Velvet vs Velour- How Do You Tell Them Apart?

Velvet vs Velour- How Do You Tell Them Apart?

There are a lot of controversies about velvet vs velour and how they are both identical fabrics. It turns out that both velvet and velour are different materials and give a distinct finish. Furthermore, both fabrics have a rich and complex history and continue to confuse people over the years. So, are you a fashionista or just enthusiastic about exotic materials? Then, you can learn a thing or two about these fabrics.

Although, understandably, these materials are difficult to tell apart due to their incredible similarities. However, there are some key distinctions to quickly tell the fabrics apart and choose which works best for you. Therefore, we will break down the differences between velvet and velour in this guide. So, to find out what differences are between velvet and velour, you should keep reading.

What is Velvet?

Velvet comes traditionally from silk and is a densely woven, short-pile fabric with a shiny and soft texture. Since silk is quite expensive, manufacturers mixed fibres with rayon to make a cheaper alternative. Modern-day velvets come from wool, linen, and synthetic fibres such as polyester. In addition, you can produce velvet from cotton, although this is less common.

Velvet was originally popular in the Middle East and reserved for royalty, the wealthy, and the nobility. As a result, the fabric became synonymous with luxury and decadence. Due to silk’s expensive nature, which is the primary fibre, velvet became really expensive. Velvet is a luxurious and soft fabric with a beautiful drape and a unique soft and shiny appearance. The sheen or shiny appearance results from the characteristics of the short pile fibres.

These days velvet is available worldwide, with the main production located in China and India. Velvet fabrics are popular for special occasion and evening dresses since they originally come from silk. Since the introduction of synthetic velvet, the price has reduced considerably, and many people can purchase it. Velvet fabric is also a fixture for home décors such as curtains, blankets, pillows, and other items that require a super soft and stylish fibre.

What is Velour?

On the other hand, velour is a knitted fabric with a cut pile made from a few fibres. The fabric’s primary fibre is usually 100% cotton. However, modern velour is made from cotton and polycotton. In addition, you can produce velour from complete artificial fibres such as polyester.

Velour is almost identical in both characteristics and properties, and it can be challenging to tell one from the other. Manufacturers knit the fabric to form looped threads and then cut at the loops to create a cut pile. This nap gives velour a unique texture and slight distinction to velvet. Like velvet, velour was originally from the Middle East and was a fabric for the wealthy. Therefore, people looking for a cheaper alternative to velvet purchased velour at that time to achieve luxury and decadence only at a more affordable rate.

Velour is a go-to choice for sportswear companies due to its soft and comfortable properties. Due to the lightness of the polyester and cotton, these companies made tracksuits and sports clothing out of it. The fabric is common in the production of lounge suits, slippers, blankets, and dressing gowns. Anything that needs a soft feel is definitely an excellent project for velour fabric. The fabric is relatively affordable and more widely used than velvet. Let’s quickly go to exploring the differences between velvet and velour.

Velvet Vs Velour – What are the Differences?

Now that we understand the fabrics, it’s easy to see why velvet and velour are confusing for most people. In fact, with the definition, it would seem that the only difference is the type of fibres and cost. Therefore, let’s quickly take a look at some of the key distinctions between velvet and velour. Exploring these differences should help us understand these two diverse materials.

Velvet Vs Velour – Texture

The first key difference between velvet and velour is their unique production method. They also have almost identical textures since they are both soft fabrics with a one-way nap created by tiny loops of fibres. Now, if you run your hand upwards, starting from the base of the fabric towards the top, you will notice a colour change in the fabric.

The colour becomes darker or duller. So, it is important you know this, just in case you decide to make anything with either fabric. You will have to cut the fabric from top to bottom to ensure the difference doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.   

Velvet’s shine or sheen comes from the tiny loops that the fibres create. However, these loops are cut in velour, reducing the amount of shine. This is why velour fabrics lack the shine that velvet portrays.

Velvet Vs Velour – Breathability

This characteristic is solely dependent on the fibre content of the fabric. For example, velour is usually synthetic, and most synthetic fabrics don’t breathe. However, velour made from cotton would typically have the characteristics of cotton materials. So, cotton velour fabrics would have some breathability features.

