Can the nap on steam pressed velvet be restored?
By Linda from SLC, UT
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I have a pair of silk velvet pants that I adore. However, they are several years old and the backside and crotch areas have become matted and shiny. I there a way to restore the nap? I thought perhaps some sort of steaming/brushing?
Thanks for any tips.
By Morgan from NY
Most dry-cleaners have dealt with this before so you could take the item into several dry-cleaners for a consultation. If you use steam, you'd need to make sure it was not hot and only slightly warm, especially if the velvet is synthetic (like polyester). Do not touch the iron to the fabric. Velvet and velveteen come in silk, rayon, cotton, polyester and blends of any of these together. It depends on your fabric content as to what you'd do to try and fix the situation.
If it were me, I'd lay the garments flat then spray a slight mist of water, then brush with a regular bristle brush or a toothbrush to help restore the nap. After it looks the way you like, leave the garment until it totally dries then turn it over and fix the back. It may help if you stuff the pants with several towels to give the rump more of a rounded and life-like look.
Read the tag, if your pants are washable and made of washable polyester, you might want to try washing them (and/or just misting then drying them in your dryer if the label says it's okay) or just spraying them with water in the flat areas then fluff them in the dryer on very low heat. Don't try this if the fabric is silk or rayon because it will only make them worse. Be sure to remove your garment from the dryer right away, as soon as it goes off!
Changing them to crushed velvet:
If your pants are made of silk or rayon once you wear them again the nap will just go flat again. One way you could fix the problem would be to turn your pants into "crushed" velvet. All you would need to do is spray your garment with a misting of water all over the front and back, then turn them inside-out and spray lightly with water again. After the misting you'd wring the pants with your hands to crush the velvet and leave them in a bunch overnight or until they are totally dry. No one will know that the velvet didn't come this way (as crushed velvet) when you bought the item.
If you don't like the way the crushed velvet turns out, simply repeat and crush it again, twisting the material in the opposite direction. You can keep misting then crushing the velvet again and again, as much as you'd like until you are happy with the way it looks. If the fabric is too flat after you crush it, just spray it lightly with water, then run your hand or a hair-brush back and forth over the misted fabric. You can also put the sprayed garment into your dryer on warm or cold to fluff them up a bit.
By turning regular velvet into crushed-velvet, I have gotten the use out of several things including a cute black top I'd thought I'd never be able to wear again. (12/17/2009)
You can try this method, and see if it works: Fill your steam iron with water and set it to high steam. Then, just run it above (1 inch) the fabric. Take care not to touch the iron to the garment. The steam will help the fabric to loosen up and blossom. Then, use a soft toothbrush to gently brush the fabric against the nap. I tried this with an old velvet embroidered handkerchief, and it worked. Good luck! (12/17/2009)