Using velvet fabrics conjures up a feeling of opulence and extravagance, as these fabrics feel soft and luxuriant meaning to be kept for or wore at very special occasions.
This was rightly so as years ago velvet was made from silk which is expensive in itself. With the development of sewing fabrics and the technology for synthetic fabrics now velvet can be made from cotton, cotton with blends such as rayon or purely synthetics. Each having its own qualities.
This is a woven fabric, that is where there is a warp (lengthwise) thread and a weft (sideways) thread and it has a short compact raised surface or pile.
Cotton has no raised pile for comparison and this thick feel is due to extra lengthwise threads that have been woven into the base of the fabric. These extra threads gives a deep and straight pile that is one of the qualities of this fabric.
The deep pile surface can also be referred to as a nap, when touching the fabric surface one way it will feel silky and smooth so that way is in the direction of or "with" the nap when touching the surface in the opposite way it will feel rougher and this is called "against" the nap.
The way this nap falls can affect the light reflecting off the material so when cutting out patterns on the fabric the pile or nap should be running in the same direction. The pattern pieces should be pinned onto the back of the fabric. Care should be taken when sewing with velvet and ironing should be done hardly at all as this could damage the surface. Ironing using a spare piece of velvet on the top of the seam will help.
This fabric takes dyes very well and it is usually coloured similar to jewels to reflect the richness of it. Emerald greens, Ruby reds and sapphire blues.
These have a firmer touch and feel and are good in making items of clothing. It is quite durable and can be sewn and ironed like velveteen.
Velveteen -Is another type of cotton velvet either 100% cotton or a cotton and synthetic blend. It is not as delicate as velvet so ironing and sewing. It can be used as a velvet replacement when a luxurious look is needed.
Velveteen is also similar to corduroy fabrics but the pile is shorter and thicker.
Again the pattern pieces have to lay all in the same direction to avoid colour shade altering.
These are made using synthetic fabrics such as rayon, acetate or some silk blends. They feel softer than the cotton velvets and they also have a shiny surface so must be handled with care or this may get damaged.
Such a craze in the 1970's this can also known as Panne Velvet. During the manufacturing process of this fabric pressure was applied to the surface so its nape or pile is permanently flattened.
This also gives this material its very shiny look which is one of its features. This fabric is usually made from polyester and feels really soft. It stretches slightly due to the fact that this is a type of knitted fabric not woven.
Great for adding texture and interest to items.
This fabric feel very similar to velvets but is a type of knitted fabric. It is usually made from cotton but is also made from polyester and has many uses in making clothes and other items. One of its original uses was as curtains so it is great for that and cushions.
The way this fabric is handled will depend on what type of fibres it is made from. Delicate silk velvets require special handling compared to the tougher cotton or versatile synthetic ones.
Many shopping outlets have good fabric choices such as Minerva Crafts and I have included an amazon search box to help with your choice.
Enjoy choosing your velvet fabrics
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