Velvet

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Granada woven silk velvet brocaded with gilt thread and blue areas block-printed, designed by William Morris.
Red velvet mini-dress

Velvet is a type of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are very evenly distributed, with a short dense pile, giving it a distinctly smooth feel.

Velvet can be made from many different fibres. It is woven on a special loom that weaves two pieces of velvet at the same time. The two pieces are then cut apart and the two lengths of fabric are wound on separate take-up rolls. Velvet is difficult to clean due to its pile, but modern dry cleaning methods perform well.

Velvet is made, ideally, from silk. More recently, synthetic velvets have been developed, mostly polyester, nylon, viscose, acetate, and mixtures of different synthetics, or synthetics and natural fibers (e.g. viscose and silk). A small percentage of lycra is used sometimes to give stretch.

History[change | edit source]

The art of velvet-weaving probably originated in medieval Kashmir around the beginning of the fourteenth century. King Richard II of England directed in his will that his body should be clothed in velveto in 1399.[1]

The earliest sources of European artistic velvets were weavers in Lucca, Genoa, Florence and Venice.

References[change | edit source]

  1. L W Cowrie Dictionary of British Social History Wordsworth Reference. p304 ISBN 1-85326-378-8
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