VoNBBS encouraged me that I would "learn a lot making a little bolero," and I feel like I certainly expanded my horizons with this one. This is definitely not the sort of thing I would usually make, and I'm not sure I would have ever sewn with velvet if not at VoNBBS's urging.
One of the most versatile of the versatile separates is the bolero. We made it
in black velveteen. Teamed with a wide or narrow skirt, it adds up to a smart
suit. In the evening, it transforms a bare sheath into a covered-up
jacket-dress. It should take about 7 hours to complete. After you have made it,
you will add lining a jacket to the edge and setting-in a sleeve to your sewing
talents. - VONBBS
The only areas where I got tripped up were setting in the sleeve and pressing the velvet. On my first sleeve, I tried to get all couture (read: complicated) by pin-easing the sleeve cap, then hand basting, then machine basting, and then machine stitching. (Whew!) It didn't ease perfectly, and so on my second sleeve, I went the usual route of gathering the sleeve cap with two rows of long stitches, then machine basting, and then stitching. It went in like a dream. Keep it simple, stupid!
As for working with velvet: it's tricky, basically. I read an article in a recent Threads magazine that helped me a lot. But I feel like VoNBBS led me a little astray by telling me to baste the edges of the bolero so the lining wouldn't "scoot over to the outside." And then, right before the final pressing, the book directed me to gradually remove the bastings as I was pressing.
So I probably should have done this basting by hand, but I was lazy and did it by machine. This left permanent needle holes in the velvet. Waaah. I tried some agressive steaming to get them out, and then just succeeded in warping the curve of the bolero. I feel a better technique would have been understitching the lining by hand. Ah well. You live, you learn.
Also, I have new shoes to console myself.
Next I'll be moving on to a "bonus project" in VoNBBS: a short-sleeved version of this bolero with lapels in a plum-colored gabardine!