Velvet is a woven fabric in which upright fluff, the so-called pile of silk or cotton, is woven into the warp threads and cut. Nowadays other fabrics such as linen, wool, mohair, and synthetic fabrics are also used. Sometimes a little lycra is added to achieve a degree of elasticity.
Velvet is a soft and fine, shiny fabric, traditionally used for precious clothing. The velvet weaving technique, originating in Asia, flourished in Italy around 1400, particularly in Lucca, Florence, Venice, and Genoa; The last city is still a velvet center. In the 16th century, Bruges became a center of velvet weavers, which was not inferior in quality to the Italian example. Velvet was also woven in other places, but to a lesser extent.
Velvet is woven with a special type of loom. The Metex machine is a special type of weaving machine designed for the production of velvet. The weft is inserted into the bottom shed of a double shed opening. The pile is obtained by placing steel rods or rods in the top shed. During the extraction of the rod from the pile, one can choose between cut or uncut pile or a combination of both. We can distinguish the rods in two large groups.
A well-known type of velvet is ‘velvet de Gênes’ (velvet from Genoa) or cut velvet. In this old traditional technique, the pile is cut manually. A cut pile is obtained by attaching a small knife to the end of the rod. When pulling out the rod, all the (pile) wires that lie over it are nicely cut in half. Jacquard techniques allow patterns to be woven in, a technique that was very popular in the 16th century. This type of velvet is used in furniture, heavy clothing, and especially religious robes.
First, there are the rods to create a looped pile. Because there is a nog knife on the end, the wires that lie over the rod are not cut open and an uncut pile is obtained. Silk velvet is very precious, is manufactured in Europe, and is often used by gold embroiderers, including for robes. The deep color makes the fabric ideal for wearing heavy gold embroidery.
In addition to these two types, there is also a third possibility: one can weave two rods one above the other with the wire flex. In this way, one gets relief.
Below you see different fashion styles in velvet:
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