Chenille is an affordable fabric that looks opulent if you take care of it and use it in a quiet area. The manufacturing process gives the chenille a shiny, velvety texture. Chenille may be made from rayon, olefin, silk, wool or cotton, or a blend of two or more materials. Chenille derived from combed cotton is used to make washcloths, bath towels, blankets, bedspreads, and scarves.
Cotton chenille yarn can make attractive patterns, and it is excellent for crocheting. The chenille used as tapestry fabric is soft, but durable and resembles Berber fleece. Tapestry chenille is soft as wool and durable as olefin. Therefore, it is often used as chair upholstery or for drapes or slipcovers.
The word chenille is derived from the French word for caterpillar. Chenille pile is made on a loom by weaving the pile yarn or fur as a weft. The tufts are then bound with cotton threads to form a long strand. The pile yarn is woven first on regular cloth looms and cut longitudinally in a striped pattern. Pile yarn is completed as weft, with the warp as bound cotton threads.
A gauze or leno weave binds the weft pile so it won’t falter when the strips are severed and before the final weaving of the rug takes place.
Chenille yarn is made by putting short lengths or piles of the yarn between two core yarns. The yarn is then twisted together. The edges stand at right angles to the core to give the chenille a soft and shiny appearance.
The fibers in the chenille catch light differently, depending on the direction. Chenille may look iridescent even though it has no iridescent fibers. Chenille yarn may become loose and show bare spots. Low-melt nylon can be used in the yarn core and then steamed or autoclaved to set the pile in place.