One of fashion’s winter favorites is velvet, especially crushed velvets and velvet garments with decorative trim. You will find many types of apparel made from velvet, including pants, dresses, gowns, coats, capes, and jackets. Velvet is also popular for household items, such as furniture covers and drapes.

What is Velvet?

Velvet has long been known as the fabric of royalty. At one time, blue velvet was reserved solely for use by the French king, his family, and favored subjects.

Velvets are made on a double action loom. Two layers of fabric are woven at the same time, and the space between them is interlaced with connecting yarns.

The two layers are then cut apart as they come off the loom, producing two pieces of fabric with an upright pile surface.

True velvet is usually made of rayon, acetate, silk, or a blend of these fibers and has a short, closely-woven pile. Velveteen is similar to velvet, but it is usually made of cotton or cotton/polyester blend and has a shorter projecting surface or pile. Finishes are often applied to velvets to keep the pile erect and resilient, to secure the pile, or to give the fabric body.

Potential Velvet Problems

Velvet can experience a variety of problems, including a loss of pile, flattening and matting, pilling and tufting, and shrinkage. Crushed velvets have a tendency to experience a loss of design and distortion from wear alone. Velvets made of acetate pose special problems, in that the pile can become permanently flattened with moisture, heat, or pressure. As a result, the pile on an acetate velvet dress is more likely show the effects of wear This also makes it difficult for cleaners to remove stains from acetate velvet garments, as the moisture from the stain removal procedures used to remove the stains can flatten the velvet. Even greater flattening develops if the velvet is brushed or if any pressure is put on it while wet.

How to Keep Your Velvets Fit for Royalty

  • Hang velvet garments in a well-ventilated closet after wearing.
  • If a velvet garment gets wet, do not apply pressure, as this can flatten the pile.
  • Do not press velvets. Hang instead in the bathroom and steam the garment to remove any wrinkles.
  • Clean velvet garments immediately after use.
  • Shake excess spills from the fabric and allow to dry. Do not blot apply any pressure in damp areas.
  • \Have all stains treated by a professional cleaner.
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