Sewing Tutorial for Elegant Velveteen Christmas Dress

Sewing Tutorial for Elegant Velveteen Christmas Dress


Hey everyone, here is how I put together Audrey’s
Christmas dress this year. It’s black velveteen with this gorgeous ivory lacy overlay, and
as always, all materials as well as timestamps are linked down below.
So to get started, I used children’s corner Victoria pattern as a starting off point,
but any bodice pattern would work… another great option is children’s corner louise.
The neckline for bodice patterns is usually some sort of scooped neckline, and while that
can make for a very pretty dress, I wanted to elevate this a bit with a boatline neckline
– I just think that gives some elegance that a scooped neckline doesn’t quite accomplish.
To alter the pattern, I first trace the existing pattern down the center front, across the
bottom, and up that armhole. For a boatline neckline, the spot on the shoulder is going
to extend out some from where your typical scoop neckline. So I’m moving mine over
about 1.5 inches. I’m just looking at the pattern, thinking about my kiddo, and picking
something that seems good. Don’t overthink it, it’s not rocket science, you can do
it. From there, I lightly sketched the neckline
connecting the new shoulder point with the center front line. I’m just sketching out
the overall shape, and kinda tweaking it from there. This thicker blue line is the shape
that I like for this neckline. So then I need to modify the back of the bodice
so the shoulder straps are going to line up. I only need to move that inside point of the
shoulder strap since that’s the only point that I modified on the front of the bodice.
To start, I trace the overall shape of the existing pattern… same starting point that
I did for the front of the bodice. Then I slide my new front bodice pattern piece underneath
and line up the bottom of the bodices, you know, where that waistline is going. Then
I use a straight edge to mark the new shoulder strap and end the shoulder strap for the back
of the bodice at the same point as the one on the front of the bodice, hope that makes
sense. To get the curve, I slide the back of the
bodice back underneath and copy that curve. I also modify the shoulder strap slightly
to match the original angle, so I’m ignoring that top line, seemed like it was off by about
¼”. Once I was done with the pattern alterations,
I grabbed my black velveteen and cut out two bodice fronts on the fold as well as two bodice
backs on the fold. Generally speaking, a way to cut out fabric efficiently (and waste less
fabric) is to start working from one selvedge edge to the other, so I’m folding up one
selvedge edge so I have a fold line for my bodice front pattern piece. I was able to
get all my bodice pieces cut out from one selvedge edge to the other, so that means
the rest of the fabric can be used for the skirt. And friendly reminder – velveteen
and velvet absolutely have a direction, or a nap, so just pet them and see which way
feels better, that’s how it should be when you wear it. Please be mindful of this when
you are cutting out your pattern pieces. To cut the skirt, I took advantage of this
fabric being rippable and just clipped on one selvedge edge and then ripped along. Super
easy and accurate. So then I had two bodice fronts cut on the
fold as well as two bodice backs cut on the fold. I took these four pieces and joined
them together using my fabric bodice ring method – basically, join all of your pieces
with right sides together at the shoulder seams. After ironing up all the seams, I had
a ring of bodice pieces joined at the shoulder seams. You’ll have your front pieces across
from each other as well as your back pieces across from each other.
When you fold your front pieces so they are touching, the back pieces will fold in half
and your bodice will just come together. Love this method.
So I matched up those shoulder seams and then gave the back pieces an ironing at that fold
line. I want to put a crease in here – it’s just an easy way to mark center back.
I am going to put some velvet piping around the neckline from one of these creases at
the center back, all the way around to the other crease at the center back. I like to
put a couple of clip marks so the piping bends easily at those center back points. So I’ll
do this at the beginning, sew around the neckline, and then put some more clip marks at the other
center back so the piping curves up and I can sew over it. This will leave you with
a neat piping transition into your fabric. I also put the pipping around the armholes
on this dress, too. Then I put the bodice lining overtop of the
bodice front with that newly added piping. I’m going to sew with those previous stitches
securing the piping onto the bodice facing up – just makes life easier. And I’m sewing
around the neckline as well as around each armhole. I happen to be using a zipper foot
here, it works fairly well with pipping on my machine, but a piping foot is obviously
a great choice too… whatever works for you! Then I clip the extra bits off from the piping
and trim up those seam allowances. I also put clips around the curves so everything
will lay nicely in place. Now here comes the magic, turn the bodice
right sides out by reaching through the front of the bodice to grab the back of the bodice
and pull it through. It’s going to be a little bit tricky initially around that shoulder
strap since this fabric is on the thicker side, but it will work, just go a little bit
at a time and be patient. Then I took this little pointer tool and used
it to push out those corners, and finally, I gave the bodice a really good ironing. I’m
not too worried at keeping the nap directional when I’m ironing since I’m going around
all of these curves. I’ll do a final pressing at the end and get the velveteen to sit in
one direction then. Next I take the sides of the bodice and open
them up so they are right sides together with the piping centered up. I’m going to join
these together, again, with right sides together. I trimmed up the piping and seam allowance
and then ironed that seam open, and then pressed the whole thing down.
