Little Black Velvet Dress

What makes a holiday even better than any ordinary day? Designing your very own outfit for the day!

As much as I loved creating my Easter outfits over the years, I never attempted to create my own Christmas/holiday party dresses.  Typically I’m swamped with work and usually wear slacks because of the freezing temperatures! So regardless of those things, this year I made it my goal to start & finish a dress for my all my holiday festivities!


 Recently, someone asked me to sew a custom garment that called for velvet. I’m a newbie when it comes to sewing velvet, so I wanted to create a velvet dress for myself before I attempting the custom order.

I remember most of the velvet sewing and pressing techniques my past mentors passed on to me, so I wasn’t afraid to dive in. However, one of the techniques was impossible for me do because I don’t own a needle board. (A needle board is a special ironing board for pressing/steaming velvet. It keeps the nap of the velvet from flattening.)

little black velvet shift burdastyle 130 dress marusya

Just before my fabric shopping trip, I received the monthly edition of Burda Style
and saw this pattern! It immediately caught my eye, so I decided to make a short version of this dress using some of the black velvet I bought.

little black velvet shift burdastyle 130 dress marusya

How difficult was it to cut the velvet?

~I didn’t find it difficult. However, I was extra careful with laying the pattern pieces and making sure the direction of the pile was the same for each pattern piece. 

little black velvet shift burdastyle 130 dress marusya
I LOVED the pleats along the neckline and waistline

How difficult was it to sew the velvet?

~ Velvet is sometimes expensive (since they are all imported to the U.S.) and since I wasn’t looking for something expensive nor long-lasting, I found this clearance black velvet. The velvet was low quality and it certainly did not feel or look as luxurious as some of the velvets I’ve seen in high-end textile boutiques.

Because of the low quality, I think the velvet was tougher to work with. First, the velvet did not sew smoothly through the machine and required me to use LOTS of pins (which is tedious and time-consuming). Second, the velvet was VERY unforgiving.  I originally sewed a Maltese ribbon along the hem of the dress. When I decided to seam rip out the ribbon, I damaged the velvet and you can still see the stitch lines at the hem of the dress 🙁

little black velvet shift burdastyle 130 dress marusya

Would I sew this pattern again?


I love this dress pattern! It requires more time and fabric than your typical shift dress pattern, but it’s totally worth it! I plan on making more dresses with this pattern!

When I first decided to use the Burda Style
dress pattern, I didn’t know that the top bodice was 2 pieces (+ facings), so at first I was a little confused when I first started cutting & sewing.

little black velvet shift burdastyle 130 dress marusya

The top layer is not attached to the skirt. So one night, I wore the dress with the top layer rolled up! (It made the dress look less boxy and more sleek.)

little black velvet shift burdastyle 130 dress marusya

The back bottom black polyester bodice layer has an invisible zipper, while the top velvet layer is open in the back. I  added a snap to the top layer at the waistline because I wanted to add a button my dad brought back from Malta.

black velvet shift burdastyle dress marusya
Button from the Island of Malta

How did you steam/press the velvet if you didn’t have a needle board?

~I’m extremely tempted to buy a needle board. It was awful not having one!

I skipped most of the pressing!

However, I really needed to press out the zipper because some of the velvet moved while sewing (even with the zipper basted in)! I tried different things to carefully press the zipper seams . But in the end nothing really worked and I ruined a patch of the velvet along the waistband.

little black velvet shift burdastyle 130 dress marusya

little black velvet shift burdastyle 130 dress marusya

little black velvet shift burdastyle 130 dress marusya

black velvet shift burdastyle dress marusya

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    1. Reply

      Thank you sassyT!

  1. Reply

    Beautiful Dress. I don’t think I would ever dare to sew velvet.

    1. Reply

      Thanks Kathy! It wasn’t too bad. But it was tough not having a needle board though!

  2. Reply

    Beautiful dress! I’m so happy to have discovered your blog and found your version of this pattern – I was also considering sewing it in a short version but didn’t know if it would work out well or now. It’s so lovely and chic in black!

    1. Reply

      Thanks Carrie! Oh please tell me when you make yours. I’d love to see it!
      I want to create another dress with this pattern in a different fabric. I think the details are hard to see with this velvet fabric.

  3. Reply

    […] first, I wanted a sil­hou­ette sim­i­lar to my black vel­vet Christ­mas dress and the Chanel dress worn by Keira Knightly, but with a long fit­ted skirt. I envi­sioned the top […]

  4. Reply

    What issue of Burda Style did that pattern come from? I have Winter 2014 but it is not in that issue. Thanks

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