What is special about velvet?

Velvet has been prized for decades for its luxurious feel and stunning beauty. From its ancient origins to its use in modern fashion and décor, velvet has always been a popular choice for anyone seeking elegance and sophistication. But what makes velvet so special? This article will explain the characteristic features of velvet, including its soft feel, brilliant color, and the way the fabric catches and reflects light. As we go further into its history, we will also look at the past and present attractiveness of this renowned fabric. If you enjoy fashion, are fascinated by history, or are simply curious about velvet’s appeal, then this article is for you.

What is velvet?

A thick pile of uniformly cut fibers with a smooth nap defines the soft, opulent fabric known as velvet. Due to the qualities of the short pile fibers, velvet has an exquisite drape and a distinctively soft and lustrous look.

Since velvet was originally composed of silk, it is frequently used for gowns for formal events and evening wear. Velvet may also be made from cotton, linen, wool, mohair, and synthetic fibers, making it less costly and suitable for everyday clothing. Velvet frequently appears in interior design as upholstery material, curtains, pillows, and other items.

Origins of Velvet

Because the first velvets were made of silk, only those from the royal and noble classes could afford them. The fabric was initially used in Baghdad around 750 A.D., but gradually manufacturing moved to the Mediterranean region, and the cloth was sold throughout Europe.

During the Renaissance, new loom technology reduced the cost of manufacture. Italy’s Florence rose to prominence as the world’s leading producer of velvet during this time.

Velvet today

Velvet manufacture became significantly more affordable with the invention of machine looms, and the marvels of velvet were finally accessible to those on the lowest social strata thanks to the creation of synthetic textiles that resemble silk in some ways. Velvet is still regarded as a material for curtains, blankets, stuffed animals, and a variety of other things that are intended to be as soft and cuddly as possible, even if modern velvet may not be as pure or unique as velvet from the past.

Construction and composition

A unique loom is used to weave velvet, allowing for the simultaneous weaving of two different material thicknesses. The two lengths of cloth are then coiled on separate take-up rollers after being cut apart to create the pile look. Before the development of industrial power looms, velvet was difficult to produce affordably, and well-made velvet is still a pricey fabric. Because of its pile, velvet is difficult to clean, however, contemporary dry-cleaning techniques make cleaning more practical. Warp or vertical yarns produce a velvet pile, whereas weft or fill yarns produce a velveteen pile.

Several various types of fibers may be used to make velvet, with silk historically being the most expensive. Velvet which is composed of silk is rare and typically sells for several hundred US dollars per yard on the market. However, the majority of velvet that is offered today as “silk velvet” is a blend of rayon and silk. Velvet can also be made from cotton, although the fabric is often less opulent. Wool, mohair, and linen are among other materials that may be used to make velvet. The term “Kuba velvet” is frequently used to describe a fabric manufactured from the raffia palm by the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In more recent times, synthetic velvets have been created, mostly from polyester, nylon, viscose, and acetate, as well as from combinations of other synthetic materials or synthetics and natural fibers (for instance, viscose coupled with silk creates a particularly soft, reflecting fabric). To give the finished product some, stretch (thus the name “stretch velvet”), a little quantity of spandex is occasionally added.

Different types of velvet

Velvet may be woven from a wide range of materials using a wide range of techniques, leading to the existence of several distinct varieties of velvet fabrics.

