Fabric Tips #11: Mohair Velvet – How To Store

Alpaca-wool can be made into luxurious alpaca velvet
Image via Wikipedia – Alpaca Wool can be made into luxurious alpaca velvet…if you can find it

How to store Velvet.

The same instructions apply to all velvets.

Some background first: As an interior designer you buy and handle many fabrics. You may have wondered why some fabrics come in rolls of up to 100m whereas other come in much smaller lengths. Is this because of their value? The likelihood of them being sold quickly enough? Or perhaps longer lengths of some fabrics would be just to heavy for someone in a warehouse to physically carry or indeed too heavy for a courier to carry? Or perhaps it’s something to do with the thickness of the roll?

Well there is some truth no doubt in all of these reasons and others to. But one very important consideration with a velvet and especially with a Mohair velvets is the weight of the fabric and the weight of the fabric ON ITSELF. Because velvets have a pile they are thicker and heavier than other fabrics as they contain more material; similarly some velvets such as many mohair velvets have a dense pile…again more fabric and more weight.

There comes a point when the sheer weight of the roll of fabric becomes too much for the pile of the first part of the wrapped fabric on the roll and the inherent weight of all the fabric can cause damage to the pile. So velvets and especially mohair velvets have smaller lengths on the roll. Sometimes 25m but sometimes also 40m and 50m per roll.

So the length of fabric on a roll will be impacted by the weight of the fabric per linear metre AND the fact that a pile fabric can be more affected by added weight than other fabric.

So, how to store.

1. Store horizontally

2. Store with no other, external weight applied to the fabric.

3. Covered up to avoid exposure to dirt and dust i the air  -especially if stored for long periods

Typically you will find that many of our velvets come to you in special containers where the velvet is on a roll and suspended by special cardboard ends in the boxes. For small volumes of velvet on a single roll there is often no need for these special containers. Where the velvets are supplied in suspended roll containers it is safe to store the velvet in this form. Ideally youwould have a horizontal racking system for rolls of fabric as lengths can easily be cut off as and when you need them but cleary most interior designers do not have this facility.

The safest method of course is to let your supplier hold the stock and order cut lengths from them. It de-risks you damaging the fabric. Unless of course the supplier can specifically reserve entire rolls just for you, you would have the potential problem of dye lot or batch variation of colour with many fabric dyes. There would normally be a charge for an additional service such as this.

Mohair Velvet & Other Velvets

Silk Velvet Upholstery Fabric TextileMohair Velvet is a type of fabric made from Mohair Wool. It is usually used for upholstery. A velvet is a fabric that is made in a certain way usually ending up with a pile; importantly it can be made from many different fibres including mixtures of fibres.

Mohair Velvet – A velvet made from natural Mohair Wool. Typically durable with high Martindale rub test results. Natural fibres give a degree of inherent fire retardancy.

Cotton velvet – A velvet made from natural cotton

Linen Velvet – a velvet made from natural linen typically an excellent domestic upholstery velvet.

Silk Velvet – Potentially beautiful and amazing velvet fabric made from silk but a high degree of quality variation across manufacturers.

CS Trevira – Made from synthetic Trevira. Excellent contract velvet.

Cashmere Silk Velvet – Extremely high quality luxury fabric. Mix of two natural fibres ie Cashmere Wool and Silk. Combines beauty with durability.

Vicuna Silk Velvet – Extremely high quality and rare luxury fabric. Rarely available as an interiors fabric.

Cotton & Silk Velvet – A less expensive way to strengthen the beauty of the silk with the strength of cotton. Cotton being cheaper than Cashmere wool for example!

Note also that a velvet is made with a back cloth material. It is not unusual for an extremely fine top market velvet to have a 100% cotton back cloth.

Fabric Design 101 :: Warp, Weft, Selvage & Their Influence On Colourways

Hand-woven tablecloths, napkins, table mats and table runners from KOTHEA
Hand-woven tablecloths, napkins, table mats ad table runners from KOTHEA

This short article will tell you what the warp, weft and selvage of a fabric are. Then how easily, or not, colours in each can be changed in handwoven fabrics.

The Americanism ‘101’ normally means the introductory, grounding ‘lesson/lecture’ in a subject. So most interior designers already know that:

– WEFT is the crosswise thread that inter­laces with the warp threads on a woven fabric. ie it is the thread that goes from LEFT to right. (Weft and Left rhyme so that’s how you remember it)

– WARP is group of yarns placed first on a loom in weaving. These can be 100s of metres long running throughout the entire roll of fabric that you eventually buy.  Warp runs parallel to the selvage, forming the length of the fabric. The filling threads are interlaced over and under the warp threads in a pattern or weave.

