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Yorkshire Fabric Shop Rainbow

What Is Velvet Used For?

If you asked someone what is velvet used for they’d probably struggle to go much beyond clothes or a cushion.

But get on any train or bus and you’re more than likely to be sitting on velvet.

Yes, you read it right. Velvet.

For many, the fabric is synonymous with decidedly dodgy wedding suits from the 1970s or American rock band The Velvet Underground but it’s a fabric that’s always been much in demand in ways most people would never have imagined. And it’s with us now as much as it’s always been and will continue to be one of the top fabrics for 2020.

Some velvets can be ultra-vibrant such as this Freedom print velvet CTR-472

Here at the Yorkshire Fabric Shop we have one of the UK’s best upholstery fabric ranges outside London with well over 4,000 fabrics on show … and the best part of a quarter of them are velvet. If the demand wasn’t there we wouldn’t have so many, simple as that.

You can even get unlimited upholstery fabric samples from us through the post to anywhere in the world so you can see and touch it for yourself rather than just looking online as it will look a slightly different shade on different computer screens. Beat that for gold old fashioned Yorkshire value, especially as we are now sending out around 300 a week to countries as diverse as Russia, Singapore, Australia and Alaska.

This blue velvet armchair is a real eye-catcher

The reason for velvet’s huge popularity is quite simple. Velvet is both comfortable and hard-wearing and even though it’s more expensive than other soft fabrics such as chenille and corduroy it’s well worth the initial outlay for how well it still looks after years of service, cushioning us on those interminable journeys to and from work.

Velvet designs can also be quite vibrant – it’s not unusual to see bright orange on our transport networks – or heavily patterned. And it’s a thick material, ideal for a pair of curtains to keep us tucked up and cosy on these bitter winter nights.

A chair that's out to grab the attention

So where did velvet originate from?

Well, it’s traditionally been manufactured from silk but can actually be made from several fibres such as rayon. In the UK people often associate velvet with nobility and royalty but it’s thought to have originated from Eastern culture with pieces of velvet dating back to 200BC found in China. Told you it was hard-wearing. Iraq and Egypt are also thought to have been two of the earliest velvet pioneers.

When it comes to velvet in the UK, the most famous piece has to be the purple velvet on the Imperial State Crown which quite nicely sets off the rest of it that includes a gold frame with three large stones, an incredible 2,868 diamonds in silver mounts along with 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 269 pearls. Despite all the jewels, the purple velvet still stands out. By the way, the crown was made for the coronation of King George VI on May 12, 1937 although most people only remember seeing Queen Elizabeth wearing it at her Coronation on June 2, 1953.

Velvet prices start at £26.99 a metre and go up to £199.99 a metre and that’s because it’s an expensive fabric to produce as it’s woven rather than knitted.

A corner suite given a new lease of life thanks to velvet

A knitted fabric is made up of a single yarn, continuously looped so it has a braided appearance. A woven yarn is made from several yarns crossing each other at right angles to make a more durable material and it also means it can be cut more easily into different shapes.

Don’t forget to check out the Customer Creations section on our website to see the brilliant ways our customers have used velvet as both an upholstery fabric and a curtain fabric along with a few other weird and wonderful ‘fabrications’.


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