A type of velvet with a longer pile that lies flat on the surface, rather than almost vertically. The effect is ‘strokeable’ and more reminiscent of an animal skin than the feeling we normally associate with velvet. The pile generally lies across the width, so for the luxury of velvet and the sleekness, the cloth needs to be railroaded for the pile to lie downwards.
Soft, hardwearing and super-shiny, silk panne is the most striking. It makes into elegant curtains and works in upholstery, so long as you don’t mind the ‘shabby chic’ look of the pile as it is crushed and re-distributed with wear. I find this adds an element of life to a formal piece of upholstery, and I quite like to use it as textural contrast with another fabric – perhaps as a border to a heavy or textured weave, the lining of a double sided curtain, or as one element of double curtains.