The following has been compiled to further the understanding of velvets. The luxuriance, richness and charm of velvet drapes is time honoured. Few, however, are aware of the complexities involved in its manufacture and the hazards prevailing in transportation due to its delicate nature.
Extreme technical exactness is demanded in the production of velvet, to which there are limitations. Velvet is produced by weaving two sides as one simultaneously, while in weaving, these two sides, which are joined by the pile yarn, are cut with a knife. Theoretically, the joining pile should be cut equally. Due to pressure variances, however, the lower pile can be cut longer or shorter than the upper pile.
Minor variations in knife control can crop small tufts of pile, which normally are not visible on surface inspection. When drapes are drawn across in strong daylight, however cropped pile areas can become apparent. This irregularity, commonly described as ‘pinholes’, is not impairment in quality, but an inherent characteristic of velvet. In manufacturing terms, this falls with the internationally established levels of acceptable tolerance.
Blackout lining is recommended, not only to protect the curtains against fading, but also to eliminate the visibility of pinholes or any other such irregularities. If sateen or other non-blackout linings are used, such irregularities may still remain apparent.
Velvet curtains should be sewn with the pile running up. This reduces light reflection and results in a richer, deeper depth of colour.
Pressure of handling marks is also less obvious with the pile running upward. Furthermore, pile distortion, the result of pressure, will adjust more rapidly when velvet curtains are sewn pile upward.
No matter how carefully velvet is packaged, crushing in transit can occur. It is a problem to which no easy solution exists. Pile distortion, caused by weight, alters the angle of light reflection, producing bands of light and dark, which are often mistaken as ‘uneven dyeing’. The weight of hanging, helped by atmospheric changes, corrects pile distortion and the effect will ‘drop out’ after a short time. A more prompt remedy is to steam iron the velvet on the backing side. Hung velvet curtains must be given time to settle in.
For upholstery use, please ensure to use Dacron or Calico over all furniture cushions as velvet pile will be prone to pulling and damage the face of the fabric.
For drapery use, please ensure to manufacture all drapes with pile 'running up' to reduce light reflection enabling a richer, depth of colour. Pin marks and bar marks, which are characteristic of velvet, will also be less visible.
Our spot cleaning advice is offered in good faith and should not be considered as a guarantee that all stains may be removed. For severe stains please consult a professional cleaning company.
Spot cleaning - treat spills and stains and soon as possible. Test on hidden area to ensure fabric and colour are not removed. Gently scrape any soil or mop any liquid from the surface of the fabric. Use of soap or detergent with water shoul dbe approached with caustion since oversealous rinsing to remove soap residue may result in over wetting, water marking an dpossible wetting of substructure (this may create other stains or damage products).
For non oil-based stains - use warm water and non toilet soaps which do not contain optical brighteners (consider Velvet Soap, Lux Flakes, Softly) Mix a small amount of soap and warm water solution and apply to the stain, rubbing gently. Blot dry with a clean towel. Apply cool water (preferably rain or distilled water) and blot dry again. Then with a hair dryer working out for the centre of the stain, dry quickly to prevent rings forming. It is generally perferable to clean whole panels of fabric in this way rather than trying to spot clean specific areas.
For oil-based stains - following the same basic guidelines as above, apply a propreitary brand solvent based cleaner and try to clean generally in panels rather than spot cleaning specific areas. A helpful industry 'secret' is for spot removal of oil based biro marks by the application of a conventional hair spray.
Alcoholic beverages - after the moisture has been blotted up, dab at the stain with a clean cloth dampened in rubbing alcohol. Then blot repeatedly with liquid detergent mixed with cool water. Blot dry with a towel. Dab again with clear cool water and blot dry.
Blood - after the moisture has been blotted up, dab at the stain with a clean cloth dampened in rubbing alcohol. Then blot repeatedly with liquid detergent mixed with cool water. Blot dry with a towel. Dab again with clear cool water and blot dry.
Chewing gum - rub an ice cube over the gum to harden it, then scrape off excess with a dull knife. To remove what's left, use dry cleaning fluid.
Chocolate (and other soft candy) - this is a combination great / non-greasy stain. Scrape excess away, then go over the spot with cool water mixed with liquid detergent. Blot thoroughly and then clean with dry cleaning fluid.
Coffee and Tea - sponge with warm water. Apply warm glycerine. Leave for 30 mins. Flush out with water and dry quickly.
Cosmetics - sponge with warm water. Apply war glycerine. Leave fir 30 mins. Flush out with water and dry quickly.
Fruit and Fuit Juices - After excess is blotted up or scraped away, blot the spot with cool water. If a stain remains, add liquid detergent and a drop of vinegar to the water. Dab the spot with this mixture and blot until there is no trace of a stain. Then go over the are lighly with clear water to remove traces of vinegar.
Grease (including hair grease and oil) - scrape away excess if necessary and then dab repeatedly at the stain with dry cleaning fluid. If any stain remains, go over the area with a lukewarm mixture of liquid detergent and water. Always make sure you use a clean portion so you don't put the stain back in the fabric. Last, go over the area with a clean cloth moistened with cool clear water.
Ice cream - scrape away excess and apply cool water mixed with liquid detergent, blotting frequently with a dry cloth so as not to saturate the fabric. Let dry and then over any remaining stain with dry cleaning fluid. Blot dry.
Ink - moisten with warm glycerine. Leave for 10 mins. Apply liquid detergent and brush lightly. Flush out with water and dry quickly.
Iodine - Rub with cut lemon before sponging with warm water. Apply small quantity of detergent with clean cloth. Blot stain then remove soapy residue with cloth wrung out in warm water and white vinegar solution (1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water).
Milk and vomit - Blot or scrape away the excess, then take a clean soft cloth and blot. Apply clear cool water to the area, blotting frequently. Then blot with a detergent solution to which you've added a small amount of ammonia. Blot dry and wait and few minutes. Go over the area with dry cleaning fluid, blot dry. Finally, blot the area lightly with a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol.
Soft drinks, sweets and syrups - Sponge with water, add warm glycerine and work into stain. Flush out with water and dry.
Shoe polish - apply liquid paraffin to loosen the stain, then sponge with dry cleaning fluid.
Urine - it is especially important to treat this stain right away, before the urine dries. Otherwise, the urine may react with the fabric dyes and cause permanent discolouration. First, dab at the stain with a solution of white vinegar and water and blot dry. Then apply a mixture of liquid detergent and cool water, blotting frequently and with a dry cloth to avoid saturating the fabric. Finally, dab with clear cool water and blot thoroughly.
Water spots - Blot thoroughly and then dampen the entire spot with clear white vinegar. Wait a few minutes. When the area is dry, moisten it again with clear water, blotting with a dry cloth after every application of the damp cloth. If the fabric has a pile, brush in the direction of the pile when it is dry.