Honoring An Ancient Tradition: Torino – A New Linen Velvet from Place

February 19th, 2014 by Kristie Strasen

Egyptian Weaving

As fabrics go, velvet is in a class by itself. Velvet has been considered a luxury fabric almost since the beginning of time and linen velvet (made from flax) dates all the way back to 2000 BC in ancient Egypt. Household inventories from 809 AD list bolts of velvet as assets in documenting wealth!

Flax into Linen

Flax is an amazing fiber that holds the record as the go-to fiber when ancient civilizations first got the idea of weaving. Flax is incredibly strong; it dries very quickly and is cool to the touch.
Left: A Medieval tapestry woven on linen warp. Right: An ancient linen shroud

Left: A Medieval tapestry woven on linen warp. Right: An ancient linen shroud fragment

Medieval tapestries were woven on linen warps to insure their ability to last through the ages. Persian carpets were woven on linen warps to insure stability and strength and burial shrouds are still traditionally linen. Linen Velvets can range from smooth to silky with their own unique patina that will develop with use.

Left: Raw flax being harvested Right: A label on a spool of fine linen yarn from Belfast.

Flax roving ready for spinning

Flax roving ready for spinning

Flax is a versatile fiber that provides a variety of textures and luster levels when it is spun. The quality of the plant itself, where it is grown, how it is tended, how it is harvested and processed, and ultimately how it is spun, will all contribute to the attributes of the final linen upholstery fabric.

Flax_Assortment retouched

Linen yarn can have many different appearances and characteristics

The Velvet Mystique

detail of linen velvet

A detail of the velvet surface after shearing

Velvet is not an easy fabric to produce – even with modern technology the fabric requires many steps to create. But the very nature of this complex fabric construction is also what makes velvet so special. Velvets are twice as heavy as their flat-woven counterparts and twice as luxurious by comparison. The richly saturated colors associated with velvets are a result of the way the fibers bloom when they are sheared, creating a softly textured surface. Velvet is esteemed for its luxurious texture and supple drape. There is really nothing like velvet!

Torino – A Modern Linen Velvet

Linen velvets are ancient in origin and Place is exceedingly proud to be introducing Torino, a modern linen velvet available in ten sumptuous colors. Torino is made to last; the dense linen pile is securely woven into the cotton ground. The fabric is then piece-dyed, resulting in lustrous colors that are equally saturated whether in subtle neutral hues or lively, vibrant shades.
Torino is a beautiful velvet upholstery fabric that will look great on any frame and will provide years of comfort and enjoyment. Over time the velvet will develop its own patina and only become more beautiful and luxurious with age.

Torino Linen Velvet from Place Textiles in ten lustrous colors!

Torino Linen Velvet from Place Textiles in ten lustrous colors!

Want to learn more about the different fibers used by Place? View all of our fabrics by fiber here

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Kristie Strasen has over 25 years experience as an independent design consultant specializing in designing, coloring and styling textiles for both the contract and residential markets.

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