If your last and only experience of a velvet was sitting on one in the cinema then you really haven’t lived!
Firstly let’s look at silk velvet’s suitability for upholstery. It can have a Martindale Rub Test result of over 20,000 – so it CAN be readily suitable for many upholstery uses.
Composition. Just because it is sold as 100% silk can be misleading and not necessarily relevant. Is this 90% silk velvet better than that 100% silk velvet? You just can’t answer that by simply looking at the composition.
A silk velvet that is sold as being 100% silk may in fact be a 100% silk velvet pile and 100% cotton backcloth. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. If it is the look and feel of the silk that you are looking for then maybe it’s best to just consider the pile (assuming the backcloth is up to the job of course). One of our fine silk velvets has a 100% pile and then a backcloth of silk and cotton – with the cotton being added for strength and the overall silk content being 90%. Compare this to our Italian Silk & Cashmere Velvet which has a 70% silk + 30% cashmere pile.
Next look at the silkiness or the shininess. If you are looking for a silk velvet you will usually want a shine.
Consider too the length of the pile. Again, there is nothing inherently good or bad about a long or short pile. A shorter pile may be more rigid and upright and that could be a characteristic that you are looking for. Alternatively a longer pile will probably lay better in one directions – and you may well want that characteristic.
The weight of the fabric in grams per metre is often used as a measure of quality. That is not always true and could, for example, easily be distorted by a heavy and poor quality backcloth.
My personal preference would be to get my hand on a sample; feel it and look at it. What I look for and prefer is a slightly more rigid and consistent pile with a very dense weave. I would look carefully at the country of manufacture. I prefer an Italian velvet (mainly because it sounds better!) but if not Italian then I would certainly only consider a velvet produced in mainland western Europe. But don’t copy me, have the confidence to choose what you like – you are going to have to live with it. I would now choose my upholsterer carefully; many years ago a velvet covered chair came back for me from a local upholsterer and the pile was not running in a consistent direction…it didn’t look great (read ‘awful’). So don’t, like me, assume that all upholsters know what they are doing with velvets, they patently don’t all know. I would then read our guide to upholstering with velvet – a designer’s worksheet and armed with a bit of knowledge quiz your upholsterer carefully.
- giving new life to old silk (shiborigirl.wordpress.com)
- Fine Faux Leather Upholstery – New Contract Fabrics With High Abrasion Martindale (kothea.com)
- Upholstery Fabric Ideas for Vintage Chairs? – Good Questions (apartmenttherapy.com)
You’ve just ordered a new velvet and unrolled it to admire your purchase. But how do you re-roll it?
When you roll almost any fabric you should have the face on the inside. With a velvet this is the pile so you have the pile on the inside.
Some, but not all, velvet piles stand straight up others will ‘lay down’. for the former it does not matter which way you then roll the fabric (provided the pile is on the inside). However for typically longer pile which lays down (ie you can brush it flat with your hand in one direction only) then you should roll the fabric down the pile as you return it to its roll.
Hopefully that made sense. Good luck.
- Mohair Velvet & Other Velvets (kothea.com)
- Projects ” How-To’s ” Red Velvet Valentine Whoopie Pies (cutoutandkeep.net)
- ‘VELVET’ SURPRISE: Moe Tucker, tea party fan (politico.com)
- Red Velvety (farhanahizani.wordpress.com)
Sanforising is a finishing technique for already woven fabric.
Interior Designers do not need to know the detail of exactly what happens. So, in brief, the process is usually associated with cotton fabric and often also with shirting fabric. The idea behind sanforising is to pre-shrink the fabric. Clearly any shrinkage after the fabric has been made up may cause problems and Interior Designers DO need to be aware of that!
When sanforised fabric is subsequently made up into curtains or used on upholstery the naturally occurring effects of fabric stretching are reduced, but like many natural fabrics some further shrinkage could occur.
As a general rule: more tightly woven fabrics tend to shrink less.
