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What Color is Velvet? 

You might find yourself asking, "What is Velvet?" Read on to find out exaclty what velvet is, where velvet comes from, what colors go well with velvet and more.

Dark red velvet material

Most people know velvet when they see it, however, there are probably a lot of things about it the average person does not know. It is definetly a very unique and interesting material.

Velvet is a fabric used in everything from fashion to housewares that provides thick, luxurious material for warmth and opulence, but the fabric became popular originally as a deep shade of red used by royalty for their clothing.

Eventually, the original royal red color velvet evolved to include other primary colors, such as blue and green. Eventually, those became blended to create purple velvet and black velvet. The variety in color and hue increased its popularity. Eventually, everyone from royalty to the working class wore velvet garb in every color imaginable.

As a material, velvet gets used as a material in formal gowns, skirts, and jackets most frequently when used in clothing. Drapes provide the most common use in housewares. The heavy weight of the fabric provides inherent warmth, and it frequently appears in the designs for blackout curtains and soundproofing curtains. You can also find it used as an upholstery material, as a wall hanging, for formal robes, bedding, and even as a hat material.

What Color is Velvet Red? The Original Color

Crushed red velvet

Of course, fabrics have color and velvet initially appeared on the scene as a dyed fabric in the shade comprised of 58% red, 18% green, and 25% blue – red velvet color. This shade of red doesn’t quite approach the depth of crimson, nor is it so bright that you’d need sunglasses. If you see a red velvet cake, that velvet color actually goes a bit darker than the original fabric. The velvet color code would therefore require:

  • 58% Red #783b38 (120, 59, 26)
  • 25% Blue #0d6183 (13, 97, 131)
  • 18% Green #127453 (18, 116, 83).
Slice of delicious redvelvet cake, two layers, plated on a cute wooden platter with wooden spoon on a wooden table

What Colors Go with Velvet?

Every color goes with velvet, because velvet comes in every color. You might find a crayon titled velvet, but today, you can find the material velvet in every hue and shade. Black velvet has become the most common since it works as both a material for fashion and décor. Black matches everything and coordinates with different colors.

Besides black, red velvet and blue velvet provide the most popular colors for velvet. Purple velvet color also proves popular since it provides a regal look. Neither provides a single color, but a color family of hues and shades. The material of velvet soaks up colored dye and its texture creates a range of hues within the single piece of fabric. This means that when you use the material to create a piece of clothing or curtains, you actually obtain a garment that displays many shades of the color of the dye. This occurs especially with crushed velvet.

Royal blue velvet material

You might want to custom make your color dye, but if you want to mix the original shade of velvet used in royal clothing, you’ll need three dyes and a rather professional setup, otherwise you will only end up with an approximation.

Emerald green velvet material

If you want to use the color as a paint for walls or trim, go to the home improvement store to have them custom blend the paints. If you do it yourself, you won’t have the equipment to properly blend the percentages exactly and you could end up with different shades per batch. That means you would end up with either a brighter or darker shade. The color blends three primary colors to obtain a single hue, which makes it challenging to create.

When baking, you can easily make the red velvet color for a cake using a mixture of food coloring or natural ingredients.

Types of Velvet

Royal purple crushed velvet material

The velvet material also comes in various treatments. You can find it as crushed velvet, smooth velvet, embossed velvet, cotton velvet, and velveteen. Regardless of its treatment, it consists of multiple layers with dense piles. Although thick, it proves soft with threads closely bunched together.

Known for its fabric breathability and moisture-wicking, plus heat retention, it typically appears in winter wear. Unlike most sweater materials, it rarely pills or bubbles. It requires hand washing or washing in cold water.

Each type of velvet holds color differently. You’ll see the greatest color variations on crushed velvet or hammered velvet. Embossed velvet uses a contrast color that may not be velvet material. Lyons velvet and chiffon typically produce the closest thing to a solid color in velvet.

  • Chiffon velvet: also called transparent velvet, appears ultra-sheer.
  • Crushed velvet: presses or twists wet velvet to create.
  • Embossed velvet: words or shapes embossed on it.
  • Hammered velvet: Pressed or smashed to create texture.
  • Lyons velvet: A very dense fabric with stiffness.
  • Panne velvet: crushed velvet with a single-direction thrust, not a bunched one.
  • Utrecht velvet: crimped velvet has largely gone out of style, but it is sometimes still used in dresses and eveningwear.
  • Voided velvet: This type of velvet features patterns made from sections with pile and sections without. Any number of shapes or designs can be made, which makes this type of velvet similar to embossed velvet.
  • Ring velvet: Fine and light, similar to chiffon.

History of Velvet

Velvet first appeared in the 14th century, in East Asia, traveling the trade route known as the Silk Road to reach European tradesmen. Originally, weavers made velvet from pure silk, creating an opulent fabric that royalty enjoyed. The East Asian process used to dye the fabric added to its softness and that added to its popularity. It pervaded Europe and the Middle East.

Handwoven until the invention of machine looms, the cost of producing velvet reduced and it gained further popularity. Later, weavers developed synthetic fabrics, which enabled even the lower incomes to afford velvet. Today, most true and synthetic velvet are made in China and India.

The process of making velvet still requires a unique loom though which spins two layers of fabric at the same time. The weaver then separates the two layers and winds them into rolls. This complex technique requires a lot of practice, and some individuals learn from their parents, so the weavers run a family business of sorts, with a parent teaching their child to pass along the looming skills.

The difference in making types of velvet can be boiled down to yarns. Velveteen, often used for stuffed animals, uses horizontal yarn. You might have heard of the story, “The Velveteen Rabbit,” which revolves around a stuffed animal made of the fabric. It typically gets blended with cotton yarn.

Velvet, on the other hand, uses vertical yarn. Real velvet uses silk, a thread created when the cocoon of the silkworm gets unraveled and spun from natural thread into yarn appropriate for weaving and sewing. Making synthetic velvet uses rayon to create filaments that a weaver turns into velvet cloth.

Natural velvet, like silk, are considered environmentally perfect fabrics. They do not harm the environment because they require only natural materials to make them. The silkworm deserts its cocoon and the cocoon becomes a useful material for a second use. Talk about recycling!

Synthetic velvet does require a minimum amount of chemicals to produce the filament used, but it doesn’t approach the processes used for typical synthetic fabrics.

In Conclusion

You can purchase the original color of velvet fabric, the royal red that crown families in the Middle East, East Asia, and Europe wore from the 14th century to the present. You can also purchase the material of velvet in a cornucopia of other colors from black to white and all of them in between.

Green velvet crops up in winter holiday attire, as does red velvet. Blue velvet shows up on spring attire, especially jumpers during the transition between winter and spring. Pink and yellow provide popular colors for bridesmaid dresses, while orange proves a popular color as fall turns chillier, matching pumpkins, leaves, and Halloween themes. Choose your favorite shade and texture of this lush, luxurious fabric and enjoy wearing it year around.