Velour is a fabric that is similar to velvet, with a thick, soft nap that makes it luxurious to the touch. Unlike velvet, however, velour is a knit, which changes the properties of the fabric rather dramatically and makes it highly stretchy. There are many uses for this fabric, including upholstery, clothing, cloth diapers and pillowcases. Many fabric supply stores carry velour in an assortment of colors and in large quantities.
Characteristics and Uses
This fabric's ability to stretch is why it is often chosen for workout and casual wear, because it will give easily with the movements of the wearer. Velour typically is made from cotton, which makes it very plush, easy to care for and affordable. It might also be made from artificial materials, such as polyester, depending on the manufacturer and the intended use. Extremely elastic fibers are used by some manufacturers to make it especially stretchy and flexible.
In upholstery applications, this fabric is found on couches, on car seats and in drapery. The fabric is often used because it is more giving than velvet and less likely to become damaged through hard wear. It also is relatively easy to care for, especially when compared with velvet. When velour is used as upholstery, it might be treated with flame-resistant compounds or made from a flame-resistant thread to increase safety. This is especially important with drapery.
Some consumers think of velour as a luxury fabric because it is extremely soft to the touch and often has a faint shimmer that is caused by the nap's fluctuation as it moves, reflecting ambient light. Other people might choose to classify this fabric as a cheap and sometimes gaudy imitation of velvet because it is often dyed in various colors. The similarity to velvet is often exploited to make luxurious looking clothing for a low price, especially in the theater industry. These fabrics are very different from each other, however, and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.
The best way to care for velour is washing it in cold water with similar colors. In some cases, this fabric can be put in an electric clothes dryer on a low setting, but in other instances, it should be dried flat to avoid damaging the nap. Velour furniture can be cleaned with vacuum attachments or professionally cleaned it if becomes stained or damaged. Dry cleaning also is an option, although dry cleaning can sometimes distort the nap of the fabric, causing it to look rather peculiar and feel uncomfortable.