  1. Crushed velvet. Crushed velvet, as the name implies, has a “crushed” appearance that is created by twisting the material while wet or by pressing the pile in various directions. Shiny and patterned in appearance, the substance has a distinctive feel.
  2. Panne velvet. Panne velvet is a variety of crushed velvet in which the cloth is subjected to intense pressure to move the pile in one direction. A similar pattern may be seen in knit textiles like velour, which is not actually velvet and is often composed of polyester.
  3. Embossed velvet. A heat stamp is used to apply pressure to velvet, pressing down the piles to produce a pattern and producing embossed velvet, a printed fabric. Embossed velvet is widely used in upholstery velvet, which is used in home design and decoration.
  4. Ciselé. To create this specific design in the velvet, certain looped threads are clipped and some are left uncut.
  5. Plain velvet. Cotton velvet is most often plain velvet. It lacks the gloss of velvet derived from silk or synthetic fibers and is heavy with little give.
  6. Stretch velvet. Spandex is woven into stretch velvet, enhancing the fabric’s stretchability and flexibility.
  7. Pile-on-pile velvet. This particular velvet has piles that are different lengths and makes a pattern. This sort of velvet is typically found in upholstery fabric.
  8. Chiffon velvet. This ultra-sheer kind of velvet, often known as transparent velvet, is frequently used in formal clothing and evening attire.
  9. Hammered velvet. This sort of velvet, which is among the most glossy, has been strongly pressed or shattered rather than crushed. The result is a textile with specks that resembles the soft, velvety coat of an animal.
  10. Lyons velvet. This variety of velvet is substantially denser than other types of material, creating a stiff textile that is perfect for a variety of uses in outerwear. Lyons velvet is regarded as one of the most opulent outerwear fabrics in existence and is used for anything from jackets to caps.
  11. Utrecht velvet. Although this kind of crimped velvet has generally fallen out of favor, it is occasionally still employed in gowns and other formal attire.
  12. Voided velvet. This particular velvet has designs created from both pile- and non-pile-containing parts. This kind of velvet may be manufactured in a wide variety of forms and patterns, making it comparable to embossed velvet.
  13. Ring velvet. When velvet was first invented, it could only be referred to as “ring velvet” if it could be pulled through a wedding band. In essence, ring velvet is as delicate and light as chiffon.

How velvet fabric is used

Velvet’s softness, which is its most prized quality, makes it the material of choice for fabrics that are worn close to the skin. Velvet is frequently utilized in home design in items like drapes and toss cushions because it has a particular aesthetic charm. Velvet offers a multi-sensory home design experience as it feels as nice as it looks, unlike some other pieces of interior décor.

Velvet is sometimes used in beds because of how velvety the fabric is. This material is frequently utilized, in particular, in the insulating blankets used in between sheets and duvets. Velvet is significantly more common in womenswear than in males, and it’s frequently utilized to highlight female contours and design exquisite evening apparel. Velvet is a common material for glove linings and is used to construct certain stiff velvet hats.

Cost of velvet fabric

Synthetic-material velvet is often relatively affordable. Full-silk velvet, however, may cost hundreds of dollars per yard due to the labor-intensive nature of its production. A quality velvet fabric will always be more expensive than one that was produced at a lower cost utilizing synthetic fibers.

What is the effect of velvet on the environment?

It is legally incorrect to claim that the idea of the velvet has any environmental impact because “velvet” really refers to the weave of fabric rather than the material itself. Thoughtful consideration should be given to the various velvet-making materials’ differing degrees of environmental effect.

Velvet vs Velour vs Velveteen

Velvet, velour, and velveteen are all recognized for their suppleness and drape. However, their composition and weaving techniques are the key areas of difference. The most costly and best-quality of these three materials is velvet.


Velour is more stretchy since it is constructed of cotton and polyester. The mixture occasionally includes Spandex as well. Nevertheless, velour is mostly used for activewear, especially for dance and athletics, even if fabric resembles velvet. Leotards and tracksuits are also made of this material. Velour features a medium pile compared to velvet’s high pile, a semi-shiny gloss, and a pliable drape.


Velveteen is often thicker and less glossy. To touch, it feels softer and smoother. Velveteen is firmer and has a shorter weight pile than the other two fabrics. It also often has a lesser drape because of this. This fabric is excellent for use in upholstery. While it resembles velvet, it also has corduroy in common. Since cotton and wool are combined to make velveteen, it often does not stretch.

Maintaining velvet

To preserve cotton velvets effectively, extra care may be needed.

Does velvet wrinkle?

Velvet does not typically get wrinkled. Any creases that attempt to develop in clothing will be resisted by the pile of fabric. Any necessary ironing must be done on the fabric’s back, across from the pile. The appearance of the pile, which is what gives the cloth its distinctive look, can be negatively impacted by ironing.

Is velvet easy to clean?

The majority of velvet fabric is utilized in specialized applications, such as curtains, fitted gowns, or jackets. Most likely, these goods will require dry cleaning or special handling. It may be possible to care for some informal applications of velvet in-home laundry, but make sure to read the care label for details.


In conclusion, velvet has long been appreciated as a unique and sumptuous material. Its smooth and velvety texture, rich color, and shine are commonly used in high-end clothing, furniture, and home décor. Numerous cultures across the world have utilized velvet for a very long time. If you want to add a touch of elegance to your wardrobe or house, velvet is a distinctive fabric that will never go out of style.