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This IS possible but hard in the incarnation of the halo tab navigator.
Within a week I will be releasing that framework opensource (alpha) and it will allow you to easily do this since in Spark, your just creating custom layouts.
In Halo, the TabBar is like concrete, there is not a lot you can change about it's characteristics without rewritting the whole thing.
The reason you are getting the ... is that a TabBar is an HBox in disguise. I does have a modified alyout algorithm but is lays out children using the HBox algorithm.
Thanks, I was working in Flex SDK 3.5... I'm not sure I can rechange everything for Flex 4 (spark).
I look forward to your component
For Flex 3.x I am pretty sure there "might" be code out there somewhere for a Flow type layout in the TabBar.
I can remember seeing this, but off hand can't remember where I saw it.