Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Storing Velvet

Ah, velvet. So lovely, so temperamental. I bought an amazing silk/rayon blend in a gorgeous mulberry color from B&J. At the store, all the velvets are kept on hangers, attached by the selvage with safety pins. For some reason, I never thought to wonder exactly why this was done.

And then I got my velvet home and stored it in a bin, as usual. One day, out of the blue, I was dreaming about my velvet and had a sudden panic: the nap would get crushed if stored folded! Of course! Duh. I rushed to my fabric stash, folded the velvet like an accordion, and hung it from a metal hanger by attaching it by the selvage with safety pins.

Velvet has a short pile that basically has a mind of its own. I like to think of it as one of those brush doormats that make you slip all over the place when you step on them. (I hate those things. Just try stepping on one in high heels. Evil!) If you press velvet directly, or even just look at it wrong, the pile will crush. And, of course, if the pile is flattened in a bin for months on end, it will stay crushed permanently. The only thing to do then is channel a Stevie Nicks look and crush the whole damn thing. I want my velvet to say Hollywood glam rather than "witchy woman", so a non-crushed pile is essential.

So there's a little storage tip for you, readers! Hopefully it's more of the useful variety than the "Duh, Gertie" variety.

The hard thing now is figuring out what to make with my lovely velvet. I was hoping for a peplum jacket, but darts and style lines don't look so great with the nap. I might just need to wrap my naked body in it, toga style, and flounce around the apartment wearing it. It's that fabulous.

44 comments:

  1. Gertie, you can always revive your velvets by using steam. Great tip though!

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  2. Sounds beautiful! What about a velvet dress for the holidays? I like this pattern:

    http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m5927-products-10409.php?page_id=108

    although I might make it up in corduroy instead. Sewing with velvet intimidates me!

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  3. You've got me shuddering at the memory of the rolls we kept velvet on at the fabric shop- an X-shaped metal frame on each end of a pole with metal hooks all along the X that were hooked into the selvedges to hold the layers apart on the roll. Evil things to carry/ store/ roll/ unroll- you couldn't go near one without it attacking any extraneous clothing or shredding your skin!

    Luckily when I buy velvet it's usually for a specific project that will likely be made up immediately, so no storage nightmares!

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  4. Thanks for the tip, I never even thought about the storage of it!! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.com/

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  5. Thanks for the tip- well noted!

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  6. Would the same go for corderouy, Gertie? (especially the ironing comment!)

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  7. Floor-length bias evening dress with cap sleeves, bateau neckline, and plunging back! I get shivers just thinking about it

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  8. Recently, I bought some vintage silk velvet ribbon that has crush lines in it. My immediate thought was, "oh, no, it's ruined!" But you can steam the marks out. Which is what I'm doing...

    Oh, Canny Cat--you *can* iron corduroy. You just have to use a press cloth and be sure to iron with the nap. Personally, I prefer pinwale, because the nap is short enough that it's not as fiddly as, say, 16W corduroy.

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  9. Gertie - I have successfully washed rayon velvet. You would not believe how incredibly soft and fluid it comes out after the trip through the washer and the dryer.
    I too worked for years at a fabric store where we had those X-and-sharp-hooked things that seemingly would attack when someone walked by.
    And sewing a bias velvet dress is a feat, but worth every ooh and aahhh in the end.

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  10. If the velvet isn't to fragile you can always tumble try it to resurrect the fluffy. Maybe a dress with such a neckline would be a good choice http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRTWug3_xEpaDMxDlw2pJAUWjbiZYawT6xazeM1AppkxRKbsvmL5w

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  11. IF (and ONLY IF) stored velvet is reyond resussitation....Stick it into the washer and run it through both washer and dryer. The result will be a totally different and (I think) beautiful crushed and mottled velvet. It can then be made into an elegant robe, which can be washed, or dress which can be packed. It's not the same as the original velvet, but it IS nice.

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  12. Great post, great topic. I got some cotton velveteen recently with a very flat smooth pile and I plan to make a simple jacket with it. I have been wondering about preshrinking and interfacing. I think this would be a good case for sew in interfacing and maybe just a light steaming as I will most likely dry clean the finished garment.

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  13. Ahhhh, you just saved the expensive velvet I just bought for a recital dress for Dd.
    Blessings,
    Patti

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  14. I have a yen for a lovely pair of velvet trousers made from Colette Patterns' Clover. :) You'd rock velvet trousers, Gertie!

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  15. Yeah there are different kinds of velvet. I have one piece like yours but the rest I've been sewing on lately is 'cotton velvet' and just a dream to use and it doesn't crush like the other, oh it will crease but not so bad at all and I use the special velvet pad to press. Albeit not as pretty as the type you found. Nan

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  16. I've just made a velvet dress and I absolutely love it. Can't wait to try some silk velvet. That colour is amazing and thanks for the reminder about storage!!

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  17. You have to be careful with the velvet after it's been sewn up, too. Many years ago my mother made me a gorgeous renaissance-ish gown for my brother's New Years wedding. It was glorious in maroon velvet with and without gold embroidery.

    The night before the wedding, we pulled it out of the closet where it was hanging on thick plastic hanger. Ruined! The hanger left extremely visible lines along the shoulders that no amount of steaming would get out. My mother ended up making me something else to wear overnight, and I ended up feeling extremely self-conscious and hating everything about my weird outfit.

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  18. I hand dyed thousands of yards of silk rayon velvet. Wash it and toss in dryer. It is amazingly resilient.

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  19. Accordion pleating your velvet may result in some creases if it hangs for too long. Even though the X-frame rolls are vicious, they do a decent job of keeping out the creases since the velvet is rarely folded back upon itself.

