My Chevron Red Velvet Dress

Red Velvet Dress -

When I went shopping for a knit fabric for the Red Velvet Dress Sewalong, I decided to challenge myself and bought this Ella Moss chevron rayon jersey fabric at Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. (You can buy the paper pattern here or get the PDF.) I bought small chevron fabric for the bodice and the bigger chevrons for the skirt. Then I got some solid black for the midriff.

I’ve only sewn knit stripes once so I admit that I was a little intimidated so it took me a while to get going on cutting the fabric. I felt that I needed to do some research and I found a really helpful tutorial “Cutting Striped Knit Fabric & Matching Stripes” on Sewholic‘s site. (Thank you Tasia!)

I’ll have to do a separate post on preparing the fabric for cutting. So for now I’ll just give you an overview of what I did to make this version of the Red Velvet Dress.

I should mention that this is my second Cake Patterns make so I was pretty confident that it would be easy to adjust the pattern. (I’ve made three Hummingbird peplum tops, which you can see here.) The week before this sewalong began I was busy on my Emery Dress so I had no time to make a muslin – yes, I was sewing dangerously! No muslin!!

Sewing chevrons is a little more tricky than stripes, which I really didn’t realize until I made a mistake in cutting the bodice. I was so focused on making sure that the chevron apexes lined up perfectly on the bottom edge and at the center fold that I didn’t pay attention to the sides. Big oops. So I ended up being 3/4″ off to line up the chevrons! Ack.

Red Velvet side seam -

This was a bit discouraging. On Instagram, Katie of Kadiddlehopper (@kid_md) suggested that I baste and see if it still fit. (On IG my handle is @csews.) Thanks for the encouragement along the way, Katie, and for reminding me that rayon knit is forgiving!

I basted so that my chevrons lined up perfectly in the middle and it still fit. Yay! But what to do about the excess?

Red Velvet Dress side seam

I posted a photo of my sideseam basted and asked what to do – trim and then sew? Susan of Moonthirty and Steph, the talent behind Cake Patterns reassured me that I could just trim off the excess and sew it. You can see the discussion on this Flickr photo. I had MATCHING chevrons! My sideseam was exactly in the middle of the apex. Wahooooo!

I promise to post plenty of photos about it in a later post. Meanwhile here are the details.


Red Velvet Knit Dress pattern – $20
1/4 yard of solid black rayon jersey – $2.75
2 1/4 yard of large black-and-white chevron rayon – $21.25
3/4 yard of small black-and-white chevron rayon – $6.37
Matching thread (I used black and white)
Schmetz jersey needle
Fusible interfacing (black) $5
Fusible stay tape

I got extra yardage to compensate for mating the chevrons and because I wanted a longer skirt. I rarely wear skirts that end at the knees. I just like a longer length.

My pattern adjustments before cutting my fabric:

Bodice – I lengthened the bodice by about three inches. When I held a measuring tape against my body, the bottom of the bodice seemed to end right in the middle of my bewb. Though I knew the bodice would stretch a bit with the weight of the skirt, I thought it would still be too high. I was surprised that the length of the bodice wasn’t one of the things that you draft to your measurements, like the Hummingbird top. For the Hummingbird pattern, you take your shoulder-to-waist measurement to determine the length of the top above the peplum. Of course you can make adjustments to the Red Velvet bodice yourself, which I did before I cut my fabric. I recommend taking your measurement from the top of your shoulder (going over the middle of your bewb) and then ending about an inch below your bust. This measurement will give you extra length, which you can easily trim later.

Shoulder – I moved the shoulder point 1/4″ out I have broad shoulders and did a 1/2″ shoulder adjustment to my Emery Dress for a woven fabric so I figured with a knit 1/4″ would be OK.

Waist – Moved my waist point on the midriff and skirt to a spot right in the middle of 32.5 and 30

Skirt – Made my skirt tea length – about 33 inches long on me

My adjustments after I cut my fabric:

Construction: Because I had to match my side seams, I sewed the side seams of my bodice, midriff, and the skirt separately instead of sewing the side seam all in one seam. This meant I had to line up the side seams of the midriff to the bodice and then the midriff to the skirt.

Sleeves: My sleeves were a tad short because I had to trim them down to line up. On Instagram, Melanie of The Seeds of 3 suggested that I might want to add a wide binding to the sleeve. So decided to add a band of black to the sleeves. I had done sleeve binding on my Hummingbird tops but here I would have to insert the binding. So I guessed at the length. The sleeve width from the bottom to the shoulder was nearly 6 inches so I cut a binding that was 5 3/4″ folded in half (11 1/2″ total). I didn’t take photos of this and explaining in words is a little hard to follow so I’ll just say that I stretched it as I sewed and it worked! Be sure to check out Melanie’s Red Velvet Dresses – yeah, she’s more more than one! Here’s her most recent version – a lovely polka dot one.

Neckline: I didn’t topstitch around the neckline because I didn’t like how that would look. Instead I did a bit of hand stitching to tack it down. But you can see some of the stitches so I’ve taken some of them out and may just leave some stitches around the shoulder. Steph also suggested that I stitch in the ditch at the shoulder seam.

