With Christmas not far away, our thoughts turn to luxury and extravagance. This applies to fabrics too and what could be more regal than velvet? The term “velvet” refers to the weave of a fabric rather than to its fibre content. Velvet has a pile weave that is created when loops are formed during the weaving process. The pile weave is on one side of the velvet fabric, whilst the other side is plain. Velvet can be made from many different kinds of fibres, but traditionally silk was used. Velvet made entirely from silk is very costly, so other materials can be used such as cotton, although this often results in a slightly less luxurious fabric. Velvet can also be made from other natural fibres including linen, mohair, and wool. Nowadays, synthetic velvet’s are a lot more common, including polyester, nylon, viscose, acetate, and mixtures of different synthetics, or synthetics and natural fibres (for example viscose mixed with silk).