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  20. Yes, those metal x-shaped things are hideous to be near. I put up with them for eight years, too!

    I love velvet. So much so, that last month I used silk velvet for the trim on my son's 1860's era frock coat (he's into civil war reenacting). Looks great, but it was a real "bugger" to work with! Much "wailing" and gnashing of teeth!

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  21. There did used to be a sort of thing to iron velvet on....not a ham, not a press cloth, but a sort of spikey thing so you could iron it and not flatten it. My grandmother had one and it worked like a charm!

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  22. Ooh! We're thinking on the same lines :) I just bought red velvet for a holiday dress.
    Great tips. I hate crushed velvet, even if its intentionally done that way.

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  23. I have to admit I am totally terrified of velvet! it seems so finicky! However I DO love the way it looks and feels. If you have any other useful tips please share - I'd love to have enough confidence to sew with velvet in the future.
    Also - I have to say - a red velvet holiday dress... swoon...

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  24. There's a great velvet dress (I think it's a dress, at least; you can only see the top) on liebmarlene today. Greeeeaat sleeves. Good to know about this, though. I wouldn't have thought about it either ;)

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  25. You need to go to decadesofstyle.com and order her 1950's stole---it would be fabulous in rayon/silk velvet; it has one sleeve and the other side is over the shoulder wrap---it would be FABULLOUS in velvet.
    Renita

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  26. Hi Gertie, try this pattern for your peplum jacket: http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v8317-products-9692.php?page_id=949

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  27. Manhattan wardrone supply has a velvet board. It's a nail board than you can iron your velvets. IT;s 75 bucks, but it's worth it.

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  28. Ditto the others who said velvet board for ironing. And if you have to store your velvet in a bin, a hang in a steamy bathroom will revive it.

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  29. I am not so familiar with the velvet dress. I think we can give them an extra care in storing than our ordinary clothes.

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  30. I got a great tip in my sewingclass on how to iron velvet without ruining the nap. Take another piece of velvet and use to iron against.. that is nap against nap.. tried it and it worked like a charm... :)

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  31. King has a tip in his book for ironing velvet. Go to a furniture upholsterer and buy a remnant of upholstry velvet, the kind your grandmother or others of her generation had on their chairs. Put that on the ironing board pile up and put the velvet you want to iron pile down and iron with a ligth hand. Velvet boards are not big enough if you want to iron long seams or yardage.
    Tania

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  32. Funny you should come up with a post like this today. Up until 2 hours ago I though velvet always looked a bit "curtainey". But then there was this woman passig me in the cafeteria waring a stunning black velvet cowl dress a bit like this one: http://wondermomo.blogspot.com/2011/01/rutzou-denmark-cowl-neck-velvet-dress.html and now I want one!

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  33. Gertie, Last christmas I made a beautiful green velvet dress. I Did research on how to treat velvet and I thought I had everthing covered. I wore the dress,and felt very pleased with myself until I got home and to my dismay discovered my lined dress had permanent persperation marks. I didn't even think of shields. I thought the lining would be enough for some crazy reason. You probablly would never do this however I just thought I'd share my misadventure.

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  34. On the event of my engagement, (the first one mind you) my mother had made me a wine red velvet tunic, rayon velvet of course. I wore it over a pale pink blouse and a skirt of color I can't recall. We were seated in the restaurant and the ring came and all was good. When I stood up the chair had left rather ugly marks on my delicate behind. (My behind WAS TOO delicate back then!!) The tunic was unsaveable even after a steam and it lasted as long as the marriage. The end of my tale for now! :)

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  35. Would love a chance to get that iris colored Shetland Wool. I would enjoy a coat made out of that.
    sdseigle@gmail.com

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  36. I'd make a lace dress out of the Missoni zig zag floral lace in grape. Of course I'd also have to order some plain purple knit. I'm not sure what pattern. I've got several here to try so I'd probably try one or two in less fancy fabrics. I'm pretty sure my email is linked if not I know my blog is and I get emailed about comments and read them right away.

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  37. I would love to make a dress with this amy butler peacock fabric:
    http://www.hartsfabric.com/amy-butler-rayon-peacock-feathers62253.html
    Yeah, I know it's not the right season, but it's so pretty!

    annesedney AT gmail DOT com

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  38. What about the Decades of Style 1929 Cloud Cape? http://www.decadesofstyle.com/vintage-patterns-1920s/2701-1927-cloud-cape

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  39. Owwwwwwh,I had a velvet navy blue dress I made for my daughter dry cleaned... and when we got it back!!! They had crushed the velvet! In a couple of places.... and then tried to say that it was ruined anyway (I had forgotten to put dress shields in to protect from persperation stains) and so tried to say it wasn't any good anyway! I had planned on re-using the fabric to make a skirt! Not now.... they had crushed it at the waist and then again near the hem! Needless to say... I don't go to them any more with what tiny bit of dry cleaning I do have done. Fair warning though people... save your velvet dresses.... use dress shields.

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  40. OoOoh please sew something with that velvet, and then come back and share all your tips and secrets! I have yardage of several different colors of velvet that I bought on a whim but now am too afraid to sew with. Forge ahead for us, Gertie!

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  41. I'm so enjoying this website, which I've just found, (researching buttonholes).
    Years ago I made a dress from red cotton velvet, using some of the tips mentioned on here. It was sort of slinky and seductive and I wish I still had it!
    Looking forward to further projects.

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  42. Oh F*ck! I've had velvet stored in a crate for at least a year or two now (not found a project for it). I suspect it's crushed to death...like Wiley Coyote

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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