Pleats: To match the chevrons on the side seams of the skirt, I had to move my seam line in 1/2 on both sides. This meant I had to adjust the front pleat to accommodate – so I didn’t overlap the tucks on the inside. Instead the tucks meet in the middle. (More on this in my upcoming post on matching chevrons.)

The Pattern

The beauty of Cake Patterns is that they are drafted with zero ease, which give you a LOT of room for adjustment. Patterns for knits usually have negative ease because knit fabrics stretch. See Steph’s explanation of why her patterns have zero ease here. If she didn’t have this ease I wouldn’t have been able to match my chevrons – and I would have been really frustrated. But instead, I got to match my chevrons. Yay!

When I make this dress again, I’ll give myself a little more room below the arm.

If you make this dress, be sure to visit the sewlaong pages on Cake Patterns site You’ll find more information about constructing the dress and plenty of tips. The instructions that come with the dress are rather minimal so I highly recommend reading the sewalong pages.

I haven’t sewed rayon knit in a couple years so I had some doubts – at one point I was wondering about whether I needed stabilizer to sew the side seams. I posed the question on Twitter (@csewsalot is my handle) and got some answers. Melanie told me she’s used fusible webbing (Steam-a-seam) with great results on striped knits. Katie of Kadiddleshopper suggested using a walking foot and Leila of Three Dresses assured me it would be fine to sew the side seams of my rayon knit without any stay tape and that I should only use it if it the seam was “wavy.” Good advice from all. It turned out that this rayon was easy to sew and was perfectly fine using a regular foot and no stay tape. But I did decrease the pressure on my foot, which I think helped.

Working with this rayon knit has been a dream (now that it’s done!) and a nightmare (took me hours to prepare my fabric for cutting). But my chevrons match so perfectly on the side seams that I’m going around telling everyone at work – “Look, my side seams match!”

Here are more photos – on the side views – my hands are near the side seams. How’s that for matching!

Red Velvet Dress -

Red Velvet Dress -

Red Velvet Dress -

And here’s my celebratory twirl.

Red Velvet Dress -

And thanks to all the sewcialists who gave me advice as I was making this dress. You helped me get through the sewing process!

What’s on your sewing plate?

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Chuleenan Svetvilas is a writer who sews and collects hats and shoes. She is a fabric addict and loves classic films and vintage clothes.

201 Responses to “My Chevron Red Velvet Dress”

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    To think, I was confused a minute ago.

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  15. December 4, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Great pattern mixing. Such hard work matching those chevrons, but the effect is spectacular. You deserve two celebratory twirls.

    • December 5, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

      Thank you Cari! I twirled multiple times because my camera was on the 10-second timer. Took me a while to get that shot. ;)

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  16. November 27, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    This is such a cool dress! Your chevrons are perfect and this looks amazing!

    • November 27, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

      Thanks so much Mads! So happy it’s done! =)

    • November 23, 2014 at 5:50 am #

      Love this! The contrast looks anamizg and a very creative way of using the stamp. I’ve just discovered you have a nail blog . . . after years of reading your papercraft blog. I was thinking how cool this would be in shades of taupe kind of like wheel tracks!

  17. November 26, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    This is amazing work!!!! I can’t believe how perfect all of the chevrons are!!

  18. November 26, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    I love this dress, as I said on Instagram, I have some vintage chevron stretch fabric I’ve been too scared to sew up, you have inspired me though. I hope whatever I make with mine, will be as good as this.
    Oh yes, and love the tights and shoes and hat.

    • November 26, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Thank you Jeanette! Just baste everything before you sew and you’ll be fine. I’ll be doing a post about sewing those chevrons so be sure to look out for that.

      The hat is a vintage one I found at a thrift store several years ago. I really love it. Those are my first pair of red tights – as an adult. Heheh. This dress inspired me to go bold. ;)

      • November 23, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

        Wow, I got so far behind on your blog Sue but I aalyws have to try and leave a comment on all your wonderful designs. I missed out the blog hop one (which is fabulous) as I haven’t got time to do the hop :( and the previous post as I’ll comment on both cards here.I liked your card before you altered it but do agree that it perhaps was a little feminine. The slight changes you made have not detracted from the card at all but have created a more masculine feel. I’m sure your Hubby will be well pleased to receive this lovely card.I’ve really enjoyed my catch up :)!HugsLesley Xx

      • November 25, 2014 at 12:42 am #

        At last, someone comes up with the “right” answer!

      • November 25, 2014 at 1:39 am #

        An answer from an expert! Thanks for contributing.

      • November 25, 2014 at 2:28 am #

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        Time to face the music armed with this great information.

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        I literally jumped out of my chair and danced after reading this!

    • November 23, 2014 at 1:24 am #

      I see, I supospe that would have to be the case.

    • November 23, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

      That’s an inventive answer to an interesting question

    • November 24, 2014 at 3:06 am #

      Thanks for introducing a little rationality into this debate.

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      Very true! Makes a change to see someone spell it out like that. :)

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      Heck yeah this is exactly what I needed.

  19. November 26, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Congrats! What a beautiful dress! Your care and effort was really worth it.

