Description : A tufted fabric consisting of evenly distributed cut threads with a short pile (cut thread length). Velvet may be made with a wide variety of fibres, including silk, cotton, linen, mohair, wool, rayon, nylon, acetate, polyester, spandex, microfibre and blends. The most luxurious velvet is made from silk.
Fabrication : Velvet is made on a special purpose loom. Two pieces of velvet are made simultaneously, then cut apart and rolled up separately.
Subtypes :
Dyes, color treatment and washing characteristics : Different fibres and fibre blends require different treatments. Rayon blends can be machine washed on a gentle cycle in cool water, but this will change the appearance of the fabric slightly, giving it a vintage look. Likewise, microfibre and stretch velvets can also be machine washed, without any noticable change in the fabric.
Draping properties :
Cutting properties : Velvet should be cut as a single layer with the nap or pile facing down. For folded pattern pieces, make two versions and put them together. You may need to use pattern weights and cut on top of another matte surface or fabric to avoid slippage of the fabric while cutting. Do not use tracing wheels, but mark with Tailors tacks or snips within the seam allowance. Serrated scissors will help avoid slippage while cutting. Cutting a wider seam allowance will make sewing easier. Rayon and silk velvets are easily damaged - avoid handling them when wet. Use a thick tower as a press cloth.
Sewing challenges : Velvets creep when being sewed - use a small zigzag on long, vertical seams, and a straight stitch on horizontal seams. Sew in the direction of the pile, and raise the foot every few inches or centimeters to let the fabric relax. Facings should be cut from a lighter weight fabric. Avoid fusible interfacings. Underlining velvet will prevent darts and seam details from showing through on the outside of the fabric - however, don't underline with stretch velvet. When sewing velvet to another fabric, try to place the velvet on the bottom. Never topstitch. Machine buttonholes are extremely difficult to do successfully - look for alternative fastenings. Hand hem twice to distribute the weight evenly. Avoid princess seams as these are hard to press, and eliminate small details. Finish edges with a serger, tricot binding or Hong Kong finish
Example creations : gathered hat, blue gown, pirate jacket, medieval dress, black top, cloche hat with feather, black coat, red Pollini dress, scarf and glove set, capelet, waist belt, elizabethan dress, blazer, summer dress, shirt, blue shoes, cosmetic bag, table runner,
Uses worldwide : Used for full pants, skirts, vests, capes, dresses, jackets, and gored skirts.
Origins and history : Velvet was developed in the 14th century. It was expensive to make until modern times and hence was a luxury fabric largely limited to the aristocracy.
Wikipedia reference

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