What Type of Fabric Should I Use With Velour?
I have just started making scarves with a velour type material - it's stretchy and velvety. I am finding the backings I pick very difficult to sew with it e.g. jersey and satin.
What material would you suggest I match with velour and what type of machine sewing needle and thread would be best?
My friends are asking me to make them some so I need to know - it could start a business!
Lining stretchy fabric is always difficult. The trick is to find a backing fabric that stretches in the same directions and to about the same extent. Because velour is a woven material and stretches in all directions, you need to choose something with a similar weave.
These days, many fabrics incorporate a lycra weave to give them extra stretch and make them more comfortable to wear. These include artificial satins that could make attractive backings for your scarves. You'll need to take a swatch of the velour material with you when you go shopping for fabric so that you can compare the degree of stretch and choose a material that's a close match.
To measure stretch, take an ordinary ruler and place the fabric alongside it. Measure a short length - five inches will do - then grip the end of the fabric against the end of the ruler and stretch it out as far as it will comfortably go. Note the difference between the two measurements and compare that to the first measurement - for instance, if a five inch piece of fabric will stretch a further three inches, the fabric has a three fifths, or sixty percent stretch.
To sew two pieces of stretchy fabric together, stretch them both out fully as they pass through your machine. This means that the capacity of the finished scarf to stretch won't be limited by the stitching, and the scarf won't crinkle at the seams. Practice on a sample first so that you can get the tension right on your machine, and choose a length of stitch that allows the fabric to relax naturally.
If you follow these guidelines, your usual thread should work quite adequately, so you can pick something that goes with the colour of your fabric. Use a light needle and be careful not to damage the nap as you sew.
All of this may sound quite complicated, but it's easy to do once you get the hang of it. Working on several similar items is a great way to really sharpen up your sewing skills. Some of the most successful sewing businesses have started out with home sewers discovering they'd created something popular, so you never know what might happen. And if nothing else, your friends will be glad to have something else to keep them warm in the winter weather.