I first used stretch velvet (polyester, totally washable and dryable) over 10 years ago, and back then, it was hard to find, and relatively expensive. Now, I can get it from Kashi of Metro Textiles for around $4 per yard. I am a fan. I like to use this fabric in casually 'dressed up' garments, like this one.
This is Hot Patterns 1090. I was not sure if I really wanted to buy this pattern - after all, how many "T" shirt derivatives do I really need? But boy, am I glad I bought this pattern. It has everything I love, and it's so easy to buy someone else's work than to try and draft the design myself.
So what do I like?
I like the dolman sleeves. They are shaped very nicely at the shoulder point. I like the banded hems. So easy to finish (you have to s-t-r-e-t-c-h those bands if you're using self-fabric, but what the heck). I made this entire dress on the serger. Well, except for using the straight stitch to pin down the seams where they meet. I sew a few stitches of straight stitch when seams meet (say, at bodice and skirt), and then, I serge. The straight stitching serves as a 'super pin' and ensures the seams meet nicely.
I like the style of this a lot. Loose enough to show I'm a lady, but shows enough to reveal I'm a woman. Who said that? Well, I'm paraphrasing Edith Head. Wouldn't you have loved to have Edith Head dress you? She dressed film stars, of course. But can you imagine...she knew how to make the most of every asset God gave a woman, while hiding any small flaws. I would love to have the benefit of Edith's expertise when dressing myself. But since I don't, I do the best I can without her. Those screen stars of the 40s and 50s looked like demi-goddesses, thanks to Edith and her golden eye.
A helpful hint when you're sewing pile fabric, like this velvet - sew the seams so that the pile is facing the sewing machine's run of cloth. In other words, sew so the feed dogs are grabbing the fabric against the nap. This keeps your seams from sliding around, as the velvet pile kinda velcros on itself. I just invented a verb. I velcro, you velcro, she velcros, they velcro.
Speaking of velcroing. Check out my bottom band (on the skirt hem). All my bands (neck, sleeves, bottom hem) are cut so that the nap goes down my body on the inside, so as to avoid upward creep. The bottom band is crucial, so that my skirt will not creep up. If anything, it will creep down, as it rubs against my body, but that' s ok. As a result, the band nap is going up on the 'public' side. This results in a darker hue, and I like that.
I made a mistake on this skirt band, but it's not a deal breaker. The seam at center front on the skirt band should have been at center back. I thought about tearing it apart and re-doing, but decided against it. This goes against every perfectionistic bone in my head, but so be it. The seam stays at CF! And that's my final answer.
I finished off this dress with an 'obi' belt of self fabric. The pattern tells you what dimensions to make this in, but since I'm tall, I made mine a mite wider. This adds the right touch of elegance, in my opinion.
I'll wear this with boots, tights, and on super cold days, a tight fitting turtleneck.