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.)
Most fabrics used in the Upholstery and Decorating Industry fall under one of the above classifications, but some of these cross over into 2 groups:
1. Textile Fibers
2. Man-made Fibers
1. Textile Fibers
Almost 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 two 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.
2. Man-made Fibers
These 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.
Fabrics that are suitable for furniture 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 an 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. Bull-denim / Cotton Twill: 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. Rep: a plain weave fabric with a dominant rib running in the weft direction.
8. Ticking: a strong, fine twill woven fabric, traditionally produced 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 produced in plain colors or with elaborate designs. Used for Upholstery Covers and Soft Furnishings.
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 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 rayon. 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.
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 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, but is also suitable for Soft Furnishing.
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 popular choice for furniture upholstery.
PVC / Vinyl 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 make 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 owners cherish and look for when purchasing leather. It is excellent to use for upholstery.