Velvet and Velour - All you need to know

We're passionate about fabric at Sew Me Sunshine. Here's our guide to everything velvet & velour, and tips on how to sew with this type of dressmaking fabric.


Velvet is a woven fabric with a short dense pile which gives it a luxurious soft feel. Velvets have a good amount of drape. Velvet does not have a natural stretch but can have elastane woven into the fabric to give it some stretch whereas velour is a plush knit fabric that has a natural stretch.


  • Velvet is a woven fabric, it can have elastane added to it which results in the velvet having a slight stretch 
  • Velvet is a luxurious fabric 
  • Velvet is soft and has a short dense cut pile surface 
  • Velvet can be made from silk, viscose or polyester
  • Types of velvet:
    • crushed velvet - the surface of the velvet is intentionally crushed, which results in more reflection of light from the napped surface 
    • burnout velvet - sections are burnout which introduces a pattern onto the fabric
    • two colour velvet - the ground fabric is a different colour to the cut pile
  • Pros:
    • Luxurious soft handle 
    • Good drape
    • Reverse doesn't have a nap
  • Cons:
    • The direction of the nap needs to be considered when cutting out your project and sewing with it 
    • Seams are difficult to press due to the nap


  • Velour can be knitted or woven but is most often knitted
  • It has a deeper (longer) nap than velvet 
  • Velour can be made from polyester or cotton or a blend of the two
  • Pros:
    • Knitted velour is easy to fit 
    • More durable than velvet
    • Soft 
  • Cons:
    • The direction of the nap needs to be considered 
    • It is bulky to sew and may require a walking foot 




  • Pre wash your fabric
  • Decide on the direction of the nap - you can determine the direction of the nap by running your hand across the fabric. The fabric will feel smoother if you run your hand in the direction of the nap, and rougher when your hand runs against it. Once you have decided which way you would like the nap to run then you have to take this into account when cutting out your project
  • Lay your fabric right side down and cut your project out in single layers (do not cut your project out on the fold)
  • Make sure all pattern pieces are facing the same way 
  • Use fine pins when pinning the pattern paper to the fabric
  • You may need to loosen the tension on your sewing machine or use a longer stitch length due to the extra bulk from the fabric's pile
  • Lower your pressure foot pressure 
  • A walking foot can help to stop the fabric from 'creeping' whilst sewing
  • Sew in the direction of the pile, use either a universal or stretch size 80 needle depending on whether the fabric is knitted or woven 
  • Keep seam finishing simple, avoid French Seams and opt for using your overlocker or a zigzag stitch
  • Be careful when pressing your velvet or velour as it can damage the fabric, place some fabric over the area you wish to press and hover the iron over it using the steam. You can also finger press any seams
  • Always hang your final garment before hemming
  • When hemming finish the edge with an overlocker or if you don't have one then use an overlock stitch on your sewing machine and then hand sew the hem in place. By opting for a blind hem or single fold hem this avoids bulk

If you have any questions or want to learn more, you can contact Team Sunshine at

You can find all of our velvet and velour fabrics on our website.

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