What makes velvet's so good for upholstery?

Probably the one of best-regarded fabric for interiors, is velvet, known for its inviting feel and soft alluring touch. However the production of velvet goes back as far as 4000 years

J Brown Modena Velvet on a Multiyork sofa
j Brown Modena velvet on a Multiyork sofa


A great example of British velvet manufacturing is Lister and Co, a Bradford based company who started production of fine silk fibers back in the early 1800s. In those days velvet was regarded as a fabric used by the aristocracy. 

However Listers quickly built up a worldwide reputation for weaving natural yarn velvets. By 1838 Samuel and John Lister started worsted spinning velvet and manufacturing from Manningham Mills a huge 100,000 square foot mill that at its peak employed 11,000 people. 

Production continued into the late 1980s but sadly closed due poor management and the competition from Europe, who were moving forward using velvets from synthetic man made fibers. 

How Velvet is made ?

Velvet is traditionally woven on a loom using two different methods. V and W weave. W. W weave being the strongest because the pile of the yarn is locked in using the warp and weft. Velvet's a woven face-to-face and then cut down the middle to produce the lush soft touch, which in turn creates the nap, which is smoother in one direction than another.  

Today sadly most velvet's are produced abroad using many different combinations of fibers such as viscose, acrylic. Polyester is also used and is widely regarded as the most durable.

Why do people love Velvet?

It is the pile or nap that gives velvet its distinctive look. Because the fibers fall in one direction so the appearance can change depending on where you are stood. This maximizes velvet's reflective properties and gives it its opulent finish. Some mills are producing crushed velvet's, this really do get the most out of the construction. 

Velvet's properties of the pile  lying flat is what makes it so inviting and soft and smooth to the touch like no other fabric. 

How to care for your Velvet?

Caring for you velvet starts when you are buying your furniture. Its important to know what the construction of your velvet is. Natural yarn such as cotton linen or silk can be fickle, if you get a spill be careful and use a absorbent cloth to soak up as much of the spill as quickly as possible. Then spray a suitable household upholstery cleaner onto a clean cloth and wipe gently in the direction of the pile, until you are happy the stain is removed. It's probably worth testing your cleaner on a hidden area of your sofa first.

Polyester Velvet is a whole different story. Many can be vigorously cleaned and some are even washable at 30 to 40 degrees. These fabrics are perfect for families with pets and children

Viscose velvet's can look incredible but beware some can mark forever with moisture.  

A little tip I use is baby wipes they have got me our of more than a few problems  

General Care

Most velvet's can be vacuumed (again do a test on a hidden area) hidden dirt can build up in the pile and can be aggressive on the cloth itself. Regular vacuuming will help extend the life of your sofa. 

Turning your cushions will maximize to use of the fabric and also extend the use of you cushion interior.

Pile Pressure

This is something all fabric wholesalers put in the small print in the back of their pattern books. Pile pressure is a fabric characteristic that can happen. Simply this is where the erect pile has flattened and when looked at from different direction can look like ware but it is just the nap lying flat. 

We Recommend

Scatter Cushions in J Brown Modenna

In my opinion the Modena collection from J Brown fabrics.

Is one of the best in the industry and we have used it for years with many happy customer

  1. Hard wearing
  2. Washable
  3. Soft
  4. Built in stain repellent
  5. Huge selection of contemporary colours




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