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Oct 15th

Luxury Velvet – A Little Bit of History

The History of Velvet

Early Velvets

Simon has been making beautiful bridge cloths from luxury velvet for over quarter of a century. Long prized as a luxurious fabric, the roots of velvet span as far back as 2000BC. First made in Egypt, this luxury fabric was so precious and highly prized that it was only available to royalty and the fabulously wealthy. The earliest velvets were made by a special and time-consuming weaving process whereby the warp was woven over rods or wires to make loops of thread. These were then either left as loops or trimmed to make the characteristic tufts of fibre which are so fantastic at both absorbing and reflecting light, giving velvet a unique and sumptuous richness of colour.

Silk Velvet

The most sumptuous velvets were made from silk, and this is thought to have originated in China by at least the 13th century. The extra silk thread needed to make the loops added to the cost of production, making velvet a luxury fabric only available to the elite. In 1400 to 1600, highly skilled artesans in Italy and Spain developed and refined the technique of making decorative and patterned velvets which are so typical of the Renaissance period.

These medieval craftsmen were meticulous in their work. Quality was taken very seriously and was governed by guilds and the law (inferior batches had to be destroyed). The techniques became closely guarded secrets and some craftsmen were prohibited from leaving their native cities for fear that they might pass on trade secrets to competitors!

Cotton Velvet

In the early 1900’s silk became scarce so manufacturers turned to other yarns for velvet production such as cotton, linen and rayon. With new materials being developed throughout the 20th century, velvet is now made from bamboo, lyocell, modal and polyester too.

Luxury Velvet Bridge Cloths

The velvet that Simon uses for the Luxury Velvet Bridge Cloths is made in England from cotton. The North of England has a rich history in creating cotton textiles. The manufacturer we use continues to maintain the standards and principles of high quality production in the making of velvets, which have been handed down through the generations, whilst adding a modern touch to this time honoured fabric. When we receive a batch of velvet, we put it through several more finishing processes in-house to refine and enhance the quality further, making our velvet unique to us. Each piece is thoroughly inspected before it’s made into a Luxury Velvet Bridge Cloth to ensure the highest standards of quality.

To see the Simon Lucas range of Luxury Velvet Bridge Cloths, click here.

Luxury Velvet Bridge Cloth


Thank you to the following sources of information:

The Velvet Lab

The Met Museum

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