Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sapphire Velvet Skirt

I have been craving a royal blue velvet maxi skirt ever since I saw a lovely style blogger wearing one last year. (Was it Patti?)

The velvet was not hard to come by, with all the sales going on, and I really loved the hand-dyed look of this purplish blue.
It’s rayon – fortunately this one was marked – and has a luxurious weight and soft drape.

At the beginning, I enjoyed working with this velvet because of its extreme softness and cool, slippery feel. However, by the time I had hand-basted every dart and seam, sewn the zipper crooked, and taken three tries to get the hem tape on straight, I was starting to have unloving feelings toward it. It was shifty, unpredictable, and oversensitive, and at times I thought it was possessed by demons. In the end I managed to get a skirt that looks very nice on the outside, and all the little messes on the inside will just be a reminder to me that velvet is, after all, a serious undertaking.

Messy zipper

The design of the skirt is another long and ridiculous saga, from which I will spare you by simply saying I decided on a straight shape with wide front pleat, and drafted it myself. The back is a nearly rectangular piece with a slight curve from hips to waist and room for darts. The front is the same shape but with an additional 12 inches at the center front. Both were cut on the fold and I put the zipper in the side rather than the back. The skirt has a wide, straight waistband to sit at the natural waist.

The extra 12 inches were utilized by folding in three inches on each side of the center front to the midpoint to create the wide center pleat. With the pleat basted in place, I sewed up the side seams and fitted it, adding the necessary darts.

The velvet is delicate so I lined it with this pretty blue. The lining is polyester, and I'm hoping it behaves itself. The hem is bound with rayon tape. Next time I might consider using either a wider hem tape or a cotton bias tape to reduce the slipping and sliding.

The finished product (slight color difference in sunlight/indoor light). I LOVE the pleat – it adds visual interest as well as walking ease.

This was a nice conclusion to my velvet sewing binge; I think I’m over it until next year!



  1. Gorgeous, Katrina! I will flatter myself and say that yes, it was me - I did show a blue velvet maxi on my trip to NYC in October 2011. It was a wrap style, and I gave it to my favorite thrift after I got home b/c it was too heavy to wear in Florida! Yours is so lovely with the wide front pleat.

  2. Oh yaaay! I thought so, but I couldn't find your post again. Well, that's smart of you to give it up if you're not going to use it. I'm just going to keep this one for that once in a lifetime invitation to a midwinter formal event in one of the northern states. I like to be prepared for anything, you know!

  3. I love it! I don't wear much blue and am not normally drawn to it in clothing, but this looks so lovely in every way! The shade, drape of the skirt and that awesome front pleat are all perfection.
    You're welcome to come here any time you'd like to do some sightseeing and wear your lovely skirt! I have a habit of wearing my dressy clothes just because; formal events are too infrequent!

  4. Anita: thank you!! I do that too, otherwise they never get to come out of the closet.

    Pam: I think we should get your lace sweater together with my velvet skirt - love the blues!