Humble housecoat in velvet

Anyone who reads this blog regularly probably knows that I scavenge fabric. And then create clothing with this “found” fabric, like some artists work with “found” materials.

So, I’ve had a few pieces of velvet in my closet that are way past their due date. I picked them up at an outlet store that closed down at least ten years ago. I thought one of them would be great for a housecoat, something to keep me toasty on cold winter days. Like a cardigan, but not.

I decided to use a shawl-collar pattern that I used for a charcoal duster last winter because I like the pattern, and it has few seams. With velvet, the fewer seams the better, I figure. I practiced everything — sewing with a walking foot, serging, pressing — on scraps of fabric before doing it for real. The only problem was pressing. When I pinned the shawl collar facing to the body, I realized there was a problem. It was going to be a really floppy collar and wouldn’t hold its shape. So I found a very lightweight, open-weave but crisp fabric in my stash and made interfacings. I’m happy with the result. So here it is.


There was no fabric left to make a tie belt, and I don’t look good in them anyway, so I decided to make an obi style cloth belt for when I want to wear this closed. After constructing various types in my head for a few days, I finally remembered youtube! And yes, there were several versions. I chose the one that suggested making the belt in three parts: one front part and two side pieces. On one side you sew the side piece to the front, and on the other side you only sew the top and bottom of the side and front together, leaving a slit in the middle. I used a sample piece of a quilted fabric for one side, and some leftover silver fabric for the inside. Then I made the tie ends too narrow so I couldn’t pull them right side out. Grrrrrrr. Eventually I managed, by using a pair of tweezers.


And here’s the last tool I had to use. Found it in my carpentry tool box.


Can you guess what I used it for?


17 thoughts on “Humble housecoat in velvet”

  1. I’m guessing poking out corners. Nice jacket/housecoat, I like the casual look contrasting with the lux velvet. I had a similar collar problem with a velvet jacket – not the easiest material to get anything resembling a sharp edge.


    1. no, sharp edges are kind of out. There’s no pressing this fabric, at least not with steam, and not hot or hard enough to make a crease. I used the nailset to poke out the corners at the very end of the long and skinny belt tails. A normal wood sewist tool would have been a pain to push and might have gotten stuck. But the heavy nailset just slid right down with the force of gravity πŸ™‚


  2. This is gorgeous, well done. I love the colour. I am Canadian(Nova Scotia) but have lived in London, England for 35 years and recently decided to make myself a throw/quilt out of all the old velvet Laura Ashley/Marks and Spencer clothes and Liberty of London fabric I’ve collected over decades.


  3. It lo is really posh! I prefer it without it being tied at the waist. I thought about the corners for the tool, but that seemed a bit too obvious so am wondering if you used to rough part to brush the velvet?


    1. Ha! What a great idea for what to do with the rough sides of that nailset πŸ™‚ Actually I needed the push out the corners at the tail ends of that long, long belt. I didn’t think the slim wooden sewer’s tool I had would make it down to the very ends and generally would be a pain. The weighted nailset slid right now, worked great. And since I can’t find my wooden tool anywhere right now, may be I’ll repurpose the nailset as a corner-pusher-outer.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I’ve read somewhere recently that people both feel and behave differently when they’re wearing sloppy home clothes versus “work” clothes. I’m taking it seriously, and cranking up my at-home wear.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Linda, I might wear it out on occasion. But if I reserved it for going-out wear, I’d almost never get to wear it. So, it’s cranking up my coffee and breakfast outfits. Yes, the tool is called either a countersink or a nailset, I’m not sure which. Maybe both.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This looks wonderful just hanging – am agreed with the several others who got to write it ahead of me. πŸ˜‰ (Yes, events down here have been quite… unmentionable.) As for your countersink/nailset (seem to remember both names used, for what that’s worth), had guessed you’d used it for popping out some belt corners. But hadn’t realized its weight would have also been a handy-dandy aid.
    Keep swanning about!


  5. I absolutely love that housecoat! And, since it is grey, should you ever tire of the colour it would be a great canvas for some colour work. What about fastening it with a brooch? If you don’t feel like a belt and don’t want it open, a brooch is an option. At least I love using brooches like that. Just need one with a thin needle…
    When you asked about the tool, I thought you meant what the tool was supposed to be used for – and I kept wondering if it had a blunt or pointed end, because I can’t See it on the photo. So, two Norwegian words for you today (because who doesn’t want to learn Norwegian tool names?) it would be either a kjΓΈrner (pointed end) or a dor (blunt end). Using it to turn the belt straps was a good idea, long live multi purpose tools!


    1. hi naughtybun, thanks for commenting. The jacket isn’t grey! It’s a shade of blue-green that I just love. Not torquoise, not quite teal. I call it aqua. How many words does Norwegian have for the colour of water? Yes, a brooch would work, although I discovered that pins left in the fabric too long made holes.


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