Velvet is the fabric of kings—literally. Until the turn of the 20th century, only royalty and nobility could afford this luxurious, intensely colored silk cloth. The complicated weaving process requires more yarn than any other fabric and a special loom that can be traced back to fourth-century Egypt. To form the dense pile, two pieces of cloth are woven face-to-face, then cut and sheared.
Velvet found its way to Europe in the 13th century, and its nuances of depth and shimmering light soon captured the attention of renowned artists. It is rumored that Leonardo da Vinci designed velvet frocks for the Medici court.
Devoré, which means “devoured,” is a process that didn’t appear on the scene until the French Revolution. Devoré velvet is also known as “burnout velvet” because an acid solution burns away the pile in complex patterns, leaving behind only a sheer, smooth chiffon backing.
Devoré is the finest of velvets and is often referred to as “wedding ring velvet” because its width allows it to slide through a wedding ring. Fortunately, a king’s ransom is no longer required for this unbelievably sheer, slinky fabric.
—Jennifer Sauer, Associate Editor
Sources Fine Fabrics
Devoré fabric, like that photographed above, can be found at the following retailers:
Visit these Web sites for products to make your own devoré velvet:
- Fabrics.net (Fiber Etch fabric remover)
- DharmaTrading.com (Fiber Etch)
- SilkPaint.com (Fiber Etch, kits, books, videos)
Pattern for the blouse shown on the back cover: Kwik Sew 2694