Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oh, the horrors of sewing with velvet.

It's nearly Christmas. Even though I do not live a very glamorous life, and even though I do not have any swank parties on the calendar (yet?!), I still fill with a desire to put together my "going out" Christmas outfit each year in December. I envision myself draped in luxurious, supple fabrics like velvet, adorned with a little bit of sparkle. I can see myself at the fancy holiday parties of my dreams, sipping gingerbread-flavored cocktails while listening to ever-classy jazz versions of holiday tunes. I will eat tiny canapes of caviar, effortlessly avoiding any spills or dribbles on my holiday best. Surely there will be a small gift exchange and I will walk out with a trinket from a boutique, or a rare vintage treasure. And of course, part way through the evening, my debonair husband (dressed to the nines in his three piece gray suit) will tease me under the mistletoe for a Christmas kiss that simultaneously makes onlookers blush a bit and "oooohhhh" approvingly at our adorable relationship. And naturally my Christmas sparkle will garnish the whole event.

The tree will be no match for my sparkle! That is my fantasy anyways.

So this year, I took a step to indulge the fantasy. I might not have a velvet party dress (yet). I might not have a blouse hand-beaded in Paris (yet). And I might not have any invitation to caviar-infused holiday events (yet). But perhaps I could have an ornate and luxurious headband as a start? A headband seemed like a good starting point. After all, I have problem hair, and since it often won't cooperate in looking glam-worthy, I figured perhaps I could cover it up with something both large and pretty. Thus, the giant, sparkling headband vision hatched.

I obtained the necessary sparkle via Etsy, and it exceeds expectations. I have the above gold star, a mere 4.5 inches in diameter. I also purchased the above silver star, a whopping 6 inches in diameter. It is my favorite. My plan was to cover a simple dime store headband in a nicer fabric, tack on the sparkle, and viola, head out into the holiday bustle to impress with my bling.

So I tried to sew an itty-bitty little rectangle of velvet fabric together, just enough to turn right side out and slip over a plastic headband, and the experience left me moaning "Oh the humanity!" That velvet slipped and slid. It creeped. It puckered. It went instantaneously wonky and unmanageable, after about an inch of sewing. Eventually, that darn velvet led me to throw the fabric to the floor in a mini-tantrum (note to self: fabric is not an effective material to throw during a tantrum, especially velvet. It just floated gracefully to the floor and laid there looking soft, as though it were mocking my frustration.)

So, my velvet fantasy are proving challenging. I am considering moving on to raw silk instead. It does not have the soft, supple look of velvet, but it still looks dressy and might be feasible to sew. Now I am just wondering if I need to interface a silk to give it enough body to hold up the applique. Oh, and did I mention I also have plans for a post-Christmas, vintage hat inspired headband, using the below millinery flower...? That baby is at least 6 inches across and several inches high, meant to be a statement piece. I can't wait.

A tiny part of me wants to keep the source of these lovely pieces a secret, for fear there are limited quantities of them in the world and somehow sharing the source will dry it up. But, tis the season for giving, so here you go. I found these and so many other LOVELY appliques and lace trims and millinery supplies at an online Etsy seller named MaryNotMartha. Here is a link to her store. Whatever you do, please don't buy her completely out of stock, save a little for me. But hey, if you DO buy something, mention I sent you there. Maybe she will reward me with a new applique and some tips about how to sew it to velvet.

Merry Blingin' Christmas to all, and to all a sparkly night!

1 comment:

Laura (lap) said...

Oh a lass after my heart, since I too have been dreaming of gigantic oversized cream and gold poinsettias on my shoulders on behind one ear, that will make all eyes turn my way.

You make me grin just to excess. Thank you.