The most suggested fabric for use in theatrical productions is velour. We are going to talk about everything about velour fabric in this blog.
Velour fabric’s precise history is a little hazy, but we do know it has been used since the middle of the 19th century and that it is a soft, plush fabric akin to velvet. Velour is thought to be less expensive than velvet and was/is a common material for upholstery.
To learn more about this opulent, empowering fabric from the 1970s, read our guide below.
What is Velour Fabric?
Originating from the French word for velvet, velour is highly similar to velvet and velveteen. Velour is a pile knit fabric as opposed to velvet, which is a pile weave, making it easier to make and a little less opulent.
Velour is frequently used as a material for stage curtains because it is more resilient than velvet while retaining many of the desirable qualities of this opulent fabric.
Advantages of Velour Fabric
- Knitted, so it is stretchy
- Comfortable, casual
- Very soft
- Luxurious look
- Soft drape
- Sheen to the fabric
- Machine washable
Disadvantages of Velour Fabric
- Raw edges can curl and fray badly
- Pills and snags easily
- Can get caught easily when sewing
- Can have shrinkage
- Can wear out with the use
- Dust absorbent
History of Velour Fabric
The origin of velour is a subject of considerable debate, but the majority of authorities seem to concur that it was first produced in the Far East and then transported to Europe via the Silk Road.
‘The French word for velvet is “velour.” Pieces of velvet from ancient dynasties, dating as far back as 206 BCE, have been discovered in China, though they aren’t technically velour.
Cairo and Iraq were major producers of velvet in the year 2000 BC, producing the material for affluent people and royalty. Velvet used to be an extremely expensive, high-end luxury good because it took so long to make.
Beginning in the 1840s with the production of cloth bolts, velour, the less expensive alternative to velvet, was mass-produced. A variety of velour with distinctive finishes like cotton, wool, ribbed, and polyester became available on the market as the fabric gained popularity.
Velour was initially mocked for its history in furniture, and up until the 1970s, it was mostly used for upholstery and household items. Velour only started to catch on in clothing in the late 1960s and early 1970s, however.
How is Velour Fabric Made?
As mentioned, another aspect that separates what is velour from velvet is how it is made. In comparison to the process used to create velvet, the production of velour fabric only requires three steps.
Fiber Yarn Production
The right material for velour needs to be purchased by the manufacturers first. Velour was once made from cotton, much like velvet was in the past, but these days it is made from polyester.
Polyester is made out of various chemicals, petroleum, and coal. The next step is to liquefy and extrude these materials into thick fibers that resemble yarn using spinnerets.
The Weaving Process
Previously, velvet was created using a unique type of handloom that weaves two fabrics at once. This procedure takes a lot of time, so velour was made using the pile knit method, which is quicker and simpler.
To ensure quality and durability after weaving, the velour fabric would need to go through a number of after-care procedures. Following the weaving process will be the dyeing procedure.
Types of Velour Fabric
Over the years, as velour has continuously developed, different types of velour fabric have emerged. Here are a few different velour fabric varieties.
What is leather velour? Velour leather is distinguished by a soft surface and is renowned for being a delicate type of leather. It is a type of textile made from animal hides that resembles suede and chamois. This kind of leather is frequently used in the manufacture of shoes, watch bands, jackets, and furniture upholstery.
Given that it is made of polyester fibers, synthetic velour is more affordable than cotton velour. Conveniently, it is also flame retardant, so stage curtains are frequently made of it to fend off fire danger.
The only difference between synthetic and cotton velour is that the former has a less soft texture. This makes this particular kind of velour infrequently used as a fabric for clothing.
Synthetic velour as compared to cotton velour is cheaper as it is made out of polyester fibers. Conveniently, it is also flame retardant, so stage curtains are frequently made of it to fend off fire danger. Synthetic velour is identical to cotton velour apart from its texture which is less soft. Because of this, this kind of velour is rarely used for clothing.
Velour and duvetyne are very similar. The theater industry frequently uses this twill-woven velvet-like material as stage curtains, backdrops, and theatrical cyclorama.
Velvet is what velour was made to imitate. It is luxurious and soft and is produced with either cotton or synthetic fibers. Before, making velvet was a laborious and time-consuming process, but eventually, manufacturers discovered a more productive method of making velvet: machine looms.
Velveteen is produced using the same method that makes velvet so expensive. But velveteen differs from silk because cotton is used in its production rather than silk. It is less expensive as a result. The price difference between these two is still noticeable when made without synthetic fibers.
How is Velour Fabric Used?
Currently, stage curtains are velour’s most prominent application. Velour is still in high demand by theatrical companies all over the world, despite the fact that its use in clothing has significantly decreased over the past few decades.
Most live theaters have multiple velour stage curtains on hand as backups and even movie theaters often use velour as a screen border material.
Additionally, upholstery made of velour is still a fairly common choice. However, since velour isn’t particularly fashionable right now, the majority of pieces of furniture with velour upholstery are vintage or antique.
Velour tracksuits, sweaters, shirts, skirts, blouses, jackets, and pants are among the clothing options. Another modern application of velour is as a lining material attached to the inside of jewelry boxes.
How to Care for Velour Fabric?
Velour is best cared for by being washed in cold water with fabrics of similar hues. Sometimes, this fabric can be dried on a low setting in an electric dryer, but other times, it needs to be dried flat to protect the nap.
Velour furniture can be cleaned with vacuum attachments or professionally cleaned it if becomes stained or damaged. Another choice is dry cleaning, though this method occasionally causes the fabric’s nap to change, giving the finished product an odd appearance and unsettling feel.
Final Words: Velour Fabric
Velour is a material that resembles velvet and has a plush, thick nap. Unlike velvet, however, velour is a knit, which changes the properties of the fabric rather dramatically and makes it highly stretchy.
Velour is widely accepted in theaters and for upholstery even though it is not frequently used in the clothing industry. One of the most dependable fabrics, thanks to its rough but sturdy texture.
What is the Difference Between Velour and Velvet?
Although not as thick as velvet, velour is a knitted fabric with a medium pile and similar characteristics. The main difference between classic velvet and velour is the stretch you get with velour which opens its usage up to more accessible designs.
Why is Velour So Expensive?
That and its all-natural silk fibers contributed to its higher price. Velour is typically much more stretchable than velvet because it is knitted.
Is Velour a Good Quality?
Unlike velvet, which is a pile weave fabric, velour is a pile knit fabric, making it easier to make and a little less opulent. Velour is more durable than velvet while retaining many of the desirable properties of this luxurious fabric, which has led to its extensive use as a stage curtain material.