Velvet Tabard


I bought this gorgeous chiffon velvet in NZ in a sale, over 18 months ago. I had forgotten about it until I reorganised my fabric stash a bit and separated out all the velvet. Having found it again I was inspired to use it in my annual party dress manufacture. It announced to me quite firmly that it wanted to be a tabard type garment, sort of a long loose waistcoat. This threw me into a tizz because that made me think 1920s and I got it into my head that meant that the garment for underneath would need to be sleeveless, which I wasn’t happy about. Also, the tabard acts as an overgarment, so adding another coat would likely look and feel strange, though a wrap might still work. Thus I got grumpy and “threw it in a corner” (not literally) for a week or so. Then realised that if I set aside the 20s association, I would be more free in design for the underdress. I also thought that a tabard in this lovely stuff could be a generally useful garment for random formal outfits. I’m a bit lacking in formal clothes so that would be welcome.

So here it is. Who’s silly idea was it to design a garment that needed something like 9 metres of facing*? I was a bit shocked when I realised that, but it’s all done now. I’ve just taken a picture over what I happened to be wearing and it looks ok even over that. I rather think it will look better still over a drapey frock with stockings and heels.


The only seams are at the shoulders. The sides are closed only by ties, which I made from silk string, with discreet bling at the ends. The small beads are made from actual bronze metal. I think the larger ones are gold plated brass.


Sigh, yes it does look suspiciously like a sideless surcoat. Incorrigible.

Now I get to work on the underdress.

Edit: Woot! look what just arrived! My new elegant black labels. Well timed! I haven’t run out of the old ones but felt like some variety. First one sewn to a garment within a few hours of landing in the letterbox.


*Facings are double fold straight tape in black cotton poplin. They worked pretty well and because they match the underside of the velvet turn out to be nearly invisible. Certainly easier to work with poplin on velvet than anything slippery, though it was still a fight to seam the facing to the velvet surface. Handsewing the facings down was much easier, though time consuming.


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