How to Care for and Iron Velvet
Soft and luxurious are two words that come to mind when describing velvet. Whether enveloping a pretty pillow or decorating the outside of an accent box, the textile is rich and inviting. Due to its thickness, velvet might seem durable, but the short, dense piles that help create its luxe feel make it sensitive to pressure—which poses a problem when it comes to properly caring for the material.
The most important thing to know about minding velvet is that you should never iron it. Doing so could ruin the pile and do irreparable damage to any embossing. Instead of using an iron or sending velvet pieces to the dry cleaners, gently steam the fabric using a hand steamer or the steam function on an iron.
How to Remove Wrinkles
Most fabric stores carry a board coated in a rough, coarse cloth that is designed for steaming high-pile materials like velvet. To use the board, place the nap side of the velvet face down on the surface. With the steamer or iron on its lowest setting, test a small area by holding the steamer or iron at least a half-inch above and slowly passing it across the test area. Turn the piece over and inspect the nap side for any issues. Be especially careful with polyester velvet, which can be easily affected by too much heat. If you detect no issues with the fabric, steam the rest of the garment, gently pressing it with your hands as you go. If you need to increase the steam to get better results, do so in small increments. Don't let the steamer or iron pause over one area for too long to avoid damage to the item.
For a double-sided velvet item, such as a scarf, clip the fabric to a skirt hanger, being sure to protect the clipped area with tissue. Test an area of the velvet, as detailed above, and then begin steaming on one side. To help the process along, pull the bottom of the textile gently as you pass the steam over it. When you've finished one side, you may find that you don't need to steam the other. But if you do, simply repeat the previous steps until the item is wrinkle-free.