Velvet Fabrics: Complete Guide

A popular fabric among fashion and interior designers, velvet is the world’s go-to for creating a high-profile look. And although most shy away from using this luxurious textile, we’re here to tell you that it’s not as troublesome and intimidating as it seems. In fact, velvet fabrics can provide your home or wardrobe with a stunning yet practical addition.

woman walking in velvet suite

green velvet suite

Here are some important facts about velvet fabrics:

blue velvet

Velvet has an interesting history

Derived from the Italian word Velluto, meaning “shaggy,” velvet fabric was actually pretty expensive to produce. Because of this, it was mostly available to the elites such as the wealthy and royal families. It’s still used until this day!

It’s astonishingly versatile

The fabric feels and looks more luxurious than most textiles, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less adaptable. It is available in a wide array of forms— you can go subtle or take it to a whole other level.

It’s specially made

Velvet fabrics can actually be woven from any type of yarn. In the past, it was mainly woven from silk, but today it can be done with cotton, linen, wool or a combination of synthetic fibers. The beautiful thing about velvet is how the orientation of the pile threads changes the way it reflects light. That is why the human eye can perceive its color differently from different angles.

It’s built to last

The biggest misconception about velvet is that it’s difficult to maintain. But as we’ve seen through the course of history, this fabric is very sturdy and when properly cared for, can last for decades. Velvet, like leather and wine — only gets better with age.

It’s easy to clean

As far as spills are concerned, velvet is often treated with stain repellents, so should you spill something on yourself, a gentle dab with a damp towel to soak the liquid up will do the trick. But like any fabric, it does get a little trickier once the stain has dried.

Velvet fabrics can be affordable

Velvet can be found at every price point and weight. From the most expensive, which include fabrics woven from ultra-fine silk fibers to the most affordable — cotton, polyester, and other synthetic blends.

Types of velvet fabrics

Here are the most common types of velvet, rated from easiest to handle, to the most difficult.

Crushed and panne velvet:

It can be used for knits, preferably not too close-fitting since polyester is not breathable. Crushed velvet has an irregular wavy look. This is due to a process that twists the fabric and applies heavy pressure to flatten the pile so it faces different directions. In the large majority of cases, these velvets are stretchy and they are generally made out of polyester.

velvet fabric


Velveteen is pretty stiff, so it is ideal for a pattern that requires structure. This fabric resembles suede, due to its short and dense pile, with a very even distribution. Velveteen is usually 100% cotton and has more body and less drape than regular velvet.



Thanks to its sturdiness, corduroy is perfect for pants and shorts, with wide-rib corduroy being ideal to make jackets and coats. Corduroy is made with additional weft threads, woven and cut so as to form lines that run vertically along with the fabric.

Rayon and silk velvet:

It’s great for a very simple pattern, to minimize seams and let the fabric be the star. Silk velvet is extremely fluid and known to be one of the hardest fabrics to work with. Rayon velvet is similar to silk velvet in that it has a lot of drape, but it is less shiny and more affordable.

red velvet

Want to incorporate velvet fabrics into your next look? Contact Isa Fabrics today!

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