In this article I will cover:
- What is velvet made of and how is it made?
- Surface pile of velvet material
- Types of velvet fabric
- Cotton velvet
- Silk velvet
- Rayon/Nylon Velvet
- Velvet microfiber
- Stretch velvet
- Cut velvet
- Crinkle velvet / crushed velvet
- Panne Velvet
- Embossed Velvet
- Plush velvet
- Sticky back velvet fabric pieces
- Upholstery velvet
- Dutch velvet
- Italian velvet
- What can be made with velvet?
- Using velvet fabric
- Names of fabrics that are similar to velvet
What is velvet made of and how is it made?
Velvet is a medium-weight, soft fabric made of different types of fibers. The pile of fabric is made by interlacing a secondary yarn through woven cloth, creating a tufted layer on the surface.
One of the most characteristic qualities of velvet is its soft fuzzy pile (those perpendicular fibers on the surface of velvet). The pile makes velvet look smooth and with a rich texture, fit for the royals.
It can be made of natural fibers or synthetic fibers.
At one point, velvet was affordable only for the rich and aristocracy when it was only made in silk. But nowadays, since it is made using other manmade and synthetic fibers, velvet is affordable and can be used for anything and everything.
The ones with a synthetic base like rayon are inexpensive.
Surface pile of velvet material
The pile of velvet fabric results from a special type of weaving called pile weave. Velvet is basically a woven cloth, and it is woven as a double cloth – two pieces of fabric are woven together face to face with long threads; it is then cut in between these clothes with a sharp cutting tool which makes for a luxurious pile.
The pile is maintained at a height of less than half a centimeter throughout the surface, making the surface very smooth and shiny.
Types of velvet fabric
Velvet fabric is available in many types as well as grades. You get velvet in silk as well as synthetic bases.
This is a medium to lightweight velvet fabric without stretch; this fabric is great for making day wear, like jackets or jeans. It can also be used for upholstery. It is heavier and thicker than other types of velvet and has a matt look.
This is a very soft velvet with a great drape. It is very lightweight when compared to cotton velvet but very expensive.
This fabric has a nylon and rayon blend backing; it is very lightweight and drapey. This fabric is also inexpensive when compared to silk velvets.
This fabric is a new type of velvet and is made of 100% pure micro denier polyester fiber; It is actually a microfiber with velvet qualities. It is used to make casual wear and semi-formal dresses and for upholstering. It is stain and water-resistant and very easy to wash.
The stretch velvet is a blend of polyester and spandex (about 4%). A stretch velour/knit fabric with a velvet pile has a stretch of almost 50%. For fitting garments, this is good. As it is a blend, it is easy to care for – machine washable.
According to the fabric texture and other properties, velvet fabric can be found under the following names.
This fabric has a pattern cut out from around uncut loops of pile. Burntout velvet ( Devore) is this type.
It is a simply beautiful sheer fabric with velvet designs in floral and other patterns – It is actually regular velvet that has had patterns etched into the fabric. In this fabric, the velvet pile is cut away from some areas forming the patterns and leaving the sheer fabric in those areas.
Crinkle velvet / crushed velvet
This fabric, as the name suggests, has a crushed look – it is embossed with an irregular, crumpled texture. It has a great luster/ shimmer and visual texture, which make it a very attractive fabric to sew with.
You can make scarves or elegant evening wraps or blouses with this fabric. It is made by fabric being mechanically twisted while wet.
This is a type of crushed velvet with stretch. In this fabric, heavy pressure is applied to the pile in one direction. Sometimes you find the same pattern and feel in knit fabric, but that is not true velvet.
This is a cotton fabric with a pile similar to velvet. The pile is about 3mm high, making it luxurious and heavier than other varieties of velvet. They are great for making dress gowns.
This velvet fabric has stamped designs (usually floral ) all over it
This is velvet with a longer pile and has 100% polyester backing. It is heavier than other velvet fabric. Actually, some would say that plush is not velvet. The pile of plush is more than the regular length of the velvet pile, which is about .5 cm. The blankets made of this are machine washable and very soft.
Sticky back velvet fabric pieces
These are fabric pieces available for you to do craft. You can make jewelry and purses.
This is a rather heavy fabric with a polyester backing which is only suitable for upholstering.
Also called Holland velvet, this is usually used in making high-end upholstery. The material is a little like suede and very rich looking. It has a glossy feel which makes it look classy. It is also durable enough and resists natural wear and tear.
This is another home decor velvet with a longer pile than the dutch velvet.
What can be made with velvet?
There is no limit to what you can make with velvet. Jackets, pants, vests, blouses, bags, gloves, shoes, dresses, and whatnot. Velvet is available in many shades of vibrant and vivid colors. Velvet is increasingly being used in home decor as well for making upholstery coverings and curtains.
Check out the related post – 8 FAQ answered on sewing with Velvet.
Using velvet fabric
When you buy velvet, you should always check the washing instructions. Some velvet has to be dry cleaned only; some can be machine washed, and some hand washed.
If you have a nylon soft fabric brush, nothing like it to maintain velvet. Make sure the brush has very soft bristles. If you have piling or lint on the velvet cloth, you can brush the garment with this brush. Brush in the direction of the nap you like all over in the same direction.
Pressing and ironing are problems with velvet. The pile of fabric will be crushed if you iron as you do other fabrics. Use a thick terry towel on top of the velvet to press. The pile of the terry towel will fill the pile of velvet and this will ensure that the pile is not crushed. Always turn the fabric inside out if you have to iron directly.
Some special velvet boards which are great with pile (they have perpendicular wires to not crush pile) are available in the market- but those with no access to this – just keep calm and use steam.
A steam iron can ease out wrinkles fast from velvet fabric. Use steam lightly, though.
Another thing you should take care of when ironing velvet is to go in the direction of the pile.
When washing velvet, ensure that you are washing it alone. The shedding of velvet will make your other clothes ugly.
It is also better to avoid drying the velvet clothes in the washing machine dryer. Hang to dry, preferably flat, especially if it is heavy.
Store velvet fabric wrapped in Acid-free paper; Velvet clothes are better stored flat rather than hung, especially the stretchy kind.
Names of fabrics that are similar to velvet
Plush is very similar to velvet. Another similar fabric is Velour.