Finally, I am attaching this velvet piping from one center back, around the waist line,
to the other center back. Same concept as with the neckline.
Now I can set the bodice aside and move onto the skirt. I first fold the skirt so the selvedge
edges are touching and then I fold that in half again, and again, and again and iron
those creases into the fabric. This is going to give me a rough idea of where I’m going
to put some inverted box pleats. It doesn’t have to be exact, but I wanted to do inverted
box pleats instead of gathers on this velveteen. I think it’s a little bit cleaner of an
approach to get some volume, especially since I’m going to gather the lace overlay.
So I get all those box pleats situated and pinned in place. You could absolutely baste
them into place before sewing the bodice to the skirt, but I just went ahead and put those
two steps into one. I’m sewing the skirt to the bodice lining, and I’m doing this
with the right side of the bodice lining together with the wrong side of the skirt. I want the
right side of the skirt to show at the front of the dress, you know, from underneath the
lace overlay. So I pin that in place and then sew from one
center back, across the waistline, to the other center back. And I am keeping my selvedge
edge onto the skirt sides, which will be joined in the back of the dress. Hong-kong seams
are a great way to join velvet, but I figured, what’s the point in cutting off the selvedge
edges to do a hong kong seam… the selvedge edge is kinda a built in hong kong seam.
Anywho, then I finished the hem for the velveteen. I turned up about ½” across the bottom
of the dress and ironed that into place. And then I turned up about 6 inches, pinned that
into place, moved over a little bit and pinned up another 6 inches and then ironed to connect
those dots. I continued that process across the hem, and then took it to my machine and
sewed it down. And now, ladies and gentlemen, we can bring
on that gorgeous ivory lace… ahh! So I love the idea of this scalloped edge on top of
the black velvet, so I’m playing around with how to get the netting part off of the
lace. That little thread connecting the two came off fairly easily and then I was left
wondering if the scalloped edge was secured. I ran my finger over it to see if there was
any fraying or separation, and there wasn’t. But it just seemed odd that I could get off
the hook that easily, so that’s when I thought about sealing up the bottom threads with some
fire. Yeah, I know, I live dangerously. Going skydiving next week. Jk.
So I cut off that bottom thread leaving about 1/8” of an inch of overhang. Then I took
a flame and tried it out. I learned quickly to turn down the flame and that a little bit
of heat goes a long way. So I moved the lace to a table to make it easier to work and went
very gradually… easy does it here. As soon as I saw those little threads start to swivel
up, I took the heat away. And then I didn’t get any burnt edges and I could feel the tiny
bumps of melted, I dunno, nylon, I guess that’s the nylon doing its job since nylon does melt.
And I felt fairly good about this solution, it feels secure. If you are too nervous to
do this, you may want to experiment with fray check or a small amount of fabric glue.
Then I marked how long I wanted the lace overlay. The top of the scallops are going to be about
2.25” from the bottom of the black velvet, so I’m going to cut just above this flower’s
center bud area. The pattern for this lace runs straight across, so I kinda lucked out.
Next I put two rows of gather stitches along the top of the lace overlay and then gathering
the lace up so it fits the bodice around the waistline.
I start by pinning the middle of the lace to the center front of the bodice and then
adjust the gathers until everything is evenly distributed and the correct length. I am overhanging
the lace edges about ½” from each center back. I’m doing this so I have some way
to attach a placket, or simply fold up those raw edges and sew them down by hand… either
way would work and I’ll get into more on that in a bit.
So I sew the lace to the bodice from one center back, all the way around that waistline, to
the other center back. Then I could remove the visible gathering thread from the lace.
Next I moved the lace out of the way and put the velvet skirt together with right sides
together. Again, I’m taking advantage of the selvedge edges being intact as a built
in hong kong seam. Otherwise, I would join the skirt together in the same manner, and
then finish the skirt off with some hong kong seams. You could get away with French seams
if you wish, but it’s a tad on the bulky side for velveteen, but again, do-able, I’ve
done it before. Many different options… as I like to say, it’s sewing, so you do
you! I stop about 5 inches from the waist seam,
and then turn the skirt so I can stitch off to the side. This will create a sorta placket
thing without actually installing a placket. Then I do the opposite, I move the velveteen
fabric out of the way and sew the lace skirt together. This time I am joining this seam
using a French seam and I have a detailed video on how to do French seams that is linked
down below. And again, I am stopping about 5 inches from that waist line seam.
To finish the top of the lace overlay in that placket area, you could install a continuous
placket, but I wasn’t crazy about that idea since I didn’t want a solid piece of fabric
peaking through, so instead, I just folded over that raw edge twice and sewed it down
by hand. I also sewed the bodice lining down by hand
and then joined the back of the dress using these little cufflink style buttons. They
are so pretty – this vintage styled glass button with gold accents. I wasn’t crazy
about the cufflink style, but it’s doable to work around, and worth it for these beautiful
buttons. I have another video that goes over those details that is linked down below.
So here you go, all ready for the holiday season!
I hope this video was helpful. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments
below and I’ll do my best to answer them. As always, I appreciate y’all for watching
and I hope to catch ya next time.

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