What is it about velvet?

Dianne here….although my pix are not the best, I want to tell you about some Christmas mats and baskets I have been braiding….using velvet.

Several years ago, I emailed Christine about my starting to dabble in velvet.  She wrote back, that sounds great, but isn’t velvet kind of fussy? What a wise woman and I have chuckled and grimaced to myself a number of times since then, when the sewing machine slips, when I am vacuuming all the fuzz, etc. Undaunted, I began my love affair with velvet,both in braiding and in hooking. And in dyeing….that is still a work in progress.

I am going to teach a 2 day private ‘braiding around hooking’ class this week in Southern CA and the student asked me to make her a Christmas mat after seeing this mat I made017c2e08416166c21c94354bf0ee0b217576aa427e for a friend out of a luscious orange stretch velvet dress. I told the dress’ owner that if it didn’t fit me, would she be ok with it being braided! 


P1010180I won’t bore you with old pix of velvet pieces (unless you ask :)) but here is what I started with, actually two weights of non-stretch velvet (rayon backing) and two wool plaids: 

The first mat began with all red plaid and I thought I would add velvet later on; my idea was to make spokes as in a flower rug and add rounds to create an open, lacy look. My advice, count your loops more carefully than I did; as you can see the spokes are not identical.P1010184 I experimented with velvet at various times as the ‘wheel’ grew but I did not like the contrast of the flat matte look of the plaid with the shimmering velvet.  However when done, the wheel really looked flat so I added a ‘back and forth’ triple picot edge. As we describe in our book, if 01ab5e6d01714e2a9ed2017502e58de5bd842b5c2dyou position the contrasting (plaid here) fabric first on the enclosed end pin, it gives the impression of a ribbon woven between the triple corners (green velvet). I especially like this green velvet; it is very plush with a nice drape; for velvet pretty easy to work with.
Here it is ready to butt. Not my favorite of the mats but it will do and I think the velvet jazzed it up.

The second mat is all velvet with just 2 rows of Christmas plaid; continuous center and butted from the green row outward. The butting technique gives you the ability to completely change from row to row. The last row is the same back and forth triple picot. Nice mat but an error in the last row which I do not have time to fix 😦P1010181

The last mat uses the thicker wool plaid 01a037426f08e77f5be47d307dca9b644782d95f53with velvet; again the center is continuous and butted from the red rows outward ending with a picot row. 

These mats were braided with non-stretch velvet which tears easily, although you can also braid with stretch velvet.  I love the drape and feel of the velvet when braiding and the shimmery look when finished.

I also like to hook with velvet. In hooking I use stretch velvet because it doesn’t fray; it is cut with a rotary cutter and healing mat. I haven’t hooked anything for the holidays this year but here are a couple of examples of all velvet or part velvet pieces. The stretchiness is a nice contrast to wool.

We would love to hear your experiences in velvet and especially any questions you might have for us…..


sorry, stand on your head.


adapted from a McGowan pattern


Molly McCune pattern; windows and braid have the orange dress velvet


original design

4 thoughts on “What is it about velvet?

  1. Diane , love the table top mat with the orange velvet. It reminds me of a Brioche Ring. A nice holiday bread, all shinny and delicious.

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