Velvet & hot irons...
December 23, 2007 11:17 PM   Subscribe

So my loving seamstress mother is making some fancy something out of velvet. She's ironing part of it out, having just finished off the final hemming stages annnnnnnd... she slips, some of the velvet isn't protected by a velvetboard anymore and touches the iron directly for a couple of seconds....

So now the fabric's piling is all wonky and matted down in the areas that the iron touched. Is there anything that can be done about this? It's a lovely and _expensive_ piece of material and would really be a shame to lose it (so she's understandably distraught..!) For what it's worth, she tried working it with a wet rag for a little while to no avail.

Do any of you guys have suggestions or thoughts or similar experiences?
posted by ThomThomThomThom to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Mmm, it's fucked.
If it can be fixed - You need to raise the nap... A toothbrush! (used with a 'flick-flick-flick' type motion) Maybe some fabric softener? And do this in a steamy bathroom?? OR if you have a powerful vaccum...? (Yes I'm suggesting you vaccum it!)

Think of it like a scrubbing brush or shag carpet that's been ground or in this case mashed flat... it needs to be teased and coaxed back up.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 12:20 AM on December 24, 2007

Doesn't really happen... you can steam it, with a fabric steamer, while brushing the velvet back into shape, but it'll never look how it did before. Problem being, most velvet sold today is synthetic, so there's going to be melting and singing issues as well as crushed nap.
posted by Kellydamnit at 5:51 AM on December 24, 2007

As per my loving seamstress mother, "If the velvet is machine washable fabric, you should be able to throw it in the washer and the nap should be restored. Otherwise, take it to the cleaners and they should be able to get the nap back in place. Or, use a boar's hair brush and gently scrape the nap back into place. Good luck."
posted by banannafish at 6:44 AM on December 24, 2007

Seconding Kellydamnit -- if it's synthetic velvet, chances are it's hosed. If it's silk or another natural fiber, steaming and brushing might help but I doubt it will look perfect perfect again. If it was try new things or throw it out-level stuff with a project of mine, I might soak it in some very lightly-detergented water to see if I could coax the nap back up, rather than rubbing it with a rag, but YMMV. I'm sorry this happened! What a bummer!
posted by at 10:46 AM on December 24, 2007

If I remember my Heloise correctly, she says to dampen a cloth with white vinegar and dab the matted part. Then steam it. Obviously you want to test a scarp first, and this could be the solution to getting pinholes out of corduroy and not refreshing velvet.... but if you have a scrap piece to "ruin" then test, you may as well try...
posted by dogmom at 2:32 PM on December 24, 2007

All the previous advice is great and are things you should try first, but when I had this exact same problem once, what I ended up doing was cutting out the bad bit, matching the grain on a scrap, and patching that in. Afterwards, I carefully pulled as much of the "fuzz" out of the patch's seam to get it as fluffy as possible and then pressed lightly (with appropriate velvet protection). Depending on where the problem is, this may not work for you, but it worked well enough for me on the bottom edge of the dress I was working on, since people wouldn't be staring at it that closely (like if it was on the neck or sleeve). The real key to doing this is carefully matching the patch's nap to the place you want to put it and pulling out the fluff at the seams.

Good luck. I know how distressing it is to have something like that happen when working with a find fabric and doing so much work. Hug your mom for me.
posted by Orb at 5:13 PM on December 24, 2007

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