Fencing Tabard Fabrics

Do you have questions about what fabrics to purchase for your fencing tabard? You'll find your answers here.
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Are you a swordsman, or close to becoming one? Are you ready to make your tabard? If you haven’t already, please begin by reading the article “I want a tabard! Now, what?” Then return to this page for help in hunting down the fabrics you need.

Traditionally, the tabards have been made with a black Velveteen found at Joann craft stores. Unfortunately, the price is high and the fabric has proven elusive in recent years. To help open up options, the Company of Broderers has been researching new fabrics that will be close enough to the original that we can maintain uniformity. Through these efforts, we’re pleased to say we now have a wider range of options with varying cost/quality to suit your personal needs.

Exterior Fabric

The exterior of the tabard should typically be solid black and velvety. However, you probably don’t want to go to the store and buy just straight velvet. It’s pretty expensive, but also velvet is a “crushable” fabric. If you purchase the wrong kind it can be extra tricky to sew, and one shot from your sword could damage the appearance. To help you out, we have four options we can recommend. Each has its own pros and cons, so you can make the best choice for you. If you would like to see these fabrics in person before you purchase one, contact the head of Company of Broderers. We have a booklet of samples and you can click on each of the fabric names to see their listings online.

Hudson 43 Velvet

Available at Joann fabric stores or on their website, this is a home decor velvet. The original price is $24.99/yd, but if you watch for sales and/or coupons, you can purchase it for closer to $15-$17/yd. It is a heavier fabric, so it is best paired with a lighter lining.

Pros: sturdy, easy to sew, long lasting, machine washable
Cons: expensive without coupons, heavier

Robert Kaufman Lush Velveteen 0416181

Available on Amazon, this is the only velveteen we were able to track down. The price fluctuates depending on the day, but ranges between $15-$17/yd. It has a feel similar to suede, but is of medium weight and could be used with any lining.

Pros: sturdy, easy to sew, machine washable
Cons: tendancy to wrinkle, frays easily

Alphine Upholstery Velvet

Available on fabric.com, this is the cheapest option we could find that still maintains the desired general uniformity of the tabards. It is typically $7-$8/yd and is also of medium weight, so it can be paired with a variety of linings.

Pros: affordable, shinier, easy to sew
Cons: dry clean only (supposedly), cheaper quality

Fairvel Black Micro Velvet

Available on onlinefabricstore.net, this is the most expensive velvet of the four we’ve listed. It is $24.60/yd and very lightweight. It should ONLY be used for dress tabards and is not recommended for fighting.

Pros: machine washable, silky drape, formal
Cons: difficult to sew, expensive, cannot be stabbed

Interior Fabric

Traditionally, bridal satin has been used as the interior lining in the majority of tabards. Each swordsman has selected a color (or colors) for their persona and then personalized their tabard’s interior to match. To see what previous swordsmen have done, check out this list.

Satins

If you’d like to stick with the timeless satins, Joann fabrics is a reliable and affordable place to find them in person. However, we’ve recently discovered onlinefabricstore.net to have a larger supply of colors/types, and they appear to be more affordable as well! Be sure to check it out.

Other options

There is no hard and fast rule that satin must be used as your tabard lining. Feel free to get creative with the interior fabric and personalize it to fit you. Just be sure the exterior maintains the uniformity and respects the formality of what the tabard stands for. For questions regarding this, please reach out to the Captain or a Master Swordsman.

Final Thoughts

A word on ordering fabric: it’s always best when making apparel to try to get your full yardages in one continuous piece. This ensures you’ll have room for all of your pattern pieces. Sometimes you can buy “remnants” (pieces smaller than what you asked for) because they need to finish off an old bolt of fabric before starting a new one. Be cautious of this, especially when ordering online. Double-check all the details to ensure that you can get your order in one continuous piece.

Take your time as you plan out your tabard. Remember what it stands for, and be thinking about what the rose on the front will represent for you.

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