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Velour vs Velvet: Know the Difference

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Velour vs velvet fabrics have a complex and rich history. They’ve also been commonly mistaken over the years due to their similar nature. Velvet, while older, is slightly now less commonly used than velour. However, more and more distinctions make velour vs. velvet prevalent.

In this guide, we breakdown what the true differences are in velour vs velvet, and shed light on their unique qualities.

What is Velour?

Velour fabric is a napped, cut pile knit fabric made from cotton-blend or all synthetic fibers. Velour (which derives from the french word “velvet”) is mostly made synthetically with polyester. Synthetic velour made from polyester (similar to the style Canvas Etc carries here) is inherently flame retardant.

Velour’s inherent flame retardant classification comes from the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 701 flame retardancy standard. This standard sets forth testing on fabrics to determine if they are resistant to fire. 

velour vs velvet amulet
Velour makes a wonderful backdrop for photography.

Velour’s inherent flame resistance means that it will remain flame retardant no matter the times it’s laundered. It remains fire retardant through the lifetime of the fabric without special added chemical processes.

What is Velvet?

Velvet is the traditionally natural, silk based version of velour. While there are silk rayon blends of velvet, silk itself usually makes up the knit fabric used for velvet.

Velvet is also a woven fabric. It usually has more of a sheen than velour because of the fibers used. Velvet is also a bit heavier than velour, but that ultimately depends on the blend of knitted fibers used in a velour fabric batch.

Velvet velveteen is in between a velvet and velour. It’s slightly more dense than velvet, but its cut pile is shorter than velvet itself. Overall, velvet is the high quality, more expensive base fabric over velour and velveteen.

The History of Velvet and Velour

Velvet is the precursor fabric that’s been used for centuries over velour. It can be found in use as early as approximately year 300! This fabric was initially used in the Middle East, and through trade ventured all across Europe.

Velvet, fashioned into garments for those of noble birth was harder to come by for the average person. If you were of royal descent or had the money, you would have been wearing the finest velvet in your garb. Velvet didn’t become the garment of the people until its synthetic counterpart, velour, was born.

Velour didn’t make its appearance until the mid-1800’s. Once made however, it’s cost-effective properties allowed for velour to become the fabric of the common-folk. Velour also had its peak moments in fashion during the 1970’s. Now, it’s used more for pipe and drape systems, or upholstery.

Velour vs Velvet: The Differences

As stated, velvet was the staple fabric that allowed for velour to take off. Although velvet is habitually made from natural silk or cotton, it can come in synthetic blends like velour.

Velvet is also made from longer cut piles, while velour has shorter cut piles. This means that while velour is plush and soft, velvet tends to feel softer and fuller than velour.

Velour is inherently flame retardant where velvet is not. Event industry coordinators usually prefer velour vs velvet for this reason. Overall, in the case where velour vs velvet, both velour and velvet have properties that depend on how its use in a product or application.

Velour and Velvet Projects

Both velour and velvet are great for different projects, like:

  • Drapery: If you’re updating your drapery at home or looking to provide an upscale feel to any event, both velour and velvet are elegant choices. If you’re hosting an event, velour vs. velvet works well due to its flame resistant properties. Velvet however adds beauty and class to any window treatment.
  • Upholstery: Sometimes your furniture needs an upgrade! Look no further than velvet or velour fabric. These fabric options bring any furniture to the next level. If you want a fabric with slightly more stretch, consider velour vs velvet.
  • Jewelry Protectors: You want to keep your jewelry safe from getting lost or tarnished. Both velvet and velour make excellent options for protecting your precious gems. These fabrics are soft enough to ensure your jewelry not only stays out of harm’s way, but doesn’t scratch up in the process.

If you’re still unsure of velour vs velvet, feel free to contact us! Our experts are standing by to assist you with your next project or event.

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