  20. November 26, 2013 at 5:02 am #

    This dress is fabulous! I love the contrasting scale of the chevron fabrics and the black midriff and sleeve bands really balance the prints. Twirl on!!

    • November 26, 2013 at 10:13 am #

      Thank you, Ellen! Working with chevrons was an interesting challenge but I’m glad I did it!

      • November 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

        Your one big error in judgment stems from the fact that you are arppoaching this subject from a skilled, convinced and technical Android-user’s perspective. As an Apple user arppoaching Android, some of the things you tout as positives for Android strike me as inconsistencies and unnecessary complications in Android’s user interface. It is not so clear and simple as you would like it to be, or maybe I should be saying, as you portray it in your article. (And you seem to have forgotten about the Apple keybord’s double-tap period shortcut)

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        And to think I was going to talk to someone in person about this.

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        If you want to get read, this is how you should write.

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        It’s like you’re on a mission to save me time and money!

    • November 24, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

      I do like both versions Sue but I think you did the right thing with the cehagns you made and it works really well as a masculine card now.

  21. November 26, 2013 at 2:58 am #

    it’s just awesome!!! Perfect chevron matching and fabulous styling – wonderful work!

    • November 26, 2013 at 10:12 am #

      Thank you MaciNic! =)

      • November 23, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

        Hi! I’ve just put one of your chevron backrgoungs on my blog, I still don’t know if I want to keep it or change it, but I want to tell you. I have credited you in the Copyright text, at the end of the page. If I decide to keep your wallpaper, I will mentioned on a post too with a link Thank you!

      • November 24, 2014 at 1:55 am #

        Hey, you’re the goto expert. Thanks for hanging out here.

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        In the complicated world we live in, it’s good to find simple solutions.

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      • November 24, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

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      • November 24, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

        Thanks for contributing. It’s helped me understand the issues.

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        We’ve arrived at the end of the line and I have what I need!

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      • November 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

        I’m so glad that the internet allows free info like this!

    • November 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

      This was a great tutorial! I have used the same metohd for smaller things… it is great to see it on a large scale! I would smile every time I walked into my kitchen too if this was my island… as I turn my head to glance at mind… hmmmmmTiffany {Living Savyy}

    • November 24, 2014 at 2:56 am #

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      Stands back from the keyboard in amazement! Thanks!

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      Keep these articles coming as they’ve opened many new doors for me.

  22. November 25, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

    I just love your version, and your styling and photos!! Great write up and the care you took shows through so clearly. :)

  23. November 25, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    C, I love this dress so much, and I adore how your process was informed by so many sewcialists throughout. Oh, and yes on the decreasing presser foot pressure when sewing knits, I am a huge advocate of this! Especially with unstable ones like rayons.

  24. November 25, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    Love it with the red hat and tights! All your careful matching really paid off – it looks wonderful!

    • November 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

      Thank you! I had no idea how much time it would take to match those darn chevrons. ;) But you’re right, it really paid off! I’m really happy with the results. Glad you like my touches of red.

    • November 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

      I don’t think that’s an error in judgment. Certainly, I have a denierfft set of expectations and preferences than someone who is used to another OS or none at all, but that’s why I specifically call that fact out in the opening paragraph.I’d love to hear about specific things I have mentioned about Android here that you find as negatives.I assume by the double-tap shortcut, you mean pressing spacebar twice (unless there’s another one I don’t know of). However, that doesn’t help with typing acronyms, like the specific example I gave. Of course, you could just not care about conventions and add a space after each period, hoping for U. S. A. The problem is you press U, space, space, S, space, space, A, space, space and you end up with U. S. a. Why are two letters automatically capitalized and one is not?

    • November 24, 2014 at 4:25 am #

      Your answer shows real intelligence.

    • November 24, 2014 at 6:27 am #

      I can’t believe I’ve been going for years without knowing that.

    • November 24, 2014 at 8:24 am #

      I’d venture that this article has saved me more time than any other.

    • November 24, 2014 at 11:33 am #

      Just cause it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s not super helpful.

    • November 24, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

      To think, I was confused a minute ago.

    • November 24, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

      With the bases loaded you struck us out with that answer!

    • November 24, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

      AFAICT you’ve covered all the bases with this answer!

    • November 25, 2014 at 2:36 am #

      Lot of smarts in that posting!

    • November 25, 2014 at 4:46 am #

      I might be beating a dead horse, but thank you for posting this!

    • November 25, 2014 at 8:14 am #

      A few years ago I’d have to pay someone for this information.

    • November 25, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

      I could watch Schindler’s List and still be happy after reading this.


  1. 2013 - A Year of Sewing Firsts - C Sews - January 1, 2014

    […] fabric – which I discovered was not quite the same as sewing stripes (heheh). I made my Chevron Red Velvet Dress, when I participated in Cake Patterns Red Velvet Knit Dress sewalong (pattern link […]

  2. Emery Dress with Embellishments - C Sews - December 23, 2013

    […] the Emery Dress, I participated in the Red Velvet Sewalong, which began on November 11, and made my Chevron Red Velvet Dress. It was a dress […]

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