– SELVAGE is the long, outer, finished edge of both sides of a woven fabric that does not ravel because the filling yarns wrap around the warp yarns. It may also be called self-edge or selvedge.

OK, so now if we take a few steps back to the design of a simple woven fabric. KOTHEA, for example, produce handwoven linens to order, often in small quantities. How do we plan to do this? One clever trick is to keep a plain, natural or white coloured yarn in the warp and then introduce colours into the weft as needed. Why? Much of the time consuming process of setting up a loom is in setting up the yarns for the warp. Yarns for the weft can be changed relatively easily without changing the warp yarn.

Simple but great for our customers who need the exclusivity and beauty of handwoven linens and who do not want the large minimum order quantities that can come with that.

Martindale vs Wyzenbeek – Rub Test By Abrasion Explained


Both Wyzenbeek and Martindale are abrasion or rub tests. They are however different tests which test different properties and success in one test does not infer success in the other. Wyzenbeek involves rubbing along the warp and weft of the fabric whereas Martindale is a figure-8 rub. The video clip shows a testing machine in action…not very exciting stuff. This article continues and gives summary information to assist Interior Designers to specify the right levels of abrasion resistance – usually for upholstery.

In more detail then:

For Heavy Duty Usage you should specify:
30,000 double rubs Wyzenbeek method; or

40,000 cycles Martindale method.

End use examples of heavy-duty installations, where upholstery fabrics rated at 30,000 double rubs, should be appropriate are: single shift corporate, hotel rooms/suites; conference rooms; and dining area usage.

There are extreme wear situations that may require higher levels of abrasion resistance. End use examples that may require higher than 30,000 double rubs include: 24 hours transportation terminals, 24 hour telemarketing, 24 hour healthcare emergency rooms, 24 hour casino gambling areas, and such public gathering places as theatres, stadiums, lecture halls and fast food restaurants.

It is strongly suggested that double rubs exceeding 100,000 are not meaningful in providing additional value in use. Higher abrasion resistance does not necessarily indicate a significant extension of the service life of the fabric.

Click To Read More Interior Design Articles
Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

The Wyzenbeek and Martindale tests are the two methods commonly used to predict wear-ability. Actual performance is determined by many factors such as fiber content, weaves, finishes, furniture design, maintenance, cleaning, and usage. Durability of an upholstery fabric is a complex interaction (combination) of a number of performance tests that, in addition to abrasion, includes seam slippage, piling, tensile strength, and usage.

There is no correlation between the Wyzenbeek and Martindale tests so it is not possible to estimate the number of cycles that would be achieved on one test if the results from the other test were known.

A Wyzenbeek machine is used for this test allowing sample of the test fabric to be pulled tight in a frame and held stationary. Individual test specimens cut from the warp and weft direction are then rubbed back and forth using an approved fabric as the abradant. The number of double rub cycles achieved before two yarn breaks occur or noticeable wear is observed is recorded as the fabric’s abrasion rating.

This is an oscillating test. Fabric samples are mounted flat and rubbed in a figure eight like motion using a piece of worsted wool cloth as the abradant. The number of cycles that the fabric can endure before fabric shows objectionable change in appearance (yarn breaks, piling, holes) is counted. Number of cycles determines abrasion rating.

Inferring one result from another:

Despite what you will read on other web sites including the sites of some of the best known fabric houses in the world you simply cannot infer a Wyzenbeek score from a Martindale score or vice versa. However as said earlier for Heavy Duty usage you might specify: 30,000 double rubs Wyzenbeek method OR 40,000 cycles Martindale method. So in that sense you can say that for a certain level of usage the Martindale result needs to be 33% higher than the Wyzenbeek. But you CANNOT say that if a fabric scores 100,000 Wyzenbeek then there is no point in undertaking a Martindale test as you “know” its result would be 133,333 – that would simply be wrong; the Martindale could be higher or lower, you have to test it.

If this post does supply you with enough information please comment below or email us and we will expand it.

For more information on luxury cashmere throws or to request cuttings please visit www.kothea.com.  For black faux leather upholstery fabrics try <here> and for mohair velvet and mohair velvet upholstery fabric please follow the links.  Upholstery Linen is also one of our specialities as are luxury  silk velvet  fabrics.