When I think about velvet in the home, I think of the year I decided to sew emerald green velvet pillows for my mother for Christmas. I was in high school, had minimal sewing skills, but I thought it was just what my mother - and our living room - needed. During study halls, I would venture down to the Home Ec room and sew away. I don't recall much else about this ambitious project (including my grades that semester) but velvet still has a soft spot in my heart.
So have I noticed that velvet has made a bit of a comeback in home decor - as well as in fashion? You bet I have. And I'm not imagining it.
"I noticed the trend, too, and given where I'm noticing it, it's not just a holiday thing. It's decor, totally - upholstery, draperies, even if it's just pillows - and those pillows aren't just holiday pillows. It's a look," said Sandy Hertel, owner of Elmwood Village Fabrics, 543 Franklin St.
Hertel said she personally prefers cotton velvets - they have less of a sheen than polyester or polyester-blend velvets - but the choice is a personal one. And you can't beat the deep rich colors such as midnight blue, emerald and ruby available on today's velvets.
"That's what velvet does best," Hertel said.
"I could see a velvet headboard. Or, for someone who isn't all in with velvet furniture, certainly throw pillows. You can always go that route. With kids, velvets may not be practical," she said.
"And how long has it been since we have seen velvet draperies? Some even have embossed texture in them," Hertel added.
A few takes on the trends:
Anthropologie offers velvet upholstered chairs, settees and sectionals. For the wardrobe, the brand shows velvet boots, velvet dresses and high-rise velvet jeans on its website.
Pottery Barn sells velvet draperies, comforters, pillow shams, quilts and more. The quilt is made of washed all-cotton velvet, reverses to a silk/cotton blend fabric with cotton batting and is washable. The draperies need to be dry cleaned. A velvet table runner that is 90 percent cotton and 10 percent polyester can be washed in cold water; colors include midnight blue, claret, alloy and dark sage. (Point here: whatever velvet things you buy anywhere, pay deep attention to the care instructions.)
Crate & Barrel shows a variety of furniture upholstered in velvet on its website: sofas, ottomans, chairs - including a dining chair and recliner. Care instructions, in case again you're wondering (especially with those dining chairs): Spot clean with mild, water-free cleaning solvents only. Do not use water or dry clean. More detailed instructions are given as well for these and other velvet fabrics.
This is just the beginning of what's out there, of course. While I have absolutely no plans to haul out the old sewing machine, I definitely have velvet on my mind this season. Even if it's picking up a velvet wine bag or two.