On the other hand, velvet’s breathability depends on whether it comes from linen. As you know, linen is a well-known and loved summer fabric; therefore, it makes velvet airy and light. So, this type of velvet will definitely have the breathability qualities of the linen fibre it contains.

Finally, neither velvet nor velour fabrics are ideal for warm weather or hot climates. Instead, these fabrics are ideal for keeping your body warm.

Velvet Vs Velour – Stretchability

Although there is a stretchy velvet, the textile is not known for being a stretchy material. The stretchy velvet has an added percentage of spandex, giving the fabric extra flexibility. This stretch version is used for close-fitting clothing and has around 50% stretch. This stretch percentage gives more than enough room for movement. In essence, velvet fabrics are common for producing clothes that require a drape rather than form-fitting. In addition, the fabric is common for producing upholstery and curtains due to the large and luxuriant feel it gives to the interior.

On the other hand, velour is more stretchy than velvet fabrics. Since velour is a knit fabric, it gives the velour fabric more flexibility. Also, since the primary fibres are synthetic, it makes the velour the perfect choice for your stretchy garment.

Velvet Vs Velour – Softness

Both velvet and velour fabrics are pretty soft. The little loops give both fabrics a super soft feel regardless of whether the fabric has been knitted or woven. Sometimes, it is impossible to tell which fabric is softer than the other.

Hammerite smooth v hammered, what&#...
Hammerite smooth v hammered, what's the difference?

However, the softness of the fabric can be altered by the thickness of the knit or weave. For example, fabrics for the interior need more durability than the clothing fabric so that it might feel less soft to the touch.

Velvet Vs Velour – Maintenance

There isn’t so much to choose between both fabrics when maintaining either velvet or velour fabric. This is because both fabrics are easy and clean, and neither need to be handled roughly. However, there’s a common misconception that velvet requires high maintenance. The truth remains that the fabric isn’t that delicate and can last for decades only if properly maintained.

An interior with velvet fabrics will hold up beautifully for years if tended to properly. The easiest way to care for velvet fabric is to incorporate it into your regular cleaning routine. Usually, velvet is treated with stain repellants, so all you need is to dab the liquid with a damp towel gently.

On the other hand, velour requires extra care to keep the fabric looking luxurious and beautiful. The fabric loses its soft touch and becomes stiff as it gets exposed to dust and dirt. In addition, velour fabric is susceptible and requires the touch of a professional cleaner.

Velvet Vs Velour – Flame retardant

Another distinctive feature of velour fabric is that the synthetic content makes the fabric fire-resistant. The velour fabric’s artificial fibre makes it completely fireproof, although it needs to be treated. However, with the flame retardant qualities the fabric contains, it is a safer option for natural fibre velvet.

As we know, velvet is made from different fibres, including polyester, wool, silk, or linen. Now, wool and silk are pretty difficult to burn, but linen is the easiest fabric to catch fire. So, when it comes to having fire-retardant characteristics, the fibre content of the fabrics matters a lot. Therefore, ensure that your interior fabrics are fire-resistant to be confident and safe. Also, you should ensure that the fabric receives special fire protection treatment.

Velvet Vs Velour – Affordability

Judging from the past, velvet has always been the more expensive of the two fabrics. Velvet was woven initially using only silk fibres, giving the fabric the rich elegance that few people could afford. The fabric was exclusive and reserved only for the nobles and royalties. On the other hand, velour was a cheaper alternative for people who couldn’t afford velvet fabrics. Since the fabric was made from cotton, its cost was reduced, but it overtook velvet as a luxurious fabric.

However, velvet is still relatively more expensive than velour fabrics, even with the introduction of polyester. So, although their prices are a bit closer, velvet is still higher in price. This is probably because of its name or link to opulence or simply the sheen.


When it comes to velvet vs velour, the biggest confusion usually lies in choosing the material. It is evident that both materials are similar, which sometimes creates great confusion. Both materials are soft and luxurious fabrics and suitable for making the same garments. However, neither material is better than the other, so choosing depends on your personal preference. What are you trying to achieve? What is your budget? You need to answer these questions before selecting either velvet or velour fabric. However, both velvet and velour fabrics are simply perfect.

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Velvet vs Velour- How Do You Tell Them Apart? It sometimes gets confusing when it comes to choosing between velvet and velour. Read this velvet vs velour comparison to learn their key differences.
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