Velvet has long been known as a luxurious fabric and has been produced since the Middle Ages for Drapery and Upholstery. Even now, when you think of velvet you immediately think tactile, opulent, timeless and classic. This is because velvet has long been associated with nobility because it was expensive, thanks mostly due to the high cost of production.
The velvet trend has been back in for a while, and it’s here to stay. These incredible fabrics have a luxurious texture and sumptuous style and you can’t deny that it makes any interior feel absolutely divine. There have been incredible advancements which make the options almost limitless with this timeless fabric.
Let’s take a deeper look into it, and how to use it elegantly in your home.
All velvets are distinguished by their raised pile that can be cut or uncut. There are fascinating techniques for weaving velvet. The most common are:
Face to Face Weaving
Where two fabrics are woven joined together face to face by a thick pile yarn. Immediately after weaving, a sharp blade cuts through the middle of the pile of the joined fabrics leaving two fabrics with a cut velvet pile surface. The pile stands slightly off right angles to the base cloth thus creating a “Pile” direction.
Pile Looped Over Rods
In this weaving, only one backing cloth is woven and the warp pile yarn is woven through the fabric over a narrow rod and back through the fabric. The rod is removed leaving a looped pile which can be left looped or cut, each creating a different textural effect.
Velvet Pile Direction
Pile direction can be a matter of personal preference, and by lightly rubbing up and down the fabric, you can usually feel the pile direction. Upholstery is usually made with the pile “down” and Drapery is usually made with the pile “up”.
The direction of the pile and the angle at which light strikes it, determines the density and sheen of the colours, which can vary from dark and matte, to bright and shimmering. This can naturally alter the look that the fabric achieves in a space, and you should plan accordingly for the use, and the look you desire.
Velvet Finishing Techniques and Patterned Velvets
Patterns can be created during weaving on jacquard looms or engraved on afterwards with a very hot engraved metal cylinder that sears and heat sets the pattern into the velvet. These are usually called “Stamped” or “Embossed” velvets.
Velvet can also have a permanent crushed effect after weaving – sometimes referred to as “Antiqued”. This is produced by either pressing the fabric down in different directions, brushing it different ways, or alternatively by mechanically twisting the fabric while wet.
Devoré or burnout is a velvet that is treated with a caustic solution to dissolve areas of the pile, creating a velvet pattern upon a sheer or lightweight base fabric.
Hammered Velvet is an extremely lustrous velvet with a crushed and dappled appearance.
These velvets are referred to as having a “high”, “low” effect.
More recently with technological advantages, digitally printed velvets have become common. Many contemporary, modern, Jurassic, Jungle and Tropical inspired velvet prints have flooded the market in recent years. They are full of depth, colour and the varying motifs are bold and rich. Plush and soft to touch, they create striking statement pieces.
Using Velvet in Your Home
Velvets can be produced from Linen, Cotton, Viscose and Polyester, and Silk. Today, clients generally prefer a high-performance Polyester velvet that is washable and most practical in New Zealand’s high sun, yet does not lack any of the richness, luxury and opulence. This means it is robust for family life and will stand the test of time without compromising on the look you’re wanting to achieve.
Velvet is a great choice for adding a touch of class and luxury to your home, either in drapery or upholstery. If you’re not ready for full drapery or a large piece, you could consider smaller touches of velvet in cushions, ottomans or lampshades.
You can either purchase a new piece or consider reupholstering a favourite piece with velvet to bring a whole new look to a space.
Velvet brings a gorgeous texture into any space, and with the options around today, you have variety to explore and find the perfect velvet for your home. That’s where my 25+ years experience and expertise comes in – helping you choose.
Do you have a favourite piece you want recovered? Or need a custom-made piece just the right proportions for your space?
Then take a look at some of our work here.
Or contact us now to chat about the perfect velvet addition to your home.
Spoil yourself or someone else and enjoy “Plush” Living!