Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Stepping Out in My Stretch Velvet Holiday Skirt!

At this December Solstice time of year, we see a gradual increase in light until it reaches its peak at June Solstice. We can work with this natural cycle in our creative lives. We can celebrate our "wins" and our creations. It's also an amazing time to reflect on our lessons learned and decide what we are willing to let go of as we enter this new year. What powerful intentions are you ready to dream into? 

My collaboration with Laurel and my entire team at Stonemountain & Daughter is a manifestation of my creative dreams. You can read back through this blog and see all our accomplishments and witness this community that we are a part of. I shared with you my process of "pruning" at my store and releasing the Sewing School that I created 20 years ago. I am feeling into the renewal and powerful intent of new growth in 2017 for my self, my store, and my community. I urge you to spend time with the Sun in these next few days and feel into this rejuvenating and restorative energy. 
One of my intentions is to share more about my background in cosmology (looking up at the stars and planets) and astrology (seeing where the cycles are and how we fit into our personal and collective story unfolding). 

As creatives, we get to shift gears through all our interests and responsibilities. Let's explore something fun to make for New Years and beyond!

When we think of making something quick and easy for a holiday party, nobody ever thinks, "Gee, I think I'll make something velvet!" We have all read horror stories of slipping and sliding off the table and bunching up at the seams.  Perhaps for all these reasons, Laurel postponed making this adorable Megan Nielsen skirt, the "Axel," because I chose a yummy stretch crushed velvet. You have to feel this to fall in love! 

This will be the perfect skirt with a funky top for New Years!

Love my new Axel Skirt with a silk "My Easy Top."

Start to finish, one hour—maybe two if you're not Laurel.  You can decide to make it up in the afternoon and wear it that evening!  Pair it with a silk blouse or a holiday sweater, and you're set!

Look how different the option in the middle is!  Come by the store to see our finished garment on display in the Fashion Room.

Okay, let's get started!  The Axel has two pattern pieces for version 1.  The handkerchief hem skirt piece is the same for the front and the back.  Version 1 only takes a little over 2 yards of 60" fabric.

Like all velvet fabric, our crushed velvet has a very obvious nap, so all pieces must be cut in the same direction, preferably with the nap laying down toward the hemline.

Stretch velvet is no different than other knits - you should cut off the selvage edges before laying out your pattern pieces to ensure the fabric lays flat all the way to the edges.

We've read lots of techniques for sewing velvet - starching seams first, hand basting, tape, etc.  By far the easiest and most fool-proof method is to invest in a walking foot.  They take away all the issues with sewing velvet!  The feed dogs on the upper part of the presser foot pull the top layer of fabric along at the same speed as the lower feed dogs.  The result is a perfectly even, unpuckered seam.  It's a miracle!

After sewing up four pinned seams and adding a waistband (just a folded band attached to the skirt with a zig zag stitch for stretch), all that was left was to hem the skirt.  Serging barely shows on this velvet, so we decided to just leave it as is.  You could always turn the hem under and stitch, but we took the easy way out!

We did add some fray check on the corners of the hem to keep the serged edge from unraveling.  Fray check is your good friend and a must have in your sewing kit!

We have a whole new selection of velvet fabrics in a variety of colors, just in time for the holidays.  Which color would you choose?

Both Laurel and I also chose this gorgeous burnout velvet to make something special.

May the glow of candlelight and the warmth of love around you fill your season,

Axel Skirt with Show and Tell "My Easy Top"
 ~ available in our store!

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