What is velvet?
Velvet is a distinctive soft pile fabric that has been woven since at least the Middle Ages. The term ‘velvet’ actually refers to the weave, and not the content of the material: ‘velvet’ can in fact be made from any fibre. However, traditionally it was always made from silk. In modern times however, cotton and synthetics are most commonly used in its manufacture.
Velvet is woven as a double cloth on a specialised loom. The pile yarns are made with an extra set of warp yarns. They are firmly ground into the structure of a ground or base fabric, made with a different set of yarns, which holds them in position. The cut ends of the pile form tufts on the surface of the fabric. They are so closely set together that they form a very soft, plush surface texture across the entire face of the fabric. After cutting, velvet is sheared to ensure an even length all over the fabric’s surface, and then dyed. All types of velvet can be effectively dyed with deep, rich colours – but it also takes very well to softer, more pastel colours too.
Crushed velvet is produced by twisting the fabric whilst it is wet. Different designs in the fabric can be created by weaving in multiple threads of different colours. Velvet is then usually brushed while it is still moist so that it sets with a grain. This is what produces its characteristic feel.
Velvet has numerous uses including in the manufacture of home furnishings and upholstery. The fabric also pairs wonderfully with other textural fabrics. Mohair blankets and cushions, as well as cashmere blankets and throws work excellently with this opulent fibre.
Properties and qualities
Velvet is a heavy durable fabric with a strong sheen. Its characteristics depend on the type of material that has been used to manufacture the velvet. Silk velvet has a soft drape and shimmering surface, whilst synthetic velvets such as those made from rayon and acetate have a strong sheen but do not tend to drape as well.
At URBANARA, our velvet collections are made using cotton velvet (also known as velveteen), as is the strongest and most durable type of velvet. It is also a natural fibre, and therefore healthier to have around the home.
How does it feel?
Velvet is very soft and textural to the touch.
Velvet can be cleaned by brushing off any dust with a soft bristled hair brush. If it is stained, then mix a small amount of warm water and a few drops of dishwashing detergent together in a bowl. Cover the bowl and shake the mixture to create suds. Using a soft cloth, apply the suds to the stain and dab lightly until the stain is lifted. For best results, refer to the care instructions on your velvet product.