Velvet is just not for Christmas, even in the height of summer we are still dyeing our wonderful medium pile velvet for orders.
Step 1. Selecting the velvet and taking it off the pins.
The velvet we that we use is a viscose pile on a silk net. First we need to select the correct length of velvet from the natural white velvet stock remembering that velvet shrinks around 9% when it is dyed or washed for the first time, and remove the fabric carefully from the tension pins.
Step 2 Dyeing the Velvet
We normally use two dye groups mixed together; direct dyes for the viscose pile and acid dyes for the silk net. Sometimes we use reactive dyes and acid dyes but this is a lengthy and difficult process, in effect dyeing the cloth twice. Once under alkaline conditions followed by dyeing with an acid P.H. Salt is added to reduce the acidity of the water.
Step 3. Soaking velvet in softener
When the dyed velvet has been washed it will need soaking in a solution with softener. This will give the pile a soft feel. If this process is omitted the viscose can have a harsh handle.
Step 4. Spinning and tumble dry
After washing and softening the velvet is spun to remove any excess water from the fabric, then finishing the drying process in a tumble dryer. Tumble drying will produce the best finish it raises the pile and restore the softness of the fabric.
Step 5. Untangling and lapping
While the velvet is still tumbling but has dried, we need to quickly remove the fabric from the tumble dryer and untangle and lap it it before it cools, this reduces the amount if creasing in the fabric.
Step 6. Re-pinning and packing
Now the velvet is lapped and easier to handle can now stretch the fabric back on to pins, its quite a workout for your arms. This stops the pile from being crushed and keeps the velvet a smooth fluffy finish while in storage. Once the fabric is on the pins it is bagged, sealed and packed in a box ready for delivery.
When you next place an order for silk velvet – you now know the whole process it goes through to become a beautiful, vibrant colour. So which colour is your favourite?
Written and videos by Liz