That most luscious of fabrics, that silk pile that you love to run your hands over, that drape, that decadence…who doesn’t love velvet? But how is it made? First off, a quick disclaimer. Most commercially available silk velvets are NOT 100% silk velvet. 100% silk velvet is almost prohibitively expensive, coming in at approximately $150-$200 per yard or more. Generally what one finds is a silk/rayon blend, where the backing is silk and the pile is rayon, or vice versa. Average cost of this silk/rayon blend velvet will run between $29.99-$39.99/yard.
So how is it made? There are actually two methods of weaving velvet. The first is to warp two looms next to each other, then the weft threads are woven through both, before being carefully cut away, giving you two pieces of velvet. This is also known as a double woven pile fabric
The second method of weaving velvet is when the pile ends (weft threads) are woven over wires which will cut the threads as the wires are lifted off after weaving.
Silk velvet may be given several factory finishes which can make it crush resistant and/or water resistant, which adds to the wearability of the fabric. However, you can buy pin boards for ironing or working with velvet. These boards were the norm for plush fabrics until modern manufacturing and finishes made the crush resistant finishes.