McCalls 8142 How to sew for a virtual experience, and like it

When I saw McCalls 8142 in the pattern catalog all I could think is, “Ok girl let’s go dancing–dancing in velvet sparkles”.

McCalls 8142

As the weather gets cooler, I love sewing with velvet.  It’s soft, stretching, and has such a soft hand.  And let’s face it, the number of garments that look amazing in velvet are too many to count.  This year, I needed a special occasion dress, especially in green (as close to Kelly green as possible) for a virtual anniversary event.  Did I mention it was a virtual formal event?  
I bought the fabric from Joann Fabrics well before the event and cut the pattern but was in desperate need of lining.  I didn’t realize that it needed lining so I waited for a trip to Atlanta, GA.  It was really just an excuse to get to Melanated Fabrics.  I enjoyed shopping there and you can read all about my experience there in this blog post.

The Virtual Party Experience

Getting myself hyped up for a virtual party was difficult. These times have pushed up to be happy on camera which is a challenge in itself.

In addition, I think it was hard for me to sew this knowing no one would see the bottom of the dress during the party–the slit. To me, that was one of the best features of the pattern. 

Joann Fabric Green Velvet

Pattern features of McCalls 8142

  • Special occasion dress pattern with  3 views
  • Various sleeve options- long sleeve and sleeveless
  • Various lengths

Sewing Skills needed: 

  • Working with higher pile fabrics- furs, velvet, etc
  • Lining fabrics
  • Creating a slit & hemming 
  • Making pleats/gathers

Petite adjustments to McCalls 8142

Interestingly, I did not make any major adjustments to this pattern.  I was perfectly happy with the hem placement and slit placement. If you are petite, like me, I think you can get away with making very few adjustments. I did, however, make some sewing adjustments listed below.

McCalls 8142

Hacks for McCalls 8142

I needed to make this dress in a few hours so I skipped the full lining. Yes, I skipped lining McCalls 8142. For me, this was the single best option for completing the dress in a timely manner but it also just wasn’t needed. Guess what, it’s velvet fabric. It was thick enough to hide body bubbles and the fabric wasn’t thin. Also, do you know how hard it is to find a lining that is Kelly green in a pinch? Near impossible. As a result, I skipped it. I only lined the bodice in nude (yes, chocolate nude) from Melanated fabrics.

McCalls 8142

Working with Velvet Fabrics

There are a few technical skills one needs to sew with stretch velvet. The first is patience. Realize that this kind of velvet stretches with over manipulation. Of course, pre-washing also helps a little but it won’t prevent overstretching.

McCalls 8142

The second thing you need to know is that you better not use the iron. Mos fabrics with this kind of pile distort or melt when you directly apply the iron. My advice is to pad it up with a pressing cloth if you must use an iron.

I made another dress with surprisingly similar fabric from Minerva Fabrics a while ago for an anniversary dress. Nedlesstosay, I learned that the little rhinestones melt also if you apply direct heat. 

Have you sewn with velvet?

  • Finleigh

    Hi Shontae,

    I an using the same pattern to help a student of mine make a prom dress. Did you find that you needed to add the elastic in the waist of the skirt that the pattern shows? I’m looking to just walk the pattern with the bodice and eliminate any gathering from having to happen. Thanks so much, your dress came out stunning!

    • Shontae B

      Hi Finleigh! Thanks for your comment. I did use elastic on the bodice but depending on your shape/body habitus you may not need it. The pleats are essential. The elastic in my opinion gives the dress more shape and form but you definitely don’t have to have. Hope this helps. Happy sewing.

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