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Care of Velvet

Velvet, by virtue of being a three dimensional fabric has inherent properties which should be considered prior to the successful making of garments and accessories.

Cutting Velvet

Generally, it is preferred that velvet is cut with the pile ('nap') running upwards which increases the apparent depth of colour and improves durability.

Ensure that all garment panels are cut to achieve identical pile direction when the garment is completed otherwise 'shading' from panel to panel may be apparent.

The complexity of velvet construction precludes the mending or removal of fabric faults: whilst infrequent, they are denoted by a marker fixed to the selvedge to enable easy identification during cutting. A fabric allowance is made for each marked fault.

Sewing Velvet

A lined velvet garment is more durable than one which is not lined.

Before sewing, make a test seam from cut offs in order to assess potential puckering and shift/creep between to fabric layers.

Ease of sewing can be improved by using a longer stitch. 10 stitches per inch (4 stitches per centimetre) decreasing pressure on the presser foot, reducing thread tension and using 'ball-nosed' needles.

Care must be taken at when selecting and affixing lining fabrics to ensure that seams or edges in contact with the back of the velvet are not harsh: these may cause abrasion of the velvet and possible shedding of the pile.

Washing Velvet

Velvets designated dry clean only should be professionally dry cleaned: (Symbol P): removal of non-velvet trimmings may be requested by some dry cleaners.

Velvets designated washable should be gently hand washed at 40 degrees centigrade and dried slowly either on a padded hanger or in a tumble dryer.       

Pressing Velvet

Never press velvet on the pile side. Pressing should be minimal and only to the back of the velvet after placing the fabric pile down on a needleboard or scrap piece of velvet (pile side up)

Creasing or bruising of the pile after wearing, although infrequent, can be restored by minimal steaming to the back of the velvet. (Special care should be taken to ensure that water does not make contact with velvet qualities designated dry clean only).

Storing Velvet

Velvet garments should be stored on a padded hanger.

If velvet garments are to be stored folded, it is preferable to place tissue paper between the folds.