Velvet is a woven fabric where the softness comes from weaving cut threads evenly throughout the fabric. If you magnify it, it winds up looking a bit like shag carpeting. The original velvet fabrics were made for nobility from very soft materials like Cashmere wool. Silk is also used to make very expensive types of velvet since the fibers are so soft but also tough. You can get velvet made from these kind of exotic natural materials, but most natural-fiber velvet is now made with cotton. Velvet can also be made from synthetic fibers, but may not be quite as soft as that made from natural fibers.