Five Facts About Velvet You May Do Not Know
Velvet has always been synonymous with luxury and class. Worn by royalty and the elite, it was a very expensive and sought-after fabric. In modern times, velvet is far more accessible and often used to create ‘vintage’ looks and décor. What is velvet? It is a densely piled fabric with a plain back. It has a soft, plush feel to it hence the expression “velvet smooth”. Velvet also played a big role in history and was once revered as the fabric of choice by monarchs across the globe.
Here are 5 facts about velvet that you might not have come across before.
1.Velvet is ancient - Velvet is presumed to have been in existence since 2000 BCE and its earliest form originated out of Egypt. Between 400 BCE and 23 CE, China started to produce uncut pile weaves that are closely resemble what we know velvet to be, in modern times. In the Renaissance era, the methods of producing velvet were refined and transformed into modern velvet. This era also popularized velvet in fashion amongst European monarchs and aristocrats.
2.It can be made from a variety of materials – Velvet can be woven from silk, which is the most luxurious, rare and expensive method. It can also be created from cotton, polyester, linen and synthetic fibers. This means that velvet itself is not a particular material but is named after the process of its creation.
3.Velvet is specially woven – Velvet is produced on a special loom. It weaves two thicknesses of material simultaneously. The pieces are cut apart to create the ‘pile’ effect and then wound on separate take-up rolls. It’s a complicated process which contributed to its rarity and costly pricing. In modern times technology has made the process easier so that velvet is now more easily attainable.
4.There are 16 types of velvet – From plain velvet to embossed velvet, there are many types of velvet styles. Velveteen and velour are popular and cheaper variations of velvet made from shorter piles. There is even chiffon velvet which is transparent and a few types of patterned velvet.
5.Velvet can only be dry cleaned – Dry cleaning, steam cleaning and even vacuuming are modern methods that can successfully get the fibers clean and restored. It’s difficult to wash velvet and it’s not a fabric that is typically ironed, unless you iron from the underside.
Velvet is not only used for dresses and shoes. Many furniture manufacturers upholster couches and other types of furniture with velvet. Plain velvet is even painted on to create art and portraits. It’s still used in fashion, especially in the form of iconic velour tracksuits. Many interior decorators utilize velvet in an array of styles and settings to create a modern vintage theme as well as drapery. Here’s a fun bonus fact, red velvet cake got its name from its soft, smooth, velvety cake crumb texture. Velvet is not only a fabric but a widely used adjective to describe anything that is decadent and smooth!