Life's a pretty precious...

Life's a pretty precious...

Sunday, 18 June 2017


Opulent, regal, sumptuous, sensual...VELVET


The term “velvet” refers to the structure of the fabric, not the fiber, i.e. cotton or wool. It is typically woven (the knit version is referred to as velour). The fabric is characterised by its pile, or raised loops or tufts of yarn that cover its surface. This pile is very short and dense, helping to give it a soft shine that catches the light in a unique way.

There are many different kinds of velvet, each with a unique look. For example, crushed velvet involves twisting the fabric when wet in order to distort the pile; this gives it a more textured look that departs from the typically smooth surface it is known for. Another technique involves using chemicals to remove the pile from the surface of the fabric to reveal a pattern; this is referred to as devore. Velvet has historically been made from silk, but can be created from a variety of fibers, such as rayon. (

Plush, elegant, expensive, smooth, rich...VELVET

 There are several theories as to where velvet was first invented. Though it has a strong association with European nobility, it is most commonly believed to have originated from Eastern culture. Pieces of velvet featuring low, untrimmed piles have been found in China dating back to several old dynasties, including the Qin (circa 221-206 B.C.E.) and the Western Han (206 B.C.E.- 23 C. E.). Samples have also been found dating even further back, as far as 403 B.C.E during the Warring States. These fabrics were typically woven from silk, referred to in Chinese as quirong jin or rongquan jin. Iraq was also one of the first producers of velvet, as was Egypt. Cairo was a production hub of velvet for a time, with pieces that date back to 2000 B.C. The technique to create it was so complex and time-consuming that it was an extremely high-end luxury good, available only to royalty and the very rich. (

My first Op Shop purchase was an "old lady" black and red 
crepe dress when I was 13. I transformed it into a mini and 
tied a thick red velvet ribbon around the waist...

 ...and have been in love with velvet ever since...

Exotic, alluring, foreign, luxurious...VELVET

I feel as though I could leave "The Map" in Bello and fly to some faraway land - on a magic carpet, of course ...
Velvet transforms... I found this gorgeous blue velvet dress - beautifully hand made - in a little Op Shop in Bello a long time ago and paid about $2 for it. The head wrap is a silk scarf, a gift  from a friend after one of her adventures in India. Earrings a gift from J.B. a long time ago...

And if the magic carpet hasn't arrived, there's always a street sign...


Once Europeans caught sight of this beautiful Eastern textile, it was immediately entered into trade along the Silk Road. Italy was the first European country to create a velvet industry for itself, which yielded wild success to many Italian cities that were involved in the craft of velvet-making. From the 12th to 18th centuries, these areas were perhaps the largest velvet producers, and subsequently supplied the material to all of Europe. It was extremely popular with wealthy buyers, and used in many luxury items such as furniture, clothing, upholstery, curtains- even wallpaper.(

The writing's always richer when 

Pre-loved luxuriously soft velvet jacket is fully lined. Wooden toggles instead of buttons; my own purple crushed velvet leggings (I have several pairs, different colours, so quick and easy to make - and so useful during our mild winter); Western boots I've had and loved since the 1970's...

 Velvet drapes either side of my desk...

Earthy, historical, dramatic, romantic,

Taking a step back in time...

 I made this gorgeous skirt for a two woman production - "Risks" - with (the other) Liz (who appears in this post:  in 1997.
The blue vest was bought new some time before 1997...


I bought this wonderful white top a couple of weeks ago 
from The Tree Of Life. Perfect for wearing with vests. I haven't been able 
to find another long top for ages and then - I was trying to find the bank because my new card wasn't behaving - I came upon the newly opened shop! The top was exactly what I'd been looking for. A ten minute hike later I found the bank! Sometimes losing my way finds what I'm looking for... 
My Earth boots make me feel I'm about to meet Robin Hood...

...while I frolic in my garden...


The Renaissance was a high point for velvet production, particularly the intricately patterned velvets typically associated with the time. This golden age of Renaissance (
fabrics lasted from 1400-1600.  As mentioned, Italy was the leading producer, although Spain also had a velvet industry. Renaissance velvets were decadent pieces, often woven from silk and threads of precious metal such as gold and silver. Typical customers for this kind of luxury were the church, or wealthy families wishing for customized textiles, such as fabrics bearing their coat of arms.

Fast forward to the Industrial Revolution– velvet production became mechanized, easier and faster to produce. Therefore, the textile so deeply associated with ultimate luxury became cheaper and more widely available. This association stuck however, and it was still used in garments favored by the upper class to add glamour to an ensemble. During the 1920’s for example, evening gowns and shawls were frequently cut from velvet, often the devore version mentioned earlier. In fact, the technique was popularized during this era. These decadent patterned fabrics became synonymous with 1920’s fashion.
Velvet has gained a special place in the classic fashions of other decades as well. For example, it fit in perfectly with the glamorous vibe of the 1970’s. Additionally, the 1980’s and 90’s had a love affair with crushed velvet and devore, and both were frequently worn by pop culture icons of both decades.(

 My own love affair with velvet continues...

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  1. Velvet - always so beautiful and luxurious to wear. I so enjoyed your history of velvet and the history of your love affair with this beautiful fabric. So lovely in each special outfit .

  2. I adore velvet, it's one of the few good things about living in a cold climate!
    How fabulous is that blue dress? All your outfits are fab but that's my very favourite. xxx

  3. Yes, it's gorgeous isn't it? But I get to wear it so infrequently because of our warm climate (even in winter!!) So, as you say, there are velvet advantages living in England!! xx

  4. Wow, you really know your stuff about velvet don't you Elizabeth! I'm a big fan of velvet too - it's such a decadent fabric I think. I love your outfit with your new white shirt best of all - the shirt acts as the perfect contrast to the richness of the velvet.

    Happy writing x


  5. Thank you for dropping by, Anna - I'm trying for once a month posting!! And keeping up with my favourite bloggers too :) I'm not sure that I "really know my stuff about velvet" but I loved the research and answers that Wikipedia provided (a great history). However I DO know that I love to wear velvet!!! And I'm looking forward to working the new white top! It'll make quite a few appearances, I'm sure. Writing's happening, and as always, at the beginning of a new project, things are being tossed around and I'm happy to see where it all leads. Happy swimming and enjoying your summer islands. xx

  6. Your velvet's look so lovely, and more importantly, your love of wearing them shines through! Of course, I’m especially drawn to the blue with the gorgeous silk head wrap! Thank you for sharing with Hat Attack!

  7. Thank you Judith for your lovely comments. xx

  8. I am also a HUGE fan of velvet and have quite the collection of pieces in my wardrobe.

    Learning the history behind velvet was interesting.

    Love that you have the photo of you on stage in the same skirt!


  9. Thank you for dropping by, Suzanne, and for your beautiful comments. I seem to remember once you commented that I keep my clothes for a long time and the photo of me onstage in this skirt is another one! Why throw something out that I love, has such a great story and is still in great condition (with several waist elastic replacements over the years and many hemming repairs!)How fortunate are we that this fabulous fabric was invented. xx

    1. I agree...if you love something no need to get rid of it.