Weaving technique – Silk velvet

First of all, it should be remembered that SILK is a MATERIAL and that VELVET is only a METHOD OF WEAVING silk.

Don't be mistaken when you read the term “fabric type” and think that it is the material the fabric was made from.
A type of fabric simply refers to a way of weaving a material.

For example, the fabric type “Silk Velvet” means that the Silk was woven using weaving techniques called Velvet.
If you have a fabric that only mentions “Velvet”, it could be a velvet weave made from a material such as cotton, wool or even polyester.

Now that the distinction has been made between silk and velvet, we will describe the characteristics of this type of weaving, its derivatives, the use that can be made of it, as well as the way of maintaining the fabrics which result.

Discover the different silk weaving techniques

Silk velvet

The history of silk velvet:

Velvet takes its name from the term velouté which means soft. This weaving technique was first introduced in Baghdad, 750 AD.
The production of silk velvet then spread to the Mediterranean and then throughout Europe.
During the Renaissance, the city of Florence, Italy, became the main point of production of silk velvet.
Silk velvet has always embodied luxury. Very expensive, it was once exclusively accessible to royalty and nobility.

Making silk velvet:

Silk velvet is made on a special loom called “double canvas”.
This way of weaving allows you to produce two pieces of fabric simultaneously. These two pieces are then woven on top of each other, connected by a second warp thread, then separated.
Once the two layers are separated, fibers that protrude vertically from the fabric appear to form this famous velvety texture.

The characteristics of silk velvet:

Velvet has a soft texture and a beautiful lustrous sheen that gives the fabric a high-end appearance.
When silk velvet catches the light, it offers a magnificent shimmer. It has a dual tone and appears light or dark depending on the angle.
The pile height of velvet is uniform, generally less than half a centimeter.
It is a medium to heavy weight fabric, very strong and durable.

The different possible uses of silk velvet:

Velvet entered the fashion world in the 14th century. Exclusively worn by royal families at that time, velvet managed to maintain its prestige, and is still used for the making of high-end textiles.
Its use is multiple and varied, ranging from clothing to interior decorations.

Silk velvet washing instructions:

Velvet requires special attention to preserve its velvety texture.
To avoid damaging this fabric, you must at all costs avoid using soap or detergent which risks leaving permanent marks.
You should also not drown the fabric in a large quantity of water.
If there is a stain, absorb the excess with paper, then dab the fabric with a barely damp sponge.

Learn more about washing, drying and ironing silk

Variants of the VELVET weaving technique

Velvet is simply a weaving method. It has several derivatives which depend on the length of the threads used during weaving, their number, their thickness and the way in which they were woven.

The best-known derivatives of silk velvet are 16 in number and are as follows:

1. Crushed velvet: Shiny fabric with a sought-after crushed appearance. This effect is achieved by twisting the fabric and pressing it in different directions when weaving.

2. Crushed velvet - Hammered velvet - Chiselled velvet - Cut velvet: Fabric with an irregular moiré appearance, obtained by applying strong pressure to the fabric to flatten its pile.
It has cut areas and uncut areas which reveal pretty reliefs.

3. Short velvet - Short cut velvet: Fabric with a soft and homogeneous surface obtained by cutting the pile short.

4. Velvet jersey – Nicky velvet: This weaving technique combines the properties of knitwear and those of short velvet. The fabric will then be elastic with a soft and homogeneous surface.

5. Embossed velvet: Fabric that has varying degrees of shine and depth of color. This effect is achieved by crushing the fabric on certain parts only.

6. Devoured velvet: Fabric whose pile has been partially destroyed with acid to reveal raised patterns.

7. Plain velvet - Plain velvet: Long pile fabric, heavy and with very little elasticity. This type of velvet does not have the luster of regular velvet. It is without figures or scratches.

8. Brocade velvet: Fabric with a surface similar to that of plain velvet but with raised patterns in gold or silver.

9. Stretch velvet: This weaving technique incorporates Spandex to make the fabric more flexible and stretchy.

10. Fluted velvet - Corduroy: Strong and durable fabric. Its appearance gives the illusion of being created from several cords placed parallel to each other.

11. Looped velvet - Pinned velvet: Fabric whose loops have not been cut. It will then have a dense and raised surface.

12. Milleraies velvet: Type of weaving with very fine and very close ribs. The resulting fabric is light and supple.

13. Genoa velvet: Fabric with more or less complex patterns woven on a satin background.

14. Pane velvet: Fabric whose pile has been flattened in one and the same direction. This type of weaving gives a very high luster.

15. Pile velvet: Long, soft pile fabric.

16. Minky velvet (or minkee): Extremely plush and soft fabric. The surface is generally smooth, but this weaving technique sometimes incorporates small polka dot patterns into the fabric.

As you will have understood, weaving is an art that translates into diverse and varied forms. However, what must be remembered is that no matter the material used, a specific weaving technique will always give the fabric an almost similar appearance.
For example, a silk velvet fabric will look very similar to a polyester velvet fabric. The big difference will lie in the benefits that one material brings compared to another.
It is therefore important not to be fooled by the appearance of a fabric, and to always check the label of an item to find out the material from which it was woven.

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