The sanforisation process involves stretching and heating damp fabric over a series of rollers
- How to Get The Most Out Of An Interior Designer (via Women’s Business Connection Blog) (kothea.com)
- Fabric Fridays – 5/13/11 (riverplacequiltandsew.wordpress.com)
- Careful Fabric Usage For Housing Interior Plans (sooperblog.com)
The durability depends on quite a few things: the tightness of the weave; thickness/strength of the yarn & fabric; back-cloth composition and strength; and so on.
Essentially you need to look at the Martindale or Rub Test result for the specific fabric in question. Two silk velvets can be quite different.
As with all velvets a proper cleaning regime is important to extend the life of the fabric.
One of KOTHEA’s silk velvets has a rub test/Martindale of 25,000. This is more than adequate for general upholstery.
If you are unfortunate enough to have created beautiful curtains that are plagued by static problems then please read on.
Fortunately static is rarely noticed when curtains are hung, this is partly because of the chosen combination of materials and partly also because the weight of the material overcomes the weak power of static electricity. However if you do have this rare problem then you have already invested a lot of time, effort and money into buying curtain material and having them made up and hung. Do you have to start again?
Before answering that dreaded question it is important to understand what causes the problem in the first place. There is little point in re-making the curtains if the same problem is going to happen again.
Static is a natural phenomena. The main way in which static is created is when two materials are rubbed together causing an excess electrical charge on their surfaces. It is not, however, caused by the friction itself and it is not caused because a material is synthetic/man-made.
All materials differ in their propensity to cause static. It takes the properties of TWO materials to cause static; one must be good at giving up ‘electrons’ and the other good at receiving ‘electrons’. The better that each of the materials are at giving/receiving ‘electrons’ then the more static there will be. For any scientists reading, you might remember that this is measured by The Triboelectric Series.
On the Triboelectric Series; hair, wool, glass, nylon and fur are good at giving up electrons. Whereas silk, paper and cotton are at the other end of the scale and are bad at giving up electrons. Conversely; wood, metals, polyester and styrene are bad at attracting electrons whereas at the other end of this side of the scale polyurethane, polyethylene, vinyl/PVC are good at attracting electrons.
Thus a combination of PVC and hair would produce the most static whereas cotton and wood would produce the least. If you think about combing your hair then this should ring true.
Polyester is very similar to gold, platinum, brass, silver, nickel and copper in its static generating properties. Whereas, cotton is one of the lowest materials on the scale.
So the first lesson, bearing in mind the above, is that the choice of materials ie the curtain and the lining are critical. Also any surface that the curtain comes into contact with is important. So the second lesson is to consider the location.
Let’s turn now to how the curtain is made up. An experienced, professional curtain maker should know how to avoid the static problem.
Taking an example of a mixed composition fabric. Let’s say 40% cotton, 40% viscose and 20% polyester. And let’s also say that the material is loosely woven and has movement. Looking at such a fabric an experienced curtain maker would say that the fabric ‘needed taming’ and that a light cotton inter liner should be used. In addition to that the following details should be followed:
• The interlining should be locked in with 3 inch stitches. This should not be knotted;
• At the leading edge the interlining should be serged and locked in;
• The hem should be herring bone stitched. The stitches should not be too large and should not catch the face fabric; and
• Because of the nature of the fabric, the hem should slightly break on the floor.
These are not generic solutions to all curtain static problem. But they should be considered by the curtain maker.
So we have seen that: the choice of material; how the design works when hung; and how the curtain is made up, all have impacts on the creation or dissipation of static.
Some fabrics can be too fragile for use as upholstery unless knit backed. Knit backing is a process whereby, for example, a cotton polyester backing is applied to a lighter weight chenille, silk or cotton.
Essentially the fabric‘s life is increased with better durability and resilience. The handling characteristics of the fabric can be improved; and knit backing also helps prevent seam slippage.
The same principle applies for the fabric whether or not it is to be used for either upholstery or wall covering. There will certainly be other requirements for contract usage, say, in hotels and aviation and also other treatments like fire retardancy or stain protection would be required for contract upholstery.
- Designer Fabrics & Luxury Wallcoverings 2012 – Latest Collections of Faux Leather & Raffia (kothea.com)