Mohair velvet is a fabric much sought after by interior designers. It is sold in a wide range of qualities and is sometimes used as a generic term for velvets when, in fact, there are very many differing and sometimes superior compositions available than just those made with ‘mohair’.
Velvet is a type of tufted fabric woven with a warp pile. It has a short dense pile of 3mm or less (‘plush’ has a pile longer than 3mm) and a distinctive feel. During production wires lift the yarn creating small loops which are either cut or left depending on the desired finish. Velvets tend to take colour very well and also tend to be hard-wearing with a high degree of suitability for varied uses; they were typically hard to clean but that problem is mostly solved with modern dry-cleaning.
What’s in a velvet?
Kashmir was probably the birth-place of velvet in the early 1300s but by the 16th Century Bruges had become the leading source of what at the time was a definitive luxury item. Luxury velvets are still made in Europe as well as in Asia.
The original velvets were typically silk velvet. With the passing of time and increasing technical sophistication it has become easily possible to make velvets from many natural and synthetic yarns. At KOTHEA we have velvets at the top end of the quality range made from fine yarns including Linen Velvet, Cashmere-Silk Velvet, Linen Velvet, Cotton Velvet, Wool Velvet and of course Mohair Velvet. Other velvets available in the market have compositions that include polyester, nylon, viscose, acetate or mixtures. Sometimes small amounts of lycra are included to give the fabric stretch.
Hotels, Yachts and many public places have strict requirements for fabrics both for fire retardancy and wear, usually measured in the UK by an abrasion test (commonly referred to as Martindale or ‘rub test’). Some of KOTHEA’s Mohair Velvets are highly suitable in such environments with a certified Martindale of 100,000 – which is more than the usual contract requirement of between 20,000 – 30,000.
We have many velvets of differing compositions (Silk Velvets, Cotton Velvets, Linen Velvets, etc.) and we were interested to see how one of the velvets, at the very highest end of our range, would perform. So we used SGS to test one of our Cashmere Silk Velvets (75% Cashmere 25% Silk).
The tests were undertaken in accordance with BSEN14455 (based on BSENISO12947) and a result of 13,000 rubs was obtained, which considering the perceived delicacy of the product was fantastic. 13,000 rubs make the product suitable for light usage such as residential.
Some fabrics can be too fragile for use as upholstery unless knit backed. Knit backing is a process whereby, for example, a cotton polyester backing is applied to a lighter weight chenille, silk or cotton.
Essentially the fabric‘s life is increased with better durability and resilience. The handling characteristics of the fabric can be improved; and knit backing also helps prevent seam slippage.
The same principle applies for the fabric whether or not it is to be used for either upholstery or wall covering. There will certainly be other requirements for contract usage, say, in hotels and aviation and also other treatments like fire retardancy or stain protection would be required for contract upholstery.
We are often asked to recommend fabric treatment companies for flame retarding in contract installations. Most treatment companies offer other services such as; back coating fabric for walls and stain resistance/repellency. There are several such companies in the UK and at various times we have used all of the following:
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