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Journal

Handling & care of velvets

Velvet has a rich history and has been around for thousands of years. This opulent and luxurious fabric was once reserved for royalty however due to modern manufacturing methods, nowadays it is readily accessible for both traditional and contemporary interiors. The textural quality of velvet will add softness and warmth to any space however this luxurious fabric needs to be handled and treated with care.

Velvet is a cut warp pile fabric, in which cut fibrous ends of the yarn form the surface of the fabric. Velvet can be made from a wide variety of fibres ranging from natural compositions such as silk or cotton, through to complex synthetic blends. The fibre is woven on a special loom weaving two pieces of velvet at the same time. The two pieces are then sliced apart and the two lengths of fabric are wound on separate take-up rolls.

In this article, we look at recommendations, tricks and tips for the handling and care of velvets.

Chair and cushions in Velluti by James Dunlop.

Chair and cushions in Velluti by James Dunlop.

UPHOLSTERY RECOMMENDATIONS

It is imperative to ensure that the velvet you have specified is suitable for upholstery use.

Apply correct techniques including seaming the cut edges and folding twice before nailing or stapling the velvet to prevent the fabric from unnecessary rupture and tearing.

We recommend that you do not apply velvet directly onto foam fillings, but rather use an interliner even if the velvet has been back coated. The fabric will last longer and pile-loss will be reduced.

It is recommended when using velvet for upholstery that the pile faces down.

Sofa in Chateau by James Dunlop.

Sofa in Chateau by James Dunlop.

CURTAIN MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS

When ordering velvet for curtains it is important that the required cuts are advised so that any irregularities can be allowed for.

When making velvet curtains it is recommended to run the pile facing up, as aesthetically this will give you a deeper and more intense colour and functionally, any pile disturbance will disappear quickly as the pile relaxes.

Velvet curtains should be lined to protect them against direct ultra violet light exposure, thus reducing pile loss, colour fading and fibre degradation. Lining will enhance the draping and general appearance of your curtains.

We recommend to always use a pull cord or rod to open and close your velvet curtains as hand contact will likely bruise and crush the texture of the pile.

After hanging velvet curtains it is recommended that they be drawn across, allowing the pile to breathe and relax. The pile will continue to relax and improve over time due to surrounding atmospheric conditions.

Velvet will breathe and relax in different ways depending on the environment/climate it lives in. For example, in high humidity environments the velvet will relax well on its own. However, in a dry climate, velvet often needs assistance to settle correctly. In this situation, velvet can be sprayed with a fine water mist to lightly dampen the fabric. It needs to be left to dry without being touched during the drying period. After drying, most creases and marks will have dropped out and the pile will have lifted.

Note: We recommend that this technique is performed by professional curtain installers and not by the designer or homeowner as if it is not done correctly, the velvet may be permanently marked.

Velvet drapes in Les 110 de Taillevent, London are selected to match the same green hue as vintage Pétrus bottles with interior design by Pierre-Yves Rochon. Image found from article on Wallpaper*. 

Velvet drapes in Les 110 de Taillevent, London are selected to match the same green hue as vintage Pétrus bottles with interior design by Pierre-Yves Rochon. Image found from article on Wallpaper*

COTTON VELVET

Cotton Velvet is a natural product and being a pile fabric it will always bruise or flatten. If you run your hand over the velvet, the pile will move, press on it and it will leave a mark, brush in the right direction and it will return to its natural state. If the pile does flatten the angle of the pile alters which results in areas of the pile appearing lighter or darker in shade. This can easily be mistaken for uneven dyeing or shading but is in fact an inherent characteristic of velvet/pile fabrics.

During transit, velvet will always endure some marking. This does not render the velvet unusable as the fabric can be corrected by rubbing or brushing once it has been made up as drapery or upholstery.

Chair in Vintage and drapery in Couture by Mokum.

Chair in Vintage and drapery in Couture by Mokum.

DELIVERY

We dispatch velvet in suspended cartons for larger rolls and smaller orders are protected by corrugated cardboard and plastic wrap for transportation. Despite this, bruising may occur if the roll is dropped or other heavy items placed on top. If this does occur it is recommended that the fabric be unrolled and laid on a table flat and left for several days. This procedure will allow the pile to ‘breathe’ and recover naturally. Any severe bruising can be removed by gentle steaming on the reverse side of the fabric.

Before cutting velvet, it is a sound practice to unroll the fabric at the end of the working day and allow relaxing overnight before cutting.

 

STORAGE

Rolls of velvet should always be stored in a horizontal hanging position, either in a shelving system designed to suspend rolls or in the original box, suspended. Velvet must not be stored vertically as this will cause creases that are difficult to remove.

 

ROLLING

Velvet should always be rolled with the pile surface on the inside. Ensure velvet is rolled tightly against the pile to ensure the pile is not flattened during storage or transport.

 

CLEANING

Dry cleaning is the preferred method for virtually all velvets although some Trevira velvets can be machine washed gently at 30º C. The best way to dry velvets after washing is a natural drying process rather than tumble drying.

Left: Chair in Alpaca Velvet by Mokum. Right: Chair and cushions in Rockefeller by James Dunlop.

Left: Chair in Alpaca Velvet by Mokum. Right: Chair and cushions in Rockefeller by James Dunlop.

Our Velvets

We love velvet! Below is a selection of some of our favourites.

To learn more about our velvets and their care you can visit one of our trade showrooms or contact your Account Manager.

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