December 29, 2011

Ask The Vixen: Crushed Spots on Velvet

Q: I wore a velvet dress recently, and I get flattened marks & crushing on the fabric. I cannot tell where these come from. Please help!

A: You wrote us with a question about crushed spots on velvet. The standing fibers of velvet will flatten if any serious humidity or water gets into the velvet -and- if the velvet is
pressed flat with your hand, your body, or anything else while wet.

Probably the droplet sized spots are from rain, a lawn sprinkler, the condensation of an iced drink cup, or even sweat drops (if you sweat in any 'healthy' amount). You really have to be standing guard when you wear velvet, if you want to avoid these mishap types of spots. If you think it might be sweat, you can try wearing a body stocking, a close-fitting camisole, anything that fits up under the arms to see if they stop appearing. A little detective work can go a long way to avoid these altogether.

To get them out, there are two options. Dry cleaning will help, since dry cleaning actually isn't "dry", and the liquid solvents they use will let the velvet stand up again where it's crushed. They should also steam the garment afterward, which is the easiest way to quickly remove these crushed marks. Note that if your dress has any staining (apart from the crushed areas or within them), you need to dry clean it without a doubt. Velvet cannot be washed in water.

Some crushed velvet, if it's severe, will not stand up again if steamed. You can also steam at home, with a handheld or travel size steamer, they are the least expensive ($10-20 at a big box store). But be careful... the steam from a steamer will saturate a garment quickly, so after you steam (from the underside of the fabric), be certain not to touch the outside of the velvet until it's completely dry once again. Let it hang in mid-air on a hanger, touching nothing.

Also note that some velvets crush more easily than others, and some stand up again more easily than others. It depends on what they're made of (silk, rayon or some other synthetic).

One last thing - Velveteen sounds like velvet, but it's a different fabric and has much shorter standing fibers (usually made of cotton which isn't so sensitive), so it's hard to crush.

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