Velvet like silk is one of the ostentatious fabrics which is elegant and has always been associated with royalty. It feels soft on the skin, shiny yet not too bright and its rich look has dazzled royalties all over the world. Velvet was once worn only by the rich as it was very expensive. Velvet in the renaissance age was an economic phenomenon that made fortunes for cities like Florence and Lucca. It is associated with luxury and sophistication and is still very popular to this day. Velvet has been popular since the last 4000 years. It is not only known for its beauty but also for its warmth. Velvet is better suited fabric for colder climates such as European weather.
There are many theories on where Velvet originated from. But most people agree that it originated somewhere in the far east. Was carried along the legendary Silk route by Arabs to Europe. Velvet reached Italy and made fortunes for the cities of Lucca, Sicily, Florence as they had the largest production of velvet from the 12th - 18th century. They supplied to the rest of Europe. Velvet was used in everything rich, from hors carriages to furniture, clothes, upholstery, drapes and even wall coverings.
What are the different types of Velvet?
Traditionally velvet contains cotton or linen and silk pile. It can also be made up of other fibers like rayon acetate and synthetic silk like materials. Innovations and technological advances has made it possible to produce, cheaper and affordable synthetic velvets. Some of them are Velour which has the stretchy properties of spandex and the rich appearance and feel of velvet, Corduroy is a rigid form of velvet and Velveteen which is imitation velevet is made of cotton and actually drapes better then the real velvet . Generally all type of velvets are dyed in deep and dark shades with highlights to give the fabric a rich and royal look.
Velvet is a dense fabric of silk pile. It is woven as double cloth. It is made up of one set of filing thread and two sets of wrap threads. These two wrap threads are woven on two pieces of cloth at same time in a special looms. Blades cut into two pieces of cloth along the wrap. As the two pieces are separated they are rolled out separately. This is called pile cloth. The ends of threads in this pile cloth are sticking and forms a soft pile. Though initally it was made from silk which made it very expensive, it is produced now from other fabrics like rayon, cotton, polyester which has made it affordable.
Generally washing velvet is a difficult task. It cannot be washed like normal fabric. It has to be dry cleaned. If you get small stains,gently remove the stains with a damp cloth. Wet the cloth in warm water and rub on that stains gently. Don’t rub the cloth too hard as it may damage the cloth. Now dab the fabric until it is dry. Repeat the process until the stain are removed. If the stain is large it is better to get it dry cleaned.