Woven Words

A blog by Regal Fabrics

Velvet 101: The Soft Story Behind a Hard-to-Resist Fabric

June 13, 2024

We’ve got a soft spot for velvet, with its rich history, intricate manufacturing process, and luxurious feel. Whether draped on royal robes, adorning high-fashion runways, or enhancing home interiors, velvet remains a timeless and versatile fabric. Its ability to convey elegance and sophistication ensures that velvet will continue to be cherished and celebrated for generations to come –  learn how it’s made and where to use velvet fabric in home decor!

What’s the history of velvet fabric?

Velvet’s history dates back to ancient civilizations, with its roots tracing to the Middle East as early as 2000 BC. It was later introduced to Europe through the Silk Road, becoming especially popular during the Renaissance. In medieval Europe, velvet was a highly prized fabric, often associated with royalty and the aristocracy due to its costly production process and luxurious appearance.

The name “velvet” comes from the Latin word “villus,” meaning “shaggy hair” or “tuft,” which aptly describes its soft, raised pile. Historically, velvet was made from silk, making it an expensive and sought-after fabric. Silk velvet is still available today, but it’s more often from a variety of fibers, including cotton, rayon, and synthetic materials, making it more economically accessible while retaining its sumptuous feel.

How is velvet fabric made? 

Velvet’s production is a complex process that requires specialized techniques to achieve its signature pile. Here’s an overview of how this luxurious fabric is created:

  • Weaving: Velvet is woven on a special loom that weaves two thicknesses of the fabric at the same time. These two layers are connected by a series of warp threads.
  • Pile creation: To create the pile, or the raised surface of the fabric, the warp threads are cut apart. This is done either during the weaving process or afterward, depending on the type of velvet being produced. The result is two separate pieces of fabric, each with a dense, plush pile. For example, when our K-Finesse dancing zebra velvet pattern is cut through the middle, the zebras on the two resulting pieces dance in opposite directions!

How velvet fabric is made

  • Finishing: After weaving, the fabric undergoes several finishing processes to enhance its texture and appearance. This includes shearing, which evens out the pile, and dyeing, which gives velvet its rich, vibrant colors.
  • Brushing and pressing: The final steps involve brushing to remove any loose fibers and pressing to achieve a smooth, even surface. This meticulous process ensures the velvet has a consistent and luxurious feel.

What are the best uses for velvet fabric in home decor?

Velvet is a popular choice for upholstery, curtains, and cushions. Its soft texture and opulent look enhance the aesthetic appeal of any room.

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Some Regal Fabrics Velvet Selections:

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