Hello lovely people! It’s Emily from Self Assembly Required! back again with another make!

So for January I’m showcasing a dress I managed to make just in time for Christmas Day. It’s an adorable tunic dress in a gorgeous dark olive green Velvet Fabric.

I had all sorts of ideas for what I wanted to use this fabric for but the main theme was something festive! I umm-ed and ah-ed over what to make for the longest time and in the end, I decided on using this Simplicity 1325 Sewing Pattern.

I opted to make the short dress/ tunic thing. I loved the simple style and shape of the pattern and I knew that it would suit my figure with the deep V neck and bias cut full skirt – it shows off all my good bits! I hoped I’d be able to make something I could wear over and over again!

What I hadn’t accounted for was the term “tunic” meant with regard to the actual length of the pattern. The back of the pattern describes the contents as a “Pants, Jumper or Tunic, Jacket & Top”. I thought the pictures on the cover and the descriptions were a little misleading because to me it looks like pants, 2 dresses, a jacket and a top. (To be honest I still don’t know what they mean by “jumper” - the long dress is called a jumper for some reason. It definitely doesn’t fit in with the British definition of the word!). Anyway, I rather foolishly thought the tunic version would be long enough to wear as a mini dress as the line drawing indicated. I ended up having to add a 3 inch wide band along the hem to lengthen it a little for modesty’s sake!

This pattern was really simple to use and it fit well (apart from the length) without having to make many adjustments at all to it – lucky me! This velvet fabric cut nicely and was relatively easy to sew up which was great as velvet is notoriously tricky to use. I switched out the lapped zip in the instructions for an Invisible Zip which worked just as well. All in all, I’m very happy with my final result!

My tips for sewing with velvet:

  • Cut your pattern pieces on the reverse of the fabric. They should (in theory) move less!

  • Place and cut all your pattern pieces in the same direction i.e. top to bottom, so that the nap is going the same way for all your pieces.

  • Use plenty of pins to keep seams in place whilst sewing. Hand basting helps a lot too!

  • You may need to test loosening your machine’s thread tension and practice holding the fabric taut as you feed it through and maybe even use a walking foot to make sure this slippery fabric doesn’t move as you stitch.

  • Use a piece of scrap velvet as a pressing cloth when ironing. It helps to prevent crushing the pile and schmushing (a technical term obviously…) your beautiful fabric!

It requires a bit more time and patience to work with velvet but in the end I think it’s worth it. Velvet really is a lovely fabric and I can imagine this one working really well for a structured evening look – it definitely has that luxury feel to it!