Fabrics have come and gone over the years. But despite the many changes in polyester products, cotton cloth styles have remained fairly consistent. For certain there is one product that seems to have stood the test of time….DUVETYNE. Of course, some consider Duvetyne to be like the little kid sister to big brother COMMANDO CLOTH!
Commando Cloth and Duvetyne are woven masking fabrics made from 100% cotton. They are comparable fabrics except for a few subtle differences. Both have a brushed matte finish and look very similar from the audience. However, Commando Cloth is a heavier fabric which allows no light to pass through. In contrast, Duvetyne is a bit lighter and will allow pinholes of light to show through if there is a very high concentration of light behind it. Both fabrics are widely used as masking throughout the theater and entertainment industry.
Duvetyne is 8oz per linear yard when weighed. A standard 100 yard roll will weigh in at about 55 pounds. What exactly does 8oz feel like? I would compare an 8oz to a cheap open weave denim jeans–a pair that isn’t of the heaviest or top quality. Not a real workman’s weight.
Commando Cloth is double the weight – making it twice as durable–coming in at 16oz per linear yard. A standard 100 yard roll will weigh in at 100 pounds. The feel of commando cloth is like a super heavy pair of workman’s jeans. You just have a sense of the durability in the thickness and denseness of the cloth.
Another fabric to keep in mind is VELOUR. Velour is a knit, napped fabric that’s memorable for its lush feel. Velour gets its signature soft feel from what’s called a pile knit texture, which comes from a weaving process where the loops are cut off at the end. In the theater industry, velour is beloved for its rich luster, fabric durability and clean appearance. Velour fabric can be made from cotton or synthetic material and has a range of qualities depending on the weight and type chosen.
Velour is not to be confused with velvet. Although similar, velour is a pile knit fabric, whereas velvet is a pile weave fabric (yarns are looped into one direction). The difference? Velvet is a lot softer and more luxurious, but also more delicate and better suited for lighter applications.
Velour is a tried-and-true theater fabric. Known for its light-absorbing qualities, velour is most commonly used as stage curtains. Velour fabric is super durable and versatile in use. Plus, the crush fabric looks great, making it a smart investment for small to large theaters. However, it is much heavier than commando and duvetyne. So, if you are looking for rentals, velour might not be the greatest in terms of manageability due to its physical weight. You can get lighter “velours”, but they are not true velours in terms of sound absorption and light blocking abilities. They are more for recreating the look of velour without the functionality of a velour.
So, if you have an upcoming theater production and you’re debating which theater fabrics to use, we recommend velour to any size theater that is looking to purchase for long term use where the curtains will stay hung in place. We recommend commando or duvetyne for any theater or production looking to rent for their one time production. These fabrics are simply easier to handle than velour. No matter what you decide, these are excellent fabrics for theater and entertainment purposes.