Hemming a velvet skirt

My first “epic” project of the year is complete, the Burda 105 Godet Skirt. It wasn’t meant to be an epic project, but the slippery, slinky fabric turned it into one. Here it is, a winter skirt ready for the first warm day of spring.


I had left off at the hem last time. I followed the directions in this Threads Magazine article, except that instead of using bias-strips of flannel (which I didn’t have), I used 1” self-fabric strips cut along the cross-grain, as advised by an online sewing friend. The fabric was stretchy enough along that I didn’t need the strips to be bias cut. When I turned up the hem, I discovered why Threads recommended a strip of fabric in the hem—the velvet did not want to make a crisp fold, and there was a gap between fabric layers right above the fold line. This gap is taken up by the fabric strip.

I trimmed the hem of the skirt to 0.5”. I then aligned the right side of the strip of fabric facing the wrong side of the fabric, so that one edge of the fabric strip was right against the hem line, and the other edge extended beyond the edge of the skirt (by about 0.5”). I decided to use schematic drawings here, because the velvet wasn’t photographing clearly enough for instructional purposes. The skirt is shown in purple, and the fabric strip in grey.

I stitched the edge of the strip to the skirt, just below the hemline:


On the right side, I stitched the edge of the skirt hem to the strip of fabric, using a zig-zag stitch:


I then turned everything up at the hem line, so that the strip of fabric was between the skirt body and hem allowance. I catch-stitched the strip of fabric to the skirt body by hand. It took forever because the hem was well over 100” long, and I’m slow at hand-sewing (but fairly meticulous).


I did lose some of the nice drape and flow of the unhemmed skirt. I always seem to have this problem when hemming a curved piece (unless the fabric is thin enough for a tiny narrow rolled hem). Nevertheless, I’m quite pleased with the end result, and looking forward to wearing this out and about. But first I might have to make the accompanying Burda 102 jacket, which I’d like to do in a ponte knit.

There’s been some debate in my household about the ideal color for the jacket. We’re having a déjà vu moment of the black/ gold/ blue/ white dress optical illusion that was all over social media a couple of years ago. I think the velvet has clear purple undertones, and that the jacket should be a dark purple. My mom and husband don’t see any purple at all, and vote for a grey to black color for the jacket. Two coworkers called the skirt “dark grey” in color, but noted purple when prompted. What color(s) do you see in the skirt, and what are your suggestions for jacket color? Post in the comments below. Meanwhile, here’s another picture of the finished skirt (my shirts in both pictures are pure black, for comparison).


And just in case anyone is wondering about my activities on the knitting front—I’m hard at work on a piece for a 3rd-party publisher. It’s top-secret, but here’s a preview of the swatch, in the beautiful silk/ wool Lady Godiva yarn from Handmaiden Yarns :


The publication is due out in May, so watch for it here, on Facebook, and/ or on Ravelry!



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