A prominent trend this spring and something that I personally love are my silk velvet pants. Being a more flowey style of pant McCall’s (M7445), they are easily worn into summer and the silk is surprisingly breathable. I did encounter a few grievances along the way and I had to even scrap one pair because I couldn’t get them over my hips! I wanted to share a few tips when sewing with this luscious fabric to save you all time and money (so you don’t have to buy silk velvet fabric twice!).
Fit Tip: Tissue fit the pants 1 to 1 and not tighter! Silk velvet does NOT stretch, and because it’s so slippery, you may end up losing some seam allowance. It’s even not a bad idea to cut 1″ seam allowances for extra protection!
First, I just tried to pin the fabric wrong sides together but quickly found out that the pins were not enough and the two layers were sliding all over the place. I decided to try a trick that I used for sewing leather. I slid some tissue in between the two layers of fabric thinking that would prevent the naps of the velvet from pushing against each other and causing the slippage. It worked pretty well in the straight seams but where ever I had to turn and stitch on the bias, major slippage happened. No success.
My pal Jenny, who owns Workroom Social where I am teaching some fitting classes this fall, suggested hand basting! I cringed! I have to admit that I really enjoy fast sewing (once the fitting process is done of course)… I’m not a slow and steady kinda gal. This seemed so tedious, but after sewing the crotch seam like 6 times and still getting slippage every time I thought, this is the only way.
You will need a long surface to lay your pants right sides together and a surface you can pin into, I used my ironing board, but a cardboard cutting table works too. Once the edges are even, place two pins facing each other all the way down near the stitching line but not too close to the seam. With the pins angling toward each other they won’t let the fabric side either direction. Once everything is nice and flat you will commence the hand basting. Try not to lift up the fabric too far off the table because that will shift the pieces.
Once you’ve basted (I know its not pretty) the two layers should pretty much stay together even when you pick it up to carry it over to the sewing machine. You can then sew your 5/8″ seam. In some cases, like the crotch curve, I first stitched with a basting 4.0 stitch just to make sure it went through the machine successfully and when it did I stitched over that with a 2.5 length stitch. I still got a little slippage in the more curved area, but not nearly like my first attempts!
These pants are a great starter pant for learning how to fit. They work well in a drapey woven like this silk or a stiffer woven like a denim or corduroy with some stretch. If you choose a heavier weight fabric with no stretch they will be a little harder to fit. Follow the fitting order in the guide sheet that comes with the pattern and make sure to pay attention to the crotch depth and inseams. You want this pant fitted through the waist and hip, but looser around the thigh and knee. The leg is flared and cropped, which is a flattering look on most figures. It all depends on making the length end at the right spot on your calf or ankle. Leave extra length at the bottom so when you are fabric fitting you can experiment with pinning up the hem to see what flatters your body most!
Thanks for reading, sewing friends! Look forward to seeing more pants this #mmm2017 (me made may 2017)!