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How To Choose The Right Fabric

Blog
01/03/2021
How To Choose The Right Upholstery Fabric
Choosing a fabric for your furniture piece is not always straightforward. Considerations such as aesthetics, fibre type, construction + durability all have a part to play
Fibre Choice
Natural fibres such as wool + linen are harvested from nature, whereas synthetic fibres such as polyester + nylon are derived from oil
Fibre types can affect:
+ The fabric’s performance, durability + longevity
+ The production process + types of chemicals used
+ Disposal options including whether the fabric can be recycled or is biodegradable  Eg: Wool may be chosen for aesthetics, durability + environmental benefits compared to a vinyl chosen for bleach cleanability
Textile Construction
Textiles can be constructed by weaving, knitting or non-woven techniques. Most upholstery textiles are woven
Weave
The interlacing of warp + weft yarns affect not only aesthetics such as texture or pattern, but also how fabric behaves when upholstered
All other things being equal 
A plain weave, created by weft yarns crossing over + under warp yarns, is generally the strongest and most hard wearing. 
A twill, crepe or satin weave, created by crossing a weft yarn over two or more warp yarns, has more stretch + give, which make it more suitable for curved furniture pieces
plain weave
twill weave
satin weave
crepe weave
Railroading
Rotating the fabric 90 degrees to achieve a continuous longer width without seams, such as banquette seating or screens
Feel + Comfort
Natural fabrics offer the most comfort by absorbing moisture away from the skin. Synthetic fabrics usually have poor moisture absorbency + require extensive processing to improve feel + handle
Appearance
Whether the fabric is chosen as a bold statement or an elegant texture, consider how it suits the furniture piece + sits within the space
Choose a longlasting aesthetic
Often fabrics are discarded when they are no longer in fashion. Choosing a lasting aesthetic can improve the fabric’s lifetime + enviromental impact. Consider classic plain or textured qualities, neutral colours + small simple designs. Darker colours are also more forgiving, helping to hide general staining + wear over time
Durability
Refer to CTA performance results such as abrasion + lightfastness, as commercial standards are the most stringent + reliable guide to durability
Cleanability
We always recommend regular professional cleaning. Consider easy to clean, impermeable vinyls when less