Learn all about the types of velvet. Velvet was originally a fabric worn by royalty and nobility. Since it was made from silk, it was expensive and generally not affordable for the average person. Today velvet is made with different blends of fabric and has become more affordable. It is still seen as a high-end fabric and used not only for clothing but for drapes and upholstery too.
Types of Velvet
Velvet is soft and plush. The smooth texture of velvet speaks of luxury and because it drapes well it makes soft cloaks and very regal, dramatic clothing. It is said that King Richard the second decreed he should be wrapped in velvet before he was buried.
Velvet is woven on a double loom. The rich pile of the velvet comes when the fabric is removed from the loom by cutting through the two sides and leaving the pile of soft fibres in between. There are different types of velvet made by different fiber blends, but velvet is still a very recognizable fabric with a unique texture made from the soft raised pile.
Velvet comes in a range of blends including silk, rayon and nylon. Man-made fiber blends create soft and inexpensive fabric. A microfibre velvet is a new velveteen using micro denier polyester. It is stain and water-resistant and makes casual wear as well as being useful for upholstery. The best quality velvet is made from silk with a high thread count.
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Crushed velvet fabric has a crumpled, crushed look created by twisting the fabric while it is still wet. Sometimes the crushed look is created by pressing the pile in a different direction. This type of velvet has an overly shiny appearance and texture suited to items that drape and flow.
The pile of this velvet is pushed in a different direction with heavy pressure. Panne is not a true velvet and is made from polyester. It is often stretchy and made from knitted fabric. Panne velvet is often used for costumes since it is inexpensive.
Heat stamps are used to press on the pile of the fabric and create a pattern pressed into the velvet. The embossing may be metallic or block colors and adds interest and individuality to the velvet.
For cisele velvet, a pattern is made by cutting into the pile and making different size loops. This means the fabric has flat sections and raised sections. This type of velvet is commonly used for upholstery on furniture and wall tapestries.
Made from cotton, this velvet does not have much stretch. It is a heavy weight of fabric and not generally not shiny. Because it is made from cotton it is not as slippery to sew and is a great choice for beginner sewers.
As the name suggests, plush velvet has a longer pile and is extra soft. Some suppliers of fabrics say this is not a real velvet because the pile is so long. However, it does make beautiful blankets.
Stretch velvet has spandex added to the weave and this addition makes the fabric more flexible and easy to work with especially for soft furnishings. Stretch velvet needs to be sewn with stretch needles and a stretch stitch or serger. Read more about sewing stretch fabric.
Pile on Pile Velvet
A pattern effect is created on this fabric as the pile of the velvet varies in length
Velveteen has a shorter pile of threads created from the horizontal weft threads. It is very soft and the pile is raised to about 3mm. It has less shine than regular velvet and tends to be heavier.
Velour is a blend of cotton and polyester knit. It is stretchy and popular for making sports wear and dance clothing.
The technique of ‘hammering’ the fabric creates a crushed and dappled texture and pattern to these types of velvet fabric.
Lyons velvet is a heavy, densely woven and stiff velvet. It is used for making hats, thick coats and velvet collars. Originally it was made from silk fibers in the city of Lyon in France.
This is a silk velvet that has been woven in several colors. The base fabric is a different color and the effect created is one of different colors shining through the fabric.
Ponson velvet is a very heavy and expensive velvet because it is made of silk. Ponson is used for making cloaks and very expensive dresses.
Originally from Utrecht in the Netherlands, this velvet is pressed and has a crimped texture.
Voided velvet has patches of fabric that are free of velvet pile. These pile free patches form a pattern.
Wedding Ring, Ring, Devore or Chiffon Velvet
All these names apply to a very soft velvet called ring velvet because it could pull through a wedding ring.
How to Care for Velvet
Due to velvet’s pile, care must be taken when washing in order to not damage this delicate fabric. Before you start always check the laundry symbols on the label.
Use a cool water with a gentle detergent suitable for washing velvet. Do not put the garment in the washing machine but rather soak for a short period of time then lay it flat to dry. Excess water may be removed by rolling the item in a towel. Do not squeeze or wring unless it is a crushed velvet where you want the marks to be retained. Never bleach velvet or use any harsh products.
Types of Velvet – In Conclusion
Velvet is really a wonderful fabric from its exclusive royal days to its modern use today. Velvet can be found with a sticky back for crafts or used as a collar detail. Cloaks, sportswear, soft furnishings and a very nostalgic favorite, the Velveteen Rabbit! This beautiful fabric has gained popularity as it has become affordable and more versatile. If you haven’t read the Velveteen Rabbit, read the story and see how velvet and a soft toy make a real impression and create childhood memories.