The main types of velvet

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Velvet sample, 18th century, made of silk (TRC 2011.0389).

Velvet sample, 18th century, made of silk (TRC 2011.0389).

These are various ways of making velvet and these produce different effects. Different forms of velvet depend on  type of fibre or thread, the colour of the pile, or using a cut and uncut pile. Important is also the height of the pile or the inclusion of a range of different background weaves (plain, satin).

Block printed velvet

A form of velvet with a solid pile ground and a block printed design. In very expensive forms, gold paint is applied to wooden or metal blocks and the design is printed on the velvet by hand.

Chiffon (or transparent) velvet

A very lightweight velvet on a sheer silk or rayon chiffon base.

Ciselé velvet

A form of velvet where the pile uses cut and uncut loops to create a pattern.

Crushed velvet

A lustrous velvet with a patterned appearance that is produced by either pressing the fabric down in different directions, or sometimes by mechanically twisting the fabric while it is wet.

Cut velvet

A type of velvet in which the loops formed by the pile warp are all cut.

Sample of devoré velvet with a design of feathers outlined with metal thread. Late-20th century (TRC 2017.0551).

Sample of devoré velvet with a design of feathers outlined with metal thread. Late-20th century (TRC 2017.0551).

Devoré or burnout

A velvet treated with a caustic solution to dissolve areas of the pile, creating a velvet pattern upon a sheer or lightweight base fabric.

Double faced velvet

A form of velvet with a pile on both sides of the cloth.

Hammered velvet

A type of velvet that is extremely lustrous, appears dappled, and somewhat crushed.

Lyon velvet

A densely woven, stiff, heavy-weight pile velvet used for hats, coat collars and garments.

Mirror velvet

A type of exceptionally soft and lightly crushed velvet.

Nacré velvet

A form of velvet whereby the pile is woven in one or more colours and the base fabric in another, creating a changeable, iridescent effect.

Panne velvet

A type of crushed velvet produced by forcing the pile in a single direction by applying heavy pressure. Sometimes, less frequently, called paon velvet. Since the 1970’s, the term ‘panne velvet’ has also been used for a pile knit velvet (sometimes called a velour), with a short pile that falls in many directions.

Pile-on-pile velvet

A particularly luxurious type of velvet woven with piles (cut or uncut) of differing heights to create a pattern.

Solid (plain) velvet

A term used to indicate that the pile covers the entire ground and that there is no woven decoration.

Child's cape made from European pressed velvet, worn in Iran, early 20th century (TRC 1998.0404).

Child's cape made from European pressed velvet, worn in Iran, early 20th century (TRC 1998.0404).

 

Stamped (embossed) velvet

This is a velvet whereby a metal plate or roller is used to heat-stamp the fabric, producing a pattern.

Tie-and dye velvet

A plain or crushed velvet that has been hand coloured using a tie-and-dye technique.

Uncut velvet

Velvet in which the loops formed by the pile warp are left uncut.

Utrecht velvet

Velvet made with a mohair pile and a linen ground.

Velour(s) (modern)

A form of velvet which has a knitted ground.

Velveteen (weft-pile weave)

Technically speaking, velveteen is a form of cloth in which the pile is created using supplementary weft threads, which are sometimes woven in the form of loops or as floating threads. The loops and floats are cut after weaving in order to create the pile. Sometimes, velveteen is described as an imitation velvet.

Sample of voided velvet with a pile of different heights, together creating a leopard skin design. European, c. 2018 (TRC 2018.2509).

Sample of voided velvet with a pile of different heights, together creating a leopard skin design. European, c. 2018 (TRC 2018.2509).

Voided velvet

A form of velvet that is deliberately woven with areas of ground that have no pile. Instead these areas are often produced with a tabby weave or satin weave in order to contrast with the piled areas.

Wedding ring or ring velvet

Another term for devoré and/or chiffon velvets, which are allegedly fine enough to be drawn through a ring.

 

 

Chapters:

Velvet: A luxurious textile in the TRC spotlights

A brief history of velvet

The raw materials

The production of velvet

The main types of velvet

Classic velvet designs

Clothing and velvets

Furnishing velvets

Some alternative velvets

 

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