I'm a big fan of velvet (despite the tricky little thing it can be sew!) and have often pawed devoré's in fabric stores wishing I could think of a reason to use one. Working as a costume supervisor I've seen some absolutely stunning period gowns made up in devoré and can fully appreciate how effectively they can be used. It's sometimes known as a 'burn out' fabric because the designs are created by 'burning away' the pile of velvet in certain areas. Sometimes the pattern is in the raised pile (like the one I've used here) and sometimes the pattern is in the burnt out areas. The effect can sometimes be quite subtle when the base fabric is in the same colour as the pile or can be very distinct as it is here because the backing is lilac and the pile a soft mossy green. That effect can be heightened or reduced by what colour you choose to line your devoré with as the backing tends to be a sheer silk.
In the kit you get a choice of velvet, a choice of silk satin lining, a matching piece of silk habotai (china silk), wadding, the pattern, instructions and a personalised embroidered label. All for £25 plus postage! I did find it a little tricky to work out what colour satin lining would best match my velvet when looking at images on a computer screen by the staff at Fabrics for Sale gave me some great advice so I would recommend asking if you're stuck! I was absolutely delighted with the colour of my satin and habotai when the kit arrived as well as being generally impressed by the quality of the fabrics. I had thought that the habotai was included just as a backing for the sheer devorés so you didn't see wadding through but it actually serves a clever dual purpose and is included in all kits. Along with the wadding it works to trap in heat. Although you wouldn't think it about such a fine fabric the natural fibre of fine silk means it is a great heat retainer as well as being breathable.
The pattern is hand drawn onto dot and cross paper which I quite liked as it felt really personal and practical. I had envisioned it being a simple rectangular shape but the long edges are curved so the ends are wider and it can sit comfortably around your neck. Despite being a simple shape cutting out took me a fair bit of time as you need to cut it from four different fabrics, three of which are very slippery and tricky to handle! It's a real test of your shifty silk cutting skills as later on you have to lay those pieces out on top of each other to stitch around the edges and that brings you face to face with how out of shape things might have got! It's worth being careful with the cutting as if you simply pull edges to match up with each other you scarf won't lay flat when assembled.
I would have liked to have taken more care with the pattern placement of the devore so I could have had one of the motifs running down the centre but as (understandably) only just a little more than you need is provided in the kit I didn't have the choice. This bothered me when I was cutting but now it is made up it's not noticeable like I thought it might have been, certainly not when worn. I've actually just spotted that now when making your fabric selection there is a photo which shows how the scarf pattern would look laid out on that design which gives you a better idea of scale and layout but not necessarily the portion of the design that would be cut for you.
While the steps themselves are very straightforward, the fabric does provide it's own challenge! There's a lot of potential for drag lines and things to get twisted out of shape when working with these delicate fabrics. I used a lot of pins and took time at this stage to make sure that everything was lined up properly to help combat this. You don't want to pull one fabric tighter than another and end up with a weird baggy effect. I used a size 70 sharps needle and also employed my walking foot which made a huge difference as sewing all four layers together gets pretty thick. You're dealing with lots of different layers which all slide about at different speeds so I had a feeling I could use any help I could think of! Another tip I'd advise is to make sure your presser foot pressure isn't too high as you don't want to damage the pile of the velvet.