Pattern: McCall’s 6084
Fabric: Tie-dye look velvet from Fabricmart
That’s more like it! As a counter to yesterday’s downer of a review, I absolutely love this jacket! I fell in love with this piece of velvet when I saw it online, so I had to snatch up 3 yards at their Thanksgiving sale. When I took it from the box I got worried – I loved the fabric, but might the tie-dyed effect be a bit much? The velvet is also somewhat crushed, which I wasn’t expecting. I decided to just go with it, so I prewashed the entire piece in the washing machine. It came out fine (fabric content is 100% rayon) and not any more crushed than it went in. Now I can clean it without drycleaning! The entire time I was making it (about 2 evenings of work) I kept asking myself this question: Elegant yet bohemian, or kooky elementary school art teacher. The line there is very thin. Luckily it all came together, and while it is certainly striking I don’t think it’s crazy.
Back in the 90s I was a person obsessed with velvet. If it was possible to make in velvet I owned it, from body suits, to jackets, to a notable pair of black velvet palazzo pants! Once that decade waned so did my love for the stuff. I no longer own any velvet, except for one (mandatory) dress from a former ensemble (and that’s stretch velvet, an awful and different beast.) I had certainly never sewn with velvet. I thought to myself “How hard can it be?” Well… I wouldn’t say it’s impossible, but it’s certainly one of the pickier fabrics that I have worked with!
Things that I learned: You must cover your ironing board in a soft bath towel. Place the fabric face down on the towel, and then steam over (but never touching) the backing. Smooth with your fingers, and don’t press too hard! I used a skinny (size 60) universal needle. I turned the presser foot pressure all the way down, and lowered the stitch tension. I used a walking foot. And even with all these precautions, the fabric would still tend to shift every so often. The shoulder seams are particularly sketchy, but luckily you cannot tell a bit in this fabric!
I was able to serge the edges but not the seam allowances (they tended to reject the presser foot on my serger.) I finished the seam allowances with a zigzag, and I serged all the hems, turned under 5/8″ and topstitched. Velvet does not ease. Seriously, not a bit. I removed most of the cap ease, but even so I had to cut some off at the end! Finally, the biggest lesson I learned? If you choose to sew velvet you, all your possessions, and even your cat will be covered in fuzz. You will find bits of velvet in your nose and (if you are me) you will spend at least a day with terribly irritated allergies! So would I do velvet again? Well… I won’t say never, but I will say this… it would have to be an awesome project, with as few seams as possible!
McCall’s 6084 is not sized for knits. That’s the first thing to know. It does list jersey and cotton knits in the recommended fabric list, but not until the end, after crepe, silk rayon, and challis. I cut an XS and it fits very well in a non-stretch woven. The pattern itself is very straightforward, with only 3 main pattern pieces. I found it easy to construct, with the exception of attaching the front to back at the shoulders and neckline. Pay careful attention to the instructions there!
I finished all the edges by serging and turned under 5/8″. The instructions call for a narrow hem, but that wasn’t possible in this fabric. The fit is good, with the sleeves not being too wide. The only issue (which is a non-issue for me) is that the sleeves are short. I cut the long sleeve length and ended up with 3/4 sleeves. Luckily that’s what I prefer!
I’m planning to wear this jacket tomorrow for Christmas Eve. It looks dressy but is still comfortable! I also love it belted. Happy holidays to you all, and I will see you after the rush is finished!