Velvet is a lustrous, light-reflecting material, which makes creases in the material impossible to ignore. Even the slightest wrinkle can cause the rumpled fabric to have color disparities, quickly betraying the garment’s less-than-immaculate surface. However, you cannot simply iron wrinkled velvet as you would iron most garments, because pressing velvet would crush the high-projecting, dense surface -- called the “pile” -- that gives the material its unique texture. Fortunately, your iron can still help you smooth over this problem, thanks to a commonly overlooked function that will thwart wrinkles and leave the velvet looking luxe and polished.
Check the fabric care label to ensure that steaming and non-bleach chemical treatment are safe for your garment.
Fill the water reservoir on your iron and preheat it on the steam setting. You may use a hand steamer if you have one.
Turn the garment inside-out. Steaming the front or "nap" of the velvet directly, if necessary, is usually safe. Steaming the reverse side is more cautious but equally effective in most cases.
Steaming Velvet on a Needle Board
Set up an ironing board and place a velvet needle board on it. Lay the garment texture-side-down on the board's pins. A needle board is narrow and long so you will not be able to lay the garment on it all at once.
Mist the velvet lightly with a wrinkle release spray. Hold the iron 1 inch away from the material.
Glide the steamer slowly over the velvet from one side of the needle board to the other.
Reposition the garment on the needle board. Repeat the process until you have steamed the entire garment.
Turn the garment right-side-out and repeat the process on the front if there are any remaining wrinkles. Do not use the needle board if you steam the front of the fabric.
Steaming Velvet on a Hanger
Hang the garment on a hanger.
Mist the velvet lightly with a wrinkle release spray. Pull the bottom of the fabric taut with your hand. Hold the iron 1 inch away from the material.
Steam the garment from the bottom to the top. Because steam rises, working from the bottom will let water vapor to penetrate the dense velvet for more effective steaming.
Run your hand over the steamed velvet to smooth wrinkles.
Turn the garment right-side-out and repeat the process on the front for any remaining wrinkles.
- Velvet needle boards are available at most fabric and craft stores.
- Test the wrinkle releaser and steam on a small, hidden part of the garment, like an inside-facing hem if the garment does not have a care label.
- The retailer from which you purchased the garment may also be able to help answer care information questions.
Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.
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