Velvet is, in my opinion, of the most luxurious of fabrics. Not to mention, its general fussiness to work with also makes it a "high maintenance" fabric.
Thus, the perfect marriage of the feeling of luxurious velvet and the practicality of home sewing and everyday wear is found in crushed panne velvet. It's far cheaper than other velvets, has a fluid drape with just enough heaviness to it without being bulky, often has a slight stretch to it, and is breathable. It's also used in a lot of vintage garments, especially in the 1920s and 30s. (My 1930s evening gown is made of this type of velvet.)
And, I was lucky enough to have gotten a patch of it for free from a friend that was cleaning out her stash! I've been saving it for a long time, petting it every once in a while and loving its feel but completely stumped as to what I could make with such a small square of fabric. It measured about 36"x40", which is enough for..... pretty much no complete clothing item that could fit me, or any adult for that matter.
But I had to use it. It was so pretty, a gorgeous jewel-green sort of color, a color I love but don't have much of in my wardrobe. I also adore the idea of working in "evening" fabrics into daywear in small amounts, just to add a bit of luxury for myself while I do the boring "day stuff" like school and errands. So I set about really pondering it and finding a way to use it.
I first checked my patterns to see which ones use the least amount of cloth, which usually leads me to the early- to mid-40s (woooo fabric rationing!). A skirt was out of the question, so I looked at a blouse that is made of only two main pieces, a front and back, that I have done before in a cotton fabric, Simplicity 1093.
However, when I laid the pieces out, I was still short on length. So.... as my mother would say, "Real creativity happens when you don't have all the supplies you need." I decided to use some black scraps in my stash as the bottom bodice portion that would be tucked into the skirt and unseen, thus leaving enough velvet for the top! I then used some green cotton for the facings and shoulder pads (which I would recommend anyway when working with a slightly stretchy or high maintenance fabric to keep it all laying right). I found some glitzy buttons to pair it with, and voilà! I now have a shirt made completely from my stash in about six hours, problem-solving time included.
I also left out the shoulder pads until the next day when I wore it. I compared how the shirt looked with and without them, and I really do prefer the stronger shoulder shape of the 40s with the shoulder pads (although I made mine about 1/2" thick instead of 3/4" as the pattern called for). I LOVE this pattern, and it's easiness to work with and endless options for customization make it one of my favorites of all time!
(I also realized that a summary of all this above info, like Stephanie and other sewing bloggers do, would be hugely helpful to you readers. So.... I shall begin doing it!)
Fabric: green crushed panne velvet
Pattern: Simplicity 1093 (reprinted recently as Simplicity 1692, but I used the original)
Notions: six buttons, five snaps
How historically accurate is it? Very accurate! The only not-so-accurate part would be the "filler" cloth at the bottom. (I think it's something synthetic...)
Any tricky parts to the pattern? On this version, just the button loops, simply because I've never done those before. They actually aren't hard at all once I figured out how, though!
Did you change anything? Just the width of the shoulder pads from 3/4" to 1/2"
Hours to complete: 6
First worn: January 2014
Total cost: Just time and whatever the cost of the snaps was when I bought them a while ago!
shirt and skirt: handmade
hair clip: gift (Kohl's?)