These three fabrics are closely related, and many people are unable to distinguish between them, unless you happen to be a person who works often with fabrics, or has a professional interest in them. These three are described below, with the similarities and differences noted so you can easily remember them in the future.
Velvet can be identified clearly by its nap or pile weave, as opposed to flat textiles which lack this type of weave. An additional set of lengthwise yarns on top of the background fabric is what provides this unique texture to velvet. Once the fabric has been woven, the nap or pile can be cut, and a great many variations can be achieved for a finished pattern. It is often used in home decor for upholstery, and in fine curtains and drapes, because it has a very rich, elegant appearance and a luxurious feel.
There are several different kinds of velvet which can be obtained, depending on the cut used for the finished product:
- Panne velvet– by pressing the cut pile into the same direction, a flattened pile can be achieved to give the velvet the kind of shimmering effect you might see on a pond surface
- Crushed velvet– with the nap pressed into several different directions, a distinctive appearance is achieved
- Burnout or stamped velvet– several different methods can be used to either dissolve the pile or burn it into various patterns. When using metallic hot cylinders to burn the velvet, you can achieve a finished product known as stamped velvet, and when it’s dissolved by chemicals it’s then referred to as burnout velvet
- Nacre velvet– a modified pearly appearance is achieved by combining the pile of one color with the backing of another color.
Velveteen is often thought of as the cotton version of velvet, and since its appearance around 1810, several different versions have been created, starting with one that featured an additional set of filling yarns replacing the warp yarns of true velvet. Another velveteen variation was actually made entirely out of cotton, and was comprised of interlocking rows of pile and woven filling yarns, which imparted a unique texture and appearance to the fabric. Velveteen is rarely more than 3 mm deep, and it does not drape as well as velvet, which is why it is not commonly used as a material for curtains or drapes
Velour is a version of velvet which is entirely knitted, and the relationship between the two can be surmised just by translating the French word, which means ‘velvet’. Finished versions of this knitted fabric are created from cotton, polyester, acetate, rayon, or some combination of these, and it is frequently used in the clothing industry for all kinds of garments. It has draping properties similar to true velvet, which makes it suitable for use in curtains and drapes as well as the garment industry.