Upholstery Fabric

Below is an article about upholstery fabric: how it’s made, and how it’s used.

(We are not fabric stockists, and therefore do not carry stock of any fabrics. We order fabrics for our projects from local and international fabric houses by specifying their ranges and our clients selecting from that. If you are interested in a specific design or type of fabric, we will try to assist you as best as possible.)

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The following is a general classification with examples listed:

Woven, plain: repp, tweed, calico
Woven: brocade, damask
Pattern: tapestry
Print: cretonne, chintz
Pile: velvet, corduroy, plush
Knitted: jersey, laminated
Coated fabric: PVC-coated materials
Non-Woven: spun-bonded, stitch-bonded
Animal skins: hides and suede
Most fabrics used in the Upholstery and Decorating Industry come under one of the above classifications, but some of these cross over into 2 groups:
1. Textile Fibers
2. Man-made Fibers

  1. Textile FibersAlmost all fabrics, whether woven, coated, or knitted are made from textile fibers.Textile fibers are obtained from natural sources e.g. animals, vegetables or minerals.Textile fibers therefore have 2 categories: Cellulose and Protein.

Cellulose textiles are made from Cotton, Linen or Flax, Jute, Hemp, Coir and Sisal.
Protein textiles are made from Wool, Mohair, Cashmere, Alpaca and Silk.

  1. Man-made FibersThese are not found in nature. They are manufactured from natural raw materials or compounds that come from the chemical industry. These fibers include Viscose, Rayon, Nylon, Polyester and Acrylics.

Different fabric names and descriptions that are suitable for upholstery:
Flat Woven Fabric:
1. Boucle: a warm, thick, fabric with a rough surface produced by fancy yarns. Used in Upholstery and clothing.
2. Calico: a general textile name used to describe plain, woven cotton fabric. Can be used in a bleached or unbleached state. Used as a lining or as a under cover in Upholstery.
3. Cambric: a light weight, close weave fabric made from cotton or linen.
4. Canvas: a tough cotton or linen fabric. It is plain woven and produced in many various weights.
5. Denim or Bull-denim: a yarn dyed, twill fabric made from cotton. Denim is strong and durable and is very popular for upholstery.
6. Hessian: a plain woven, jute fabric that is normally un-dyed and is produced in various weights. The warp and weft yarns are the same weights. Although it is not suitable for upholstery, it is still used for lining inside sofas or in the display industry for covering screens.
7. Repp: a plain weave fabric with a dominant rib running in the weft direction.
8. Ticking: a strong, fine twill woven fabric, traditionally produce in white with black stripes.
9. Tweed: a heavy weight fabric in general.

Printed Cover Fabrics:
10. Chintz: a fine, plain woven fabric. It is produces in plain colors or with elaborate designs. Used for Upholstery Covers and Soft Furnishing.
11. Brocade: this is a Jacquard weave. This means, by using a variety of weaves, patterns are formed by the weft threads floating in the back of the fabric. Brocades are rich, colorful fabrics which were traditionally made from silk and often hand embroidered. Today, rayon and other synthetic yarns are used. Used for Upholstery and Soft Furnishing.
12. Brocatelle: a heavy figured fabric with a relief pattern in sateen weave surrounded by a tightly woven background. Extra warps are introduced to provide a good quality Brocatelle. Used for Curtains and Upholstery.
13. Damask: a single or two-color fabric which is figured by a warp faced back ground with wefts forming the pattern. The pattern can be seen both sides but is not reversible. Originally manufactured in pure silk, but it is now also manufactured in cotton, linen and rayons. Used for Curtains and Upholstery.
14. Tapestry: a heavy, closely woven patterned fabric with a compound structure. This name is often used to describe any heavily patterned Upholstery Fabric.

Pile Weave:
15. Corduroy: a weft of a pile fabric in which the warp yarns are cut to form grooves or cords running down the length of the fabric. Used for clothing, Upholstery and Soft Furnishing.
16. Plush: a heavy pile fabric. The pile is less dense than in velvet, but can be long enough to look like fur. It can be made with a warp or weft pile construction. Used mostly for upholstery.
17. Velvet: a cut warp pile fabric which was traditionally silk on a cotton base. The pile may be formed over wires and subsequently cut, or two pieces woven face to face and then cut to leave a pile on each. Velvet is a good Upholstery fabric.

PVC Fabrics: (Leatherette / Pu / “Pleather”)
18. This is mostly poly vinyl chloride and is produced chemically as a thermoplastic material. Upholstery fabric is made from expanded vinyl on a knitted cloth.

19. Leather is produced from the hides of any animals, reptile or bird by a process called tanning. This process preserve the skin, which would otherwise decay. Bovine (cow) leather is most commonly used, as it is a natural by-product of the meat industry. Real leather breathes, is warm and has individual characteristics which makes each hide unique. Leather will always bear the marks of its natural origin. These characteristics can show as healed scars, neck growth marks and areas of differing fibre thickness and hair pore structure.
These characteristics do not influence the durability or wearing qualities of the leather. They are signs that discerning owner cherish and look for when purchasing leather.It is excellent to use for upholstery.

See pictures below to match numbers:

Upholstery Fabrics pics

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