Mohair Velvet for Upholstery

Blue Velvet Chaise
Black mohair velvet upholstery on a regal chair
Black mohair velvet upholstery on a regal chair

Mohair velvet is a fabric much sought after by interior designers. It is sold in a wide range of qualities and is sometimes used as a generic term for velvets when, in fact, there are very many differing and sometimes superior compositions available than just those made with ‘mohair’.

Velvet is a type of tufted fabric woven with a warp pile. It has a short dense pile of 3mm or less (‘plush’ has a pile longer than 3mm) and a distinctive feel. During production wires lift the yarn creating small loops which are either cut or left depending on the desired finish. Velvets tend to take colour very well and also tend to be hard-wearing with a high degree of suitability for varied uses; they were typically hard to clean but that problem is mostly solved with modern dry-cleaning.

What’s in a velvet?

Kashmir was probably the birth-place of velvet in the early 1300s but by the 16th Century Bruges had become the leading source of what at the time was a definitive luxury item. Luxury velvets are still made in Europe as well as in Asia.

The original velvets were typically silk velvet. With the passing of time and increasing technical sophistication it has become easily possible to make velvets from many natural and synthetic yarns. At KOTHEA we have velvets at the top end of the quality range made from fine yarns including Linen Velvet, Cashmere-Silk Velvet, Linen Velvet, Cotton Velvet, Wool Velvet and of course Mohair Velvet. Other velvets available in the market have compositions that include polyester, nylon, viscose, acetate or mixtures. Sometimes small amounts of lycra are included to give the fabric stretch.

Mohair & Cashmere Silk Velvet: Testing

Chic-sofaHotels, Yachts and many public places have strict requirements for fabrics both for fire retardancy and wear, usually measured in the UK by an abrasion test (commonly referred to as Martindale or ‘rub test’).  Some of KOTHEA’s Mohair Velvets are highly suitable in such environemnts with a certified Martindale of 100,000 – which is more than the usual contract requirement of between 20,000 – 30,000.

We have many velvets of differing compositions (Silk Velvets, Cotton Velvets, Linen Velvets, etc.) and we were interested to see how one of the velvets, at the very highest end of our range, would perform. So we used SGS to test one of our Cashmere Silk Velvets (75% Cashmere 25% Silk).

The tests were undertaken in accordance with BSEN14455 (based on BSENISO12947) and a result of 13,000 rubs was obtained, which considering the perceived delicacy of the product was fantastic. 13,000 rubs makes the product suitable for light usage such as residential.

 

Directory Listings Of Top Market Fabric Suppliers In The UK

555722790393613763_3d6571c7061dClick the fabric company name for their web site:

Abbot and Boyd 020 7351 9985
Altfield 020 7351 5893
Alton Brooke 020 7376 7008
Borderline 020 7823 3567
Brian Yates 01524 35035
Brunswig 020 7351 5797
Bruno Triplet 020 7823 9990
Chase Erwin 020 8875 7441
Colefax 020 7244 7427
Colony Fabrics 020 7351 3232
Donghia 020 7823 3456
Gainsborough Silk 01787 372081
Henry Bertrand 020 7349 1477
Jab 020 7349 9323
Jane Churchill 020 7244 7427
Jrobertscott 020 7376 4705
KOTHEA 020 8943 4904
Kravet 020 7795 0110
Lee Jofa 020 7823 3455
Lelievre 020 7352 4798
Manuel Canovas 020 8877 6400
Nobilis 020 7351 7878
Pierre Frey 0207 376 55 99
Robert Allen 01494 474741
Sacho Hesslein 020 7352 6168
Silk Gallery 020 7351 1790
Turnell and Gigon 020 7259 7280
Watts Westminster 020 7376 4486
Zimmer and Rhode 020 7351 7115
Zoffany 08708 300 350

Many of these fabric companies sell a wide range of products including: chenille, contract fabric, faux / fake leather, mohair velvet, linen velvet, cotton velvet, wool,  hand woven products, natural silk, cashmere and damask for upholstery, curtains and cushions.

Knit Back Fabric Backing

Schematic of stockinette stitch, the most basi...
Image via Wikipedia

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.

Fabric Treatment Companies – FR Flameproofing

silk velvet upholstery fabric textile FR Martindale RubsWe are often asked to recommend farbic treatment companies for flame retarding in contract installations. Most treatment comapanies offer other services such as; back coating fabric for walls, and stain resistance/repellency. There are several such companies in the UK and at various times we have used all of the following:

Essex Flameproofing,

Textiles FR, and

TEK Treatments

Just click the company name to take you to their web site. Please feel free to add comments to this posting recommending any suppliers you have used but any negative comments about other companies are not permitted on this site. Thank you.

Fabric Tips #13: Velvet Curtain Making

Image by tenz1225 via Flickr

Here are some additional pointers to consider when you are making a curtain using a velvet. Remember that a velvet is just a type of fabric and the fibre(s) that the velvet is made from is important.

So for example we would always recommend that you line a curtain. This gives a superior appearance but also reduced the amount of light going through the fabric hence limiting as much as possible the effect of any fading.

If the velvet has a pile that can be flattened in one direction then we would recommend that you have the pile going downwards for SHINY velvet fabrics and PATTERNED VELVETS.

If however you make up the curtain with the pile upwards then this will deepen the colour so you cold make the curtains this way for cotton velvets and Trevira Velvet and Mohair velvets.

These are general guidelines and it is not necessarily wrong if you make up the curtain ‘the other way’ just so long as you understand the implications to the finished look and performance of the material.

Fabric Tips #12: Rolling a velvet

Alpaca-wool.
Image via Wikipedia

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

Silk Velvet Upholstery Fabric TextileMohair Velvet is a type of fabric made from Mohair Wool. It is usually used for upholstery. A velvet is a fabric that is made in a certain way usually ending up with a pile; importantly it can be made from many different fibres including mixtures of fibres.

Mohair Velvet – A velvet made from natural Mohair Wool. Typically durable with high Martindale rub test results. Natural fibres give a degree of inherent fire retardancy.

Cotton velvet – A velvet made from natural cotton

Linen Velvet – a velvet made from natural linen typically an excellent domestic upholstery velvet.

Silk Velvet – Potentially beautiful and amazing velvet fabric made from silk but a high degree of quality variation across manufacturers.

CS Trevira – Made from synthetic Trevira. Excellent contract velvet.

Cashmere Silk Velvet – Extremely high quality luxury fabric. Mix of two natural fibres ie Cashmere Wool and Silk. Combines beauty with durability.

Vicuna Silk Velvet – Extremely high quality and rare luxury fabric. Rarely available as an interiors fabric.

Cotton & Silk Velvet – A less expensive way to strengthen the beauty of the silk with the strength of cotton. Cotton being cheaper than Cashmere wool for example!

Note also that a velvet is made with a back cloth material. It is not unusual for an extremely fine top market velvet to have a 100% cotton back cloth.

Black Velvet – Even Better Italian Silk Velvet In Black

Black Velvet – only to be enjoyed by those who appreciate that black is the new black! KOTHEA have a range of velvets with shades of black colourways in most of those velvet collections.

Black Diamond” is the colourway name for the Italian Silk Velvet (100% Silk Pile) with the code 777-108-900.

You can get black silk velvet samples here from KOTHEA if you are a trade professional. Just click the link.

KOTHEA velvets are the best in the market. We only sell top market fabrics, mostly to top European Interior Designers and Architects. Here are some more bits of technical information on our black Italian Silk velvet fabric:

Width: 140cm

Composition: 100% Silk Pile

No repeat, plain.

Abrasion: Martindale 20,000.

Available from stock, normal delivery within 5 days.

Minimum Order length: 2m

Silk Velvet Production Problems

We have recently had to change most of our Velvet production to mills in Europe. Along with some other fabric companies, we have been experiencing quality issues with Chinese produced silk velvet. It’s probably only happening at one or two mills but it has been a big headache for us as we have had to return some significant orders due to less than perfect quality issues. And it’s sometimes hard to get the mills to accept returns that are of OK quality but not excellent.

Anyway, just a heads-up. Check where your silk velvet is being manufactured and double check the quality.