Handmade Velvets

Manual velvets are the most valuable among our fabrics: we still weave them on 18th-century looms and prepare their warp on machines dating back to the same period. The most precious of the manual velvets we make is the “soprarizzo” or “soprariccio” or “cesellato“, so called because it has two levels of pile, one high smooth and one lower curly. They are unique velvets, not reproducible with mechanical looms, whose craftsmanship is the result of an ancient art carried out by very few weavers in the world.

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How We Create the Soprarizzo or Cesellato Velvet

This precious woven fabric has a long working process, since the preparation of the looms alone can take months and, when they are finally set up, the weavers produce about thirty centimetres of fabric per day. Every millimetre of the fabric has to be cut by hand, and our weaver has to pull out and thread the needles by hand that create the cut velvet and the curly one. The needles of the second type, with a round section, are just removed by the weaver to create the curly velvet. The former ones, with a square section, have a groove in the middle, where the weaver inserts a blade to cut the pile warp and thus produce the cut velvet.

The result of this slow and precise work is a unique fabric with a soft and iridescent pile. This process allows light to reflect on the two types of velvet in different ways, creating extraordinary effects of chiaroscuro and depth: the cut velvet appears darker, while the curly velvet appears lighter.

Bevilacqua Manual Velvets Patterns

The decorative motifs of Bevilacqua’s manual velvets come from an invaluable archive of more than 3,500 drawings, ranging from Byzantine art to contemporary art. Among the oldest of these is Leoni, whose design represents the logo of the Tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua and depicts two lions guarding the tree of life, an ancient Persian symbol. Giardino Fioroni is a baroque motif, characterised by flowers of different shapes and colours.

Other designs are of modern style such as Metropolis, which recalls the lines of the metropolises designed by the Bauhaus architects; Walls, inspired by the bronze and iron portal of the Madison Belmont Building in New York, one of the first Art Deco masterpieces in America; the animalier patterns, such as Leopardo, Tigre, and Zebra.

Along with these designs, in the online catalogue, you can find many other styles, from Late Antique to Art Deco. This is only a selection of the much larger archive, which is possible to browse (by appointment) either to identify the most suitable design for your needs or to realize an original one. The same applies to colours: we offer an extensive color chart and, for special projects, it is possible to dye the yarns according to the customer’s needs and create new colours.


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