. This means you need to pay extra special attention when cutting out patterns and sewing so that the fabric doesn’t shift.
When cutting out patterns, it helps to cut out the pattern on the wrong side of the fabric. Place the pattern on the back of the velvet, the side without the nap. This will help the pattern to shoot less when cutting. If your pattern has any notches, use sharp scissors and cut a slight notch in the seam where the notches are.
When sewing velvet together, the fabric definitely shifts. It helps to carefully pull the fabric taut when sewing on both ends to keep it from slipping. If you are sewing along the stretch of the velvet and cannot pull taut, try hand basting the fabric together first. Slow slowly, stopping with the needle down when necessary and realigning the fabric. A walking foot can also help.
Some people suggest using a light spray adhesive on the seam line to help, I have not tried this.
SEWN LINES – Your stitch lines really SHOW when sewing velvet, so keep the pattern simple – think FACINGS instead of bias trim, etc. Anything to minimize a visible stitch line.
Avoid making a mistake at all costs. This is NOT a material that looks good once seam ripped. Check, double check, then triple check that you are sewing the right thing in the right place.
TEXTILE BUILD UP – Although not as bad as fur, there will be fuzz / build up on your sewing machine when finished. Make sure to clean your machine well.
CARING FOR YOUR VELVET – You can NOT iron this fabric. I repeat, do not go pressing your seams open. You can use a gentle steam when necessary to get our creases, but never put your iron directly on the fabric. Dry clean only. Always hang your velvet items, do not fold and place on shelf as this will cause creases in the nap. If you happen to spill a drink or other liquid on your velvet, do not flatten or press down on the area with a napkin. It will dry and ruin the fabric and nap. Instead, shake the velvet until the liquid is off and let air dry.
HOW TO SEW A CAP SLEEVE VELVET SHIRT
Again, when sewing with velvet you want a simple pattern – one without a lot of darts or sewn lines, or one with a lot of drape. Here was my inspiration for sewing a velvet shirt:
I made mine much more form fitting, based on a shirt I had on hand that I liked the fit of. I would love to make another one that has a looser style / fit, such as the picture above. I think it looks so cute paired with jeans!
- 1 yard velvet, or other mid-heavyweight knit fabric
- Ball point sewing needle (80/12 or 90/14)
- Coordinating polyester thread
- Shirt you like the fit of, for pattern drafting
- Basic sewing essentials
HOW TO SEW A CAP SLEEVE SHIRT:
To sew a simple velvet shirt, here is what I did:
Step One – Fold your knit fabric, so that the selvages meet up on the sides and the stretch is going from left to right. Fold your shirt in half, so that the side seams are evenly matched. Place the fold of your shirt on top of the fold of the fabric. Fold sleeve of the shirt in, so that the curve of the armsyce is showing. Cut around shirt, including the neckline, adding your desired seam allowance. Repeat for front and back of shirt.
*Please note – in my graphic above, it looks like I am cutting around the sleeve. Please do NOT do that, rather fold the sleeve in as stated in Step one and cut around the armsyce.
Step Two – Place the top of your sleeve directly on top of the fold of the fabric, once again making sure the stretch of the fabric is going from left to right. Cut around the sleeve. Repeat so that you have (2) sleeves.
Step Three – To make a cap sleeve, starting 1″ down from the bottom curve on the side seam of the sleeve cut a straight line across.
Step Four – Lastly, if sewing a velvet shirt you are going to want to use facings for the neckline. Trace around your front and back shirt pattern’s neckline, and cut (2) facings about 3″ wide all around.
Step Five – You should now have these pattern pieces:
- (2) Facings – front & back
- Front shirt pattern
- Back shirt pattern
- (2) Cap sleeves
Step Six – Place front and back shirt pattern together. Pin and sew shoulder seams.
Step Seven – Place facing front and back together, pin and sew shoulder seams.
Step Eight – Line up the curve of the cap sleeve with the armsyce. Pin the curve of the cap sleeve to the armistice, right sides together. Sew and repeat for other sleeve. Clip curved seams.
Step Nine – Fold shirt front and back right sides together, matching up the side seams and sleeves. Pin and sew both sides.
Step Ten – Slip facing around neckline, right sides together, matching up the shoulder seams. Pin and sew around. Clip curved seams and turn neckline inside of shirt. Under stitch the facing to the seam if desired.
Step Eleven – Hem the bottom of the shirt by folding the bottom edge 1/2″ towards the wrong side and pinning. Either sew a straight stitch around, or if using velvet, hem by using a blind stitch. Repeat for sleeves.
And you are finished!
Now go get some sequin pants and rock star it up for New Years Eve!
Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…happy sewing!