Velvet Fabric – An Elegant Member Of The Pile Family Of Fabrics

Velvet fabric is a sister fabric to both velour and velveteen, and of the three is the one most used for creating elegant designs. In addition to being a member of the pile family of fabrics, velvet fabric is also a member of the larger cotton family of fibers. In addition, as confusing as it may seem, velvet also comprises its own family of fabrics, consisting of: bagheera; burn-out, brocaded or voided velvet; chiffon velvet; crushed; cut; devore; faconne; Lyons; mirror; nacre; panne; sculpted; and transparent velvet.

Velvet was originally made of silk, but is now made of such fabrics as cotton, rayon, acetate, polyester, and fiber blends. Velvet is also a woven fabric.

Dark Teal Velvet Fabric Red Panne Velvet Fabric Dark Teal Velvet Fabric

Fabric Characteristics:

• Has a pile and requires a nap layout

• More difficult to sew than other pile fabrics

• It usually requires extra fabric for a project

• Easily marred by pins, stitching mistakes, alterations, heat, moisture, and improper pressing

• Most creep badly and sometimes pucker during stitching

• The pile sheds badly at the raw edges

• Some fray badly

• Some are bulky

• Most must be dry cleaned

• Cotton velvet is the most durable

• Acetate velvet is easily damaged by moisture and pressure

Working With These Fabrics Requires:

• Sewing machine needles should be sizes 60/8-80/12 sharps and universals depending on the fabric weight

• Hand sewing needles should be sizes 7-9

• Sewing machine settings used should be a stitch length of 2-3mm

• Sewing machine feet recommended are the roller, walking, and zipper foot

• Thread should be all-purpose cotton, polyester, cotton/polyester blend and for hand basting silk or unglazed cotton

• Tools and equipment recommended is sharp scissors, sharp shears, pins

• Layout should be nap, single layer, wrong side up

• Marking tools recommended are chalk, clips (snip marks in seams), and tailor tacks

• Seams recommended are plain, taped, piped and tissue stitched

• Hems recommended are plain, hand blindstitch, hand catchstitched, hand blind catchstitched, hand double stitched

• Seam and hem finishes recommended are single ply, unfinished, pinked, pinked-and-stitched, multi-stitch zigzag, serged, Hong Kong to name a few

• Edge finishes recommended are self-fabric facings, smooth fabric facings, bands, ribbings and bindings

• Closures and pockets can be all types

• Interfacings used should be for cotton velvets fusible and sew-ins and for other types of velvet sew-ins

• Underlings are rarely used

• Pressing recommended is a steam iron on a medium setting

These Fabrics Are Suitable For:

Velvet fabric is recommended for full pants, skirts, vests, capes, dresses, gored skirts, loose and boxy or semi-fitted jackets, and children’s dressy garments. Velvet is primarily used for elegant dressy designs.

For information about the notions, tools, and equipment required to complete a sewing project, click here to view the sewing notions home page

For more information about this family of fabrics some great references are:

Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide

More Fabric Savvy by Sandra Betzina

All About Cotton – Julie Parker’s Fabric Reference Series

For more interesting information about velvet fabric click here on and click here on and click here on the for a nice definition of velvet

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