A prominent trend this spring and something that I personally love are my silk velvet pants. Being a more flowey style of pant McCall’s (M7445), they are easily worn into summer and the silk is surprisingly breathable. I did encounter a few grievances along the way and I had to even scrap one pair because I couldn’t get them over my hips! I wanted to share a few tips when sewing with this luscious fabric to save you all time and money (so you don’t have to buy silk velvet fabric twice!).

Fit Tip: Tissue fit the pants 1 to 1 and not tighter! Silk velvet does NOT stretch, and because it’s so slippery, you may end up losing some seam allowance. It’s even not a bad idea to cut 1″ seam allowances for extra protection!

First, I just tried to pin the fabric wrong sides together but quickly found out that the pins were not enough and the two layers were sliding all over the place. I decided to try a trick that I used for sewing leather. I slid some tissue in between the two layers of fabric thinking that would prevent the naps of the velvet from pushing against each other and causing the slippage. It worked pretty well in the straight seams but where ever I had to turn and stitch on the bias, major slippage happened. No success.


My pal Jenny, who owns Workroom Social where I am teaching some fitting classes this fall, suggested hand basting! I cringed! I have to admit that I really enjoy fast sewing (once the fitting process is done of course)… I’m not a slow and steady kinda gal. This seemed so tedious, but after sewing the crotch seam like 6 times and still getting slippage every time I thought, this is the only way.

You will need a long surface to lay your pants right sides together and a surface you can pin into, I used my ironing board, but a cardboard cutting table works too. Once the edges are even, place two pins facing each other all the way down near the stitching line but not too close to the seam. With the pins angling toward each other they won’t let the fabric side either direction. Once everything is nice and flat you will commence the hand basting. Try not to lift up the fabric too far off the table because that will shift the pieces.

McCall's M7445 Silk Velvet Pants


Once you’ve basted (I know its not pretty) the two layers should pretty much stay together even when you pick it up to carry it over to the sewing machine. You can then sew your 5/8″ seam. In some cases, like the crotch curve, I first stitched with a basting 4.0 stitch just to make sure it went through the machine successfully and when it did I stitched over that with a 2.5 length stitch. I still got a little slippage in the more curved area, but not nearly like my first attempts!


McCall's M7445 Silk Velvet Pants

McCall's M7445 Silk Velvet Pants

These pants are a great starter pant for learning how to fit. They work well in a drapey woven like this silk or a stiffer woven like a denim or corduroy with some stretch. If you choose a heavier weight fabric with no stretch they will be a little harder to fit. Follow the fitting order in the guide sheet that comes with the pattern and make sure to pay attention to the crotch depth and inseams. You want this pant fitted through the waist and hip, but looser around the thigh and knee. The leg is flared and cropped, which is a flattering look on most figures. It all depends on making the length end at the right spot on your calf or ankle. Leave extra length at the bottom so when you are fabric fitting you can experiment with pinning up the hem to see what flatters your body most!


Thanks for reading, sewing friends! Look forward to seeing more pants this #mmm2017 (me made may 2017)!

X Melissa

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Teresa Sorensen

    May I ask where you were able to find the silk velvet? I live in the middle of Nebraska and have to mail order fabrics most of the time. Thanks!

  2. Kim Harrington

    Love this post! I am in good company when I hear that everyone has issues that come up in the sewing adventures! I try the “easy” way if I can, but truly what is faster? If it has to be ripped out six times, it isn’t easy. Hand basting is pretty easy when you use large running stitches, and it takes all that frustration away!

    1. Melissa Watson

      Kim thanks so much for your comment, its so nice to hear I’m not alone too!

      1. Mary Randolph

        My inseams aren’t in the right spot…too far toward the back..what did I do and how can I correct this..I love the look and your directions are great..thank you

  3. marijk

    So pretty and flattering!! At 5’4″, I usually only wear slim cropped, but these are so fabulous I think I have to try them. And since I have a few pieces of silk velvet (some burn-outs) in my stash, the hand-basting trick is extremely helpful. I just love seeing your posts in my email box. Thanks, and hope you’re having a wonderful spring. 🙂

    1. Melissa Watson

      Hey! Thanks so much for the comment, I love slim and cropped on petite ladies! Some burnout silk velvet would be killer for pants with just a cropped lining underneath!

  4. Kathy King

    Well done! So chic and fun! Thank you for the trial by error tips.

  5. Liz Haywood

    The pants look great! Velvet isn’t the first fabric I think of for Spring and Summer sewing, but I like the look.
    Regarding the slippage with velvet, I use lots of pins in both directions – that is, perpendicular and parallel to the seam line. Then I sew slowly and only remove the pins when I absolutely have to. It’s a little quicker than hand basting but hand basting is a good idea if you want to check the fit before sewing (since, as you know, velvet shows unpicking). Did you find your overlocker slipped too?

    1. Melissa Watson

      Hey Liz! Thanks a bunch. I know, its been a bit warm but it’s cooling down again so I really do like these for that mild spring weather, especially since they are loose. I actually didn’t get any slippage with the overlocker, but I only serged once the seams were sewn.

    2. Melissa Watson

      Thanks for the tip Liz! I didn’t find that the serger slipped much…

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