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Everyday Velvet

Everyday Velvet

All any girl needs, at any time in history, is simple velvet and basic diamonds” – Eva Gabor

According to Wikipedia, velvet is a type of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are evenly distributed, with a short dense pile, giving it a distinctive feel. By extension, the word velvety means "smooth like velvet." Fun fact: velvet can be made from either synthetic or natural fibers.

Because of its unusual softness and appearance as well as its high cost of production, velvet has often been associated with nobility. In all probability the art of velvet-weaving originated in the Far East; and it is not till about the beginning of the 14th century that we find any mention of the textile. The peculiar properties of velvet, the splendid yet softened depth of dye-color it exhibited, at once marked it out as a fit material for ecclesiastical vestments, royal and state robes, and sumptuous hangings; and the most magnificent textures of medieval times were Italian velvets.  Pretty interesting!

And little do you know but there are many types of velvets. Let’s break it down.

  • Chiffon (or transparent) velvet: Very lightweight velvet on a sheer silk or rayon chiffon bas
  • Ciselé - where the pile uses cut and uncut loops to create a pattern 
  • Crushed - produced by pressing the fabric down in different directions. It can also be produced by mechanically twisting the fabric while wet. The result is patterned appearance that is very lustrous 
  • Devoré or burnout - velvet treated with a caustic solution to dissolve areas of the pile, creating a velvet pattern upon a sheer or lightweight base fabric 
  • Embossed – in this case a metal roller is used to heat-stamp the fabric, producing a pattern
  • Hammered - extremely lustrous, appears dappled, and somewhat crushed 
  • Lyons - densely woven, stiff, heavier-weight pile velvet used for hats, coat collars and garments 
  • Mirror - exceptionally soft and light crushed velvet 
  • Nacré - effect similar to shot silk, where the pile is woven in one or more colors and the base fabric in another, creating a changeable, iridescent effect 
  • Panne – type of crushed velvet, panne is produced by forcing the pile in a single direction by applying heavy pressure.[6] Sometimes, less frequently, called paon velvet 
  • Pile-on-pile – a luxurious type of velvet woven with piles of differing heights to create a pattern 
  • Plain - commonly made of cotton, this type of velvet has a firm hand and can be used for many purposes 
  • Utrecht - pressed and crimped velvet associated with Utrecht, the Netherlands.
  • Velveteen - imitation velvet normally made of cotton or a combination of cotton and silk. It has a pile that is short (never more than 3mm deep), and is closely set. It has a firm hand and a slightly sloping pile. Unlike true velvet, this type has greater body, does not drape as easily, and has less sheen 
  • Voided - deliberately woven with areas of pile-free ground (usually satin) forming the pattern 
  • Wedding ring or ring velvet - another fancy term for devoré and/or chiffon velvets which are allegedly fine enough to be drawn through a ring

Daily care

Because velvet is a very luxurious fabric, it isn’t easy for maintaining. If not properly cleaned, its fabric can be crushed and damaged and none of want to see that. If you want to learn how to keep your velvet upholstery in a clean condition, keep on reading.

Velvet, made from synthetic materials is easier for cleaning, while wool, silk, cotton and combination of these fabrics velvet better be cleaned by professionals.

But if you want to tackle it on your own, apply general cleaning of your velvet upholstery every week according to Orion Cleaning. They recommend using a soft clean cloth or a brush to remove debris and dirt from the upholstery’s surface. Next, vacuum clean your upholstered furniture with the attachment of the machine, designated for furniture. Make sure you collect all the fuzz from your upholstered furniture with the vacuum, running it back and forth until the fuzz disappears from your velvet furniture. If you are like me that special attachment for furniture has disappeared in the toy bin. Not a worry. Place a piece of pantyhose over the nozzle; it will work just as well. Lightly vacuum your velvet...fuzz and fur will vanish." (via Associated Content).

And if you velvet seems to have lost its shine, try directing a steamer at the reverse side of the matted areas to make the fibers fluffy again. Then dry brush the area, making sure the pile is going in the same direction." (via Contract Barstools)

Cleaning velvet

Because I have no idea, I turned to our friends at Apartment Therapy. They have a great tutorial for slobbery dog drool and other stains that might magically appear and a solution to make them disappear. Let us know if any of these tips and tricks work for you and if you come up with other fine ideas on how to take care of our velvet furniture.

About Erin: Erin is an untrained writer, professional marketer and always on mom of two monsters. She’s the voice behind VNTG Home content, branding and regularly contributes to the “Live Beautifully” blog. When not getting peanut butter out of clean pants or rearranging her house, you can find her on the St. Croix River sailing with the best guy in the whole wide world.

About “Live Beautifully” Blog Our vision for the VNTG Home blog is simple: create a platform where fresh and transformative ideas can be shared and showcased in order to demonstrate how accessible luxury can really be.