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Cotton Velvet

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:26 am
by Xioumi
Cotton Velvet - Does anyone have any evidence for it, particularly in the 14th century. I've always thought it was a re-enactorism but a friend of mine swears blind he has seen evidence for it somewhere. Has anyone else come across any evidence fr it's existence in the medieval period and where, 'cos I've searched and searched and not found any.

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:22 am
by lucy the tudor
I thought it was all silk, but as silk velvet is a scary price people use cotton now for practical reasons. You can tell the difference, but not really at a distance.
Lucy

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:37 am
by Merlon.
Oh dear, are the cotton wars going to break out again?
The earliest reference to actual cotton velvet that I know of is 1795.

Even if your friend has found an earlier reference to "cotton velvet" how do you know refers to velvet made with fibre from the cotton plant?
afterall one of the meanings of the word cotton is -

Cotton: Of cloth, etc.: To form or take on a nap, to rise with a nap

So the phrase cotton velvet can actually mean the manufacture of velvet not the material its made from.

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:50 am
by lucy the tudor
Shhh! if we're really quiet no one will notice the c word and we'll get away with it.
L

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:42 pm
by Annis
lucy the tudor wrote:people use cotton now for practical reasons.


Not so practical for costuming - it's very heavy!

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:56 pm
by Xioumi
I'm afraid I don't really see the point of using cotton velvet as a substitute in costuming as it looks nothing like silk velvet. Also affordable silk velvet can be found if you look hard enough. I have some that I bought at about £30 a yard and it is 100% silk, not the silk ground/viscose pile often sold as silk velvet. I'm familiar with the whole medieval Coton not really necessarily being cotton thing and I know the person who believes in the existence of medieval cotton velvet does too so that is why I thought I'd see if anyone else had any light to shed on the matter. I don't think it is appropriate for medieval re-enactment but I am quite happy to be wrong if there is any evidence to be had.

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:04 pm
by Shadowcat
Xioumi wrote:I'm afraid I don't really see the point of using cotton velvet as a substitute in costuming as it looks nothing like silk velvet. Also affordable silk velvet can be found if you look hard enough. I have some that I bought at about £30 a yard and it is 100% silk, not the silk ground/viscose pile often sold as silk velvet.


Not all modern silk velvets look or feel like the original. And not all cotton velvets are heavy - depends where you look for either. Depending on the quality some cotton velvets can look like some of the silk I've seen. I'd love to know where you find 100% silk velvet at that price - I've been looking for years and my suppliers all admit to their silk having a silk warp and a rayon weft - about 18% silk, in any case.

S.

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:34 pm
by Xioumi
It was from a supplier in Germany I think. It only came in white so you could dye it yourself (haven't been brave enough to do that yet!). A friend ordered a bolt and a number of us divvied it up. I will get the supplier info for you as soon as I can (ie, not at work).
I wasn't really intending on starting a debate on whether or not cotton velvet should be used in re-enactment. I have my own opinions on that :) and unless I can find some evidence that it really and truly existed those opinions aren't likely to change, but I was curious to know if anyone else had come across a reference for it somewhere.

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:52 pm
by Shadowcat
Xioumi wrote:It was from a supplier in Germany I think. It only came in white so you could dye it yourself (haven't been brave enough to do that yet!). A friend ordered a bolt and a number of us divvied it up. I will get the supplier info for you as soon as I can (ie, not at work).


Thank you, although I am not up to dyeing fabric but I know a man who can, I think.

I am not in the "authentic" ranks of makers - my customers are happy with what I can supply, with the knowledge that the fabric may not be "period correct." However, I am always interested in getting nearer to the "right" thing.

S.

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:33 pm
by lucy the tudor
I would tend to go for professional dying if you can, silk that I have died before either goes perfect or really blotchy, about 50/50 of the times I've done it. £30 a meter is fine if you don't make it blotchy...
Lucy the paranoid. :roll:

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:42 pm
by Shadowcat
lucy the tudor wrote:I would tend to go for professional dying if you can, silk that I have died before either goes perfect or really blotchy, about 50/50 of the times I've done it. £30 a meter is fine if you don't make it blotchy...
Lucy the paranoid. :roll:


That's why "I" won't do it - apart from having a washing machine that has been dead for 12 weeks, and the company seems incapable of mending it. But the man I know does a lovely job, all the time - so maybe...........

S.

Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:39 pm
by nutmeg_bec
Any word on the German supplier?

The "silk" (20%) velvet I ordered in London last year arrived after a wait of nearly 6 months , and the weight was different to the sample in store: no wonder we have trouble finding out what weight it's "supposed" to be, when it changes from month to month in modern times!

Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:32 am
by Tuppence
Am sure there's a seller in the US that does pure silk velvet, but white only - and if I remember correctly, pretty lightweight.

Cotton velvet notlikely in the 14th century, and although as S-cat says, cotton velvet isn't just one weight and type (or for that matter, pile length), it doesn't really look like silk velvet, at a distance or close to.

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:06 pm
by Colin Middleton
The MoL book lists half-silk velvet. That's a silk pile on a linnen base. Could that be the source of the rumours?

Was velvet ever used plain in the 15th C, or was it more popular to patern it?

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:19 pm
by Xioumi
Sorry I haven't replied sooner. I can't be more helpful as to the supplier of the silk velvet I purchaced earlier last year. I bought it through a friend who ordered a roll and according to her the original supplier isn't stocking it at the moment but that may change in the future. I'll let you know as soon as I know any more.
As to Colin's question velvet that is a silk pile with a linen ground doesn't seem to be that uncommon. Of the extant samples I have seen and can recall they have been patterned, but there are certainly pictures that suggest a velvet garment without a pattern through the fabric.