How to Care for Velvet

When I was a little girl, I had a Christmas dress that had black velvet at the top and red, black, and white plaid at the bottom, so whenever I think of velvet, I immediately think of Christmas.  Even though my velvet Christmas dress was from many years ago, that dress seems to never go out of style – especially for young girls.  And now that it’s January, it’s likely that that very dress your daughter wore or that lovely velvet dress you wore is sitting at the bottom of the laundry basket.  That’s the last place it should be.

Velvet is Considered a Royal Fabric

Velvet has long been known as the fabric of royalty. In fact, blue velvet was reserved solely for use by the French king, his family, and favored subjects.  These days, velvet is one of winter’s fashion favorites, especially crushed velvet and velvet garments with decorative trim. Many types of garments are made of velvet including pants, dresses, gowns, coats, and jackets. Velvet is also popular for household items, such as furniture covers and drapes.

What is Velvet?

Velvets are made on a double action loom. Two layers of fabric are woven at the same time, and the space between them is interlaced with connecting yarns.  The two layers are then cut apart as they come off the loom, producing two pieces of fabric with an upright pile surface.

True velvet is usually made of rayon, acetate, silk, or a blend of these fibers and has a short, closely woven pile. Velveteen is similar to velvet, but it is usually made of cotton or cotton/polyester blend and has a shorter pile. Finishes are often applied to velvets to keep the pile erect and resilient, to secure the pile, or to give the fabric body.

What Types of Problems can Velvet Experience?

Velvet can experience a variety of problems, including a loss of pile, flattening and matting, pilling and tufting, and shrinkage. Crushed velvets tend to experience a loss of design and distortion from wear alone. Velvets made of acetate pose special problems because the pile can become permanently flattened with moisture, heat, or pressure. As a result, the pile on an acetate velvet dress is more likely to show the effects of wear. Even greater flattening develops if the velvet is brushed or if any pressure is put on it while wet.

How Can You Keep Your Velvet Garments Looking Like New?

• Hang velvet garments in a well-ventilated closet after wearing.

• If a velvet garment gets wet, do not apply pressure because this can flatten the pile.

• Do not iron velvets. Hang in the bathroom and steam the garment to remove any wrinkles.

• Clean velvet garments immediately after use.

• Shake excess spills from the fabric and allow to dry. Do not blot or apply any pressure in damp areas.

Velvet is one of those fabrics that I never attempt to treat or clean at home.  If you have a velvet garment that needs attention, drop it off at one of Shores three locations where our trained professionals will bring it back to life or contact us.