Saturday, February 17, 2024

Floral Velvet

This is the second version of Vogue 1907 that I have made and I posted a lot of the process over on Instagram.  I'm not all that proficient with knits, but I was drawn to this pattern when it was released, and I decided to finally get to it with a sweater knit that I had in the stash for a long time.  And then things got complicated with Mr. Tino.

I went to work with essentially no sleep that Friday, and finally managed to exhaust myself enough during the day to fall asleep for more than a few hours that evening.  When I woke up Saturday, I knew that I needed something to keep me distracted, and my hands busy.

This project seemed like a good option where nothing was too complicated or was going to be super involved.  I also feel like this print reminded me of two dresses from the late 90s, one printed rayon velvet Nostalgia brand dress that Elaine from Seinfeld would have felt right at home in, and one rayon challis print that I made early on in my garment making journey with a winding oversized rose pattern.  Velvet also seemed comforting in some way, even if this knit is polyester, and I don't have the greatest history with velvet sewing projects going my way . . . but my grief-addled brain wasn't really thinking in a logical way.

I did finally get around to trying a rotary cutter with a knit on my cutting mat that hadn't ever seen a blade, and used pattern weights that I picked up last year at an estate sale.  I am not completely sold on the technique, but it does give a nice clean edge, so maybe I just need to give the rotary cutter another chance.

As with every other knit fabric I have stitched together (with the exception of my Alabama Chanin inspired outfits) I used my machine to stitch the seam and then went back with the serger to trim a small amount off the edge to keep that cut edge from rolling.

I suspected that this knit velvet textile might be a bit less problematic to work with than a silk or rayon velvet, and I was right.  There wasn't a lot of fighting to keep edges even as it fed through the machine, although it was not quite as well behaved as a crisp woven cotton, for instance.

Instead of that plastic stuff that I have seen used to stabilize knits at the shoulder seam, I like to use a length of rayon seam binding, since I have plenty of that stuff on hand.

The fabric also gathered down nicely, even with the added bulk of the velvet nap.

Since I just made this dress in a similar color (although it is a solid) I wanted to do something slightly different with this version.

The first thought that came to mind was to add a point to the sleeve cuff.  I extended the sleeve by drafting a small addition to the pattern piece.  To finish that new shaped edge, I cut a duplicate of that addition and used it as a facing piece after adding a lightweight fusible interfacing.

The skirt came together easily with the same technique of stitching with a narrow zig-zag on the sewing machine, and finishing the edges with a serger.  The sweater knit did not drop on the bias, but I made sure to give this velvet a chance to stretch before hemming it.  Turns out, this one didn't need any evening out, either.

After leaving the skirt to hang on the dress form, it was time to get back to the bodice.

As with the previous version, I extended the collar by an inch, just because the versions shown on the pattern envelope made the collar look slightly chintzy, in my opinion.  Having just a bit more fabric to pool around the neckline worked fine, and I think I prefer it this way.

I was curious to see how this would look on the dress form, but this was probably a mistake.  Stretching the unfinished lower edge over the wider part of the form stretched the fabric slightly so that it wanted to curl under.  This made attaching the bodice to the skirt slightly more aggravating than it would have been had I not stretched that lower edge prior to stitching the seamline.  But that's just something to remember for next time.  And I suppose it depends on the textile, because the sweater knit didn't do this.

For the second change to the pattern, I wanted to add a band to the high waisted seamline that would extend into two ties and would drape down the back of the dress.

I cut two ties on the bias (not certain that the bias was necessary considering that this is a stretch fabric) and folded it wrong sides together.  At this point, I was unsure how much length that I wanted, so I wrapped the pieces around the dress form to get an idea of how large I wanted the bow, and how much length I wanted for the ties.

The portion of the ties that would drape down the back were finished, while the section that would be sandwiched in the waist seamline were left raw.

The remaining raw edges were serged and hand stitched into place for the sleeve facing hem, and the skirt hemline.

While this dress clearly resembles the previous version, both in color and style, I am glad that I made a floral velvet version.

I have already worn this dress twice in the last couple of weeks, and it makes an easy-to-wear, yet still put together outfit which is always nice for the dreary Winter weather.  Am I suddenly sold on polyester?  Absolutely not.  But this print was special enough to make an exception for . . . and since I always plan on wearing a silk slip underneath, the feel of the synthetic material is made a lot more bearable.

And while I desperately miss my furry companion interrupting my sewing progress throughout the day and reminding me to take a break, having something to focus on is extremely helpful (although maybe not the healthiest way of coping).  I am still struggling in moments where I am not multitasking at work, or completely distracted by something else other than missing his little face and tiny warm body keeping me on the couch, whether I liked it or not.  Thank you to everyone for your lovely words about my little man.  My world has changed, although I am extremely mindful of the fact that I wouldn't trade the sixteen-plus years I had with him for anything.


  1. lovely dress, so sorry for your loss

  2. The dress is beautiful, as is your workmanship. I'm sorry about losing your sweet buddy; I'm sure his precious memory will always remain in your heart.