Silk Fabrics UK | Biddle Sawyer Silks
Fine quality silks, since 1926

Everything you need to know about silk velvet fabric.

The exciting world of silk fabrics is made up of many different types of silk, all with their own unique characteristics.

Recently, we covered all there is to know about silk organza fabric. In the latest of our types of silk explained series, we’ll be taking a look into silk velvet – what is it? And why is it so popular?

What is silk velvet?

Silk velvet is the epitome of sumptuous luxury. The beautiful fabric has been woven from silk since medieval times, and worn by royalty for many decades.

There are many different types of velvet, as this refers to the weave of the fabric and not the material itself. Velvet is a dense, short pile weave which, when woven from silk, creates silk velvet.

During the weaving process, two layers are woven together on top of each other, and joined with a second warp thread. The two layers are then separated and the fibres protrude vertically from the fabric to create the famous velvet texture.

Silk velvet is the most expensive type of velvet available. Renowned for its lustrous sheen, the material provides the most beautiful shimmer when the threads reflect the light and cause the fabric to look darker or lighter from different angles. It’s soft, silky and quite literally, ‘velvety smooth’.

It’s a heavy duty, durable fabric which holds a beautiful soft drape and creates the most elegant, soft-flowing shapes.

silk velvet

What is silk velvet used for?

Silk velvet has been used in fashion since it was first manufactured in East Asia in the 14th century. Due to the expense of the material, it wasn’t uncommon for the material to be exclusively worn and used by royals – and those who could afford it.

Nowadays, silk velvet is used across a spectrum of applications…


Silk velvet is commonly used to make evening gowns, formal wear and wedding dresses. Its beautiful drape and shimmery surface makes it the perfect option for creating an eye-catching ensemble to achieve a luxurious and elegant look.

Sexy and seductive in both look and feel, silk velvet is often also a popular choice for intimate clothing and lingerie.

Due to its soft and shimmery qualities, silk velvet is more commonly found in ladieswear than men’s. However, it’s not rare to find a smart gentleman’s silk velvet tailored suit, or accessories such as neckties.

Home decor and furnishings

Not just soft to the touch, silk velvet has an incredible visual allure – one which makes it a particularly appealing choice for upholstery and home furnishings.

For those looking to add a touch of opulence to their home, silk velvet makes for particularly beautiful throws, table runners and cushion covers.

Silk velvet curtains are a popular household choice for many reasons. The heavy weight of the material creates the most prestigious drape whilst also offering obstruction from the cold in winter months, and performs particularly well when it comes to blocking out unwanted light.

silk velvet cushions

Can you wash silk velvet?

Silk velvet is a delicate fabric which should be treated with great care and consideration should you wish for it to remain in pristine condition.

With the exception of unlaunderable garments such as velvet blazers and suits, the fabric can be safely washed for the most part.

As with most other types of delicate silk fabrics, we would always recommend handwashing as a fail safe option.

How to wash silk velvet

  1. Fill a sink or washing bowl with cool water, and add the recommended amount of a delicate wash specifically formulated for silk fibres.
  2. Gently submerge the fabric or garment in the solution and evenly distribute it with your hands.
  3. Leave to soak for up to 30 minutes.
  4. Rinse the fabric thoroughly with room temperature water, and gently press out any excess liquid – never scrunch or wring out delicate silk fabric.
  5. Lay the garment flat to dry completely.

Can I put velvet in a silk wash?

Whilst handwashing is the preferred method, it is possible to put silk velvet in the washing machine without ruining the fabric.

Ensure the item is turned inside out and placed inside a protective wash bag. Use a delicate wash with a low spin, ensuring the water temperature is cold. For best results, try to wash the fabric on its own to prevent any unwanted lint getting stuck in the silk fibres.

How to wear silk velvet

Gone are the days when silk velvet was reserved for only the highest class royalty and the wealthiest amongst society. Whilst still a luxurious and relatively expensive fabric, it’s now much more affordable and easily accessible to be incorporated into everyday clothing.

The height of style and sophistication, silk velvet is a popular go-to for many fashion designers creating show-stopping, elegant dresses and ball gowns. With its alluring lustre and ability to create accentuating silhouettes, opting for a silk velvet dress for your next formal event is a sure fire way of guaranteeing all eyes on you.

However, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate this lustrous silk fabric into your wardrobe. Velvet coats and jackets are a consistent trend throughout autumn and winter, providing the perfect warm outer layer to keep the cold chills at bay whilst simultaneously staying right on-trend.

From jumpsuits and trousers to blazers and skirts – don’t be afraid to infuse a little velvet into your wardrobe to boost your stakes in the style department.

silk velvet fashion

Where to buy silk velvet fabric

When looking to purchase any high quality silk fabrics, it’s crucial to ensure that you seek out a reputable supplier to avoid being sold fake imitations. Biddle Sawyer Silks are the UK’s leading wholesale silk suppliers, offering an extensive range of fine quality silks.

Our wholesale silk velvet range is available in 12 stunning shades, ready to order with next day delivery anywhere in the UK.

Whether you’re making a one-off collection, or are looking to buy in bulk, we can cater for varying order quantities and offer an unrivalled colour match service to deliver the perfect shade for you.

Find out how to order or get in touch with us.

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