The Ever-recurrent Vogue for Velvet - Why Velvet Gowns are Economical - A Rest-gown in Velvet - Principles on which to Model a Tea-gown - Evening Gowns and Coats in Velvet

From time to time in the history of fashion there comes a vogue for velvet. Dressmakers and milliners suddenly seem to realise its many good qualities, and their clients naturally follow suit. After enjoying a short period of popularity, velvet has generally gone out of favour again, and has been used only for the making of children's party-frocks or suits for wedding pages. Of late years, however, the manufacturers both of silk velvet and of velveteen have brought their fabrics to such a state of perfection that it seems more than probable that in the future they will be allowed to take their places among those materials which, like silk, satin, serge, and tweed, are worn always, and as a matter of course, by every well-dressed woman. It is chiefly as a fabric for the making of gowns intended for home wear that velvet is most appropriate, and it must be understood, of course, that the simple gowns which I am about to describe can be carried out quite as successfully in good velveteen as in velvet. They will bear no date, chiefly on account of their simplicity of style, and for that reason they will appeal to those who have to consider ways and means, and who are glad not to be obliged to dis-card their gowns altogether at the end of each season.

Velvet for Home Wear

For all the colder months of the year velvet gowns are delightfully cosy and comfortable for home wear, pleasant to put on as rest-gowns when one comes home tired after a long day's shopping, and always becoming, more especially when they are chosen in warm autumnal tints of crimson, brown, and gold. These colours gain an added depth and richness from the silken texture of the velvet, and the cheerful gleams of the firelight often reveal an unsuspected and fascinating brightness in the folds and draperies of a velvet gown.

A velvet rest gown, with soft front of crepe de chine and embroidery

A velvet rest-gown, with soft front of crepe-de-chine and embroidery

As regards the way in which a velvet rest-gown should be made, it is as well to choose a style which will allow of the arrangement of a soft front of silk or crepe-de-chine. This should be left to hang in full folds from throat to feet, so that the wearer may be absolutely comfortable in the gown, while at the same time enjoying the happy consciousness that she is looking her best. The fulness of the front should be held in by a satin ribbon sash, and the neck cut square to show a chemisette of net and lace.

For home wear, too, the princess form of dress is very suitable, adorned with self - coloured embroideries and cut with a round de-colletage, so that it can be worn over a complete blouse or under-b o d i c e made either in soft silk or crepe-de-chine matching exactly the colour of the velvet, or in ecru net with lace insertions. Both these gowns should be arranged with fairly long trains, a luxury always permissible where gowns for home wear are concerned.

The princess form of dress is very suitable for velvet, with under bodice of silk or figured net

The princess form of dress is very suitable for velvet, with under-bodice of silk or figured net

Picturesque Tea-gowns

In the choice of a velvet tea-gown there is no limit as to style or period, provided only that there is a general elegance of outline and a due sense of proportion in the design. Classical models are sometimes adapted most successfully to modern needs, but when anything elaborate is chosen in the way of drapery great care must be taken to select a chiffon velvet of specially soft, fi n e quality, or the effect may be somewhat clumsy.

Given the right kind of velvet, a graceful tea-gown may be arranged with draperies which hang in soft folds back and front, held in place by jewelled clasps upon the shoulders. A chemisette and long sleeves of swathed chiffon to match would look well with a gown of this kind, and there should be a close-fitting under-robe of the same velvet drawn in at the waist under a jewelled belt.

A dinner gown of velvet is always effective, trimmed with real lace, and cut with a long, flowing train

A dinner-gown of velvet is always effective, trimmed with real lace, and cut with a long, flowing train

Tea-gowns that are mediaeval in their inspiration also look well in velvet, cut on severely simple lines with a dalmatic overdress, outlined either with embroideries or a band of fur, and held in at the waist by a knotted girdle of silk cord.

Evening Gowns and Coats

There is a pleasant dignity about a velvet dinner-gown which adds not a little to its charm, and a gown of this kind, chosen in a becoming colour and arranged in a simple style, should find a place in every woman's wardrobe. The bodice should be draped with fichu folds and trimmed with a little lace, real if possible, while the long, flowing skirt should be edged with fur, mink or sable for choice. A touch of the same fur should find place on the bodice.

Evening coats in velvet, lined with soft silk or satin, can be worn all the year round, and a semi-fitting wrap of this description, carried out in a three-quarter length and with fairly wide sleeves, can be made to change its appearance seasonably during the winter months by the addition of a large roll collar, gauntlet cuffs, and a flounce of fur.

These furs should be arranged in such a way that they can be easily removed and left during the summer in the hands of some responsible furrier, in whose cold storage they can peacefully remain until the winter season makes them once more appropriate.

On a coat in emerald green velvet, sable, mink, or skunk will look equally well, while for the adorning of a sapphire blue velvet wrap chinchilla may be used by those who can afford such luxury, or, failing that exquisitely soft grey fur, good effects can be arrived at by using moleskin or even seal-dyed coney, combined with velvet in any brilliant shade.

Velvet Coats and Skirts

For tailor-made coats and skirts, black chiffon velvet may be very advantageously employed, and is always considerably smarter in appearance than the more ordinary cloth, serge, or tweed. It is well to remember, however, that the skirts of costumes which are intended for walking should be short enough to clear the ground comfortably, and that they should have any trimming which may be chosen for their adornment placed an inch or two above the actual hem, so that it may not be easily rubbed or frayed out.

Very broad black silk braid, woven with a matelasse effect, makes a most appropriate trim-ming for black velvet coats and skirts. Two rows of this broad braid, running horizontally, would look well on the skirt, and would not bear their date; while in the case of the coat, which should be of three-quarter length, the same kind of braid might be used to outline the hem, and also to form collar, revers, and cuffs.

Children's Dresses

As a fabric for children's party frocks and for Sunday best, during the colder months of the year, velvet is very suitable. It may be chosen in any bright colour that suits the small wearer, and should be as simple in style as possible.

An evening coat of velvet can be worn all the year round, the addition of fur adding necessary warmth in winter

An evening coat of velvet can be worn all the year round, the addition of fur adding necessary warmth in winter