Definitions

velvet

velvet

[vel-vit]
velvet, fabric having a soft, thick, short pile, usually of silk, and a plain twill or satin weave ground. The pile surface is formed by weaving an extra set of warp threads that are looped over wires as in Wilton carpet, the rods being withdrawn after the weft thread is placed, leaving a row of loops or tufts across the breadth. The loops may remain uncut, forming terry velvet, or be cut, automatically in machine weaving or by a special tool in handlooming. The fabric may also be woven double, face to face, then cut apart. Velvet is supposedly one of the silk weaves developed on the ancient shuttle looms of China. The most beautiful weaves, such as brocades, are still done by hand. India has produced velvet from remote times, often richly embroidered, for the furniture and trappings of royalty. Many fine velvets were made in Turkey, and Persia was famous for its beautiful designs and colors. Magnificent velvets were used in Europe in 12th- and 13th-century religious and court ceremonials. Lucca and Genoa apparently were the first cities to make fine velvets and excelled through the 16th and 17th cent. Genoese velvet was notable for designs formed by contrasts of cut and uncut pile. Venetian and Florentine fabrics were sumptuous brocades, floral designs on contrasting grounds or on cloth of gold. Utrecht made a rich, heavy velvet used for wall and furniture coverings. Modern velvets are of many types and grades. Lyons velvet has a stiff ground and erect pile. Transparent velvet has a sheer foundation. Panne velvet is a long-napped weave, pressed. Plush and velveteen resemble velvet and are sometimes used as substitutes; the weft loops, rather than the warp loops, form the pile on these substitutes.

Any of about 90 species of free-living terrestrial invertebrates in the class Onychophora (sometimes considered a phylum). They are sometimes called velvet worms for their velvety skin. The common genus Peripatus occurs in the West Indies, Central America, and northern South America. Onychophorans are slender and segmented; each segment has a pair of short legs. Species range from 0.6 to 6 in. (14–150 mm) long. They live in humid, hidden spots: in forest litter, wood crevices, termite nests, or the soil, sometimes to a depth of more than 3 ft (1 m). They use their jaws to open captured prey (often small insects) and suck out the juices.

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Fabric having a short, dense pile, used in clothing and upholstery. Velvet is made in the pile weave (see weaving), of silk, cotton, or synthetic fibres and is characterized by a soft, downy surface formed by clipped yarns (see shearing). Its “wrong” side is smooth and shows the weave used. Velvets can be made water-repellent and crush-resistant. They are also occasionally patterned or embossed.

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

Composition

Velvet can be made from many different kinds of 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's knitted counterpart is velour. Velvet was very expensive and was considered to be among the luxury goods together with silk. Corduroy and velveteen were considered the "poor man's velvet" when they were first produced.

Velvet is difficult to clean, but in modern times, dry cleaning is used.

Panne is a type of finish for velvet which gives it a special shiny look, similar to many velours.

Velvet is made, ideally, from silk. Cotton can also be used, though this often results in a slightly less luxurious fabric. More recently, synthetic velvets have been developed, mostly polyester, nylon, viscose, acetate and mixtures of different synthetics, or synthetics and natural fibres (eg. viscose and silk). Velvet can also be made from fibres such as linen, mohair and wool. A cloth made by the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of Congo from raffia is often referred to as "Kuba velvet".

A small percentage of lycra is used sometimes to give stretch.

History

The art of velvet-weaving probably originated in ancient Kashmir. Earliest references occur around the beginning of the 14th century.

The peculiar properties of velvet, the splendid yet softened depth of dye colour it exhibited, made it fit for official robes and sumptuous hangings. The most magnificent textiles of medieval times were Italian velvets. These were ornamentated by such techniques in silk, with uncut pile or with a ground of gold tissue, etc.

The earliest sources of European artistic velvets were Lucca, Genoa, Florence and Venice, and Genoa continues to send out rich velvet textures. Somewhat later the art was taken up by Flemish weavers, and in the 16th century Bruges attained a reputation for velvets which was not inferior to that of the great Italian cities.

See Also

Velvet painting

References

External links

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