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How to Sew Napped Fabric (Velvet, Corduroy, etc.)

How to Sew Napped Fabric - showing a close-up of magenta fabric with LOTS of pins holding the pieces together

Sewing with napped fabric can be a real pain.

It creeps like crazy!

I’m not kidding! The first time I worked with velvet I sewed a pair of pants for my young daughter. I treated it like normal fabric and by the time I got to the end of my first side seam, I still had INCHES left of one of the layers. It slid that much!

Way back at the beginning of the year I made a video all about choosing fabrics. I warned you to stay away from velvet and other napped fabrics because they can be tricky to sew. Well – no more! If you want to make a velvet bunny for Easter – here’s a video showing what you need to know.

First of all – what is napped fabric?

It’s any fabric that has a direction to it. I don’t mean the print on the surface of the fabric – I mean the actual weave of the fabric. Velvet, corduroy, fur – all of those are napped. If you’re not sure, try running your hand along the surface of the fabric. Does it feel “right” in one direction and “wrong” in every other way? That’s the nap. And when you layer two pieces of it together, the naps work against each other to make the layers walk apart as you sew. It’s maddening!

A walking foot helps, but what you really need are hundreds of pins. I show you all the details in this video.

Want to see that velvet bunny I mentioned earlier?

Here he is! His name is Bartholomew Bunny and he also has shiny tissue lamé ears. 🙂

Fancy Velvet Bunny - Bartholomew Bunny Pattern from Shiny Happy World

Have fun sewing with napped fabrics!

That's me!



  1. I love corduroy!!!! Thanks for the helpful hints!

  2. Thanks Wendy!! I have checked out many sewing sites but yours is the best!! I find I actually learn a lot of new tips and I have been sewing for awhile– But– things that gave me problems — I just didn’t sew– NOW I will!! thanks again JMD

  3. Thank you! I love your video tutorials. They’re so helpful and clear.

  4. Anonymous SAYS...

    Thanks! Very helpful

  5. Anonymous SAYS...

    How about glueing, before sewing. Would that be just as effective as pinning so much?

    • Sure – but you’d need to use a washable glue, so that if you’re unable to keep it in the seam allowance anything that ends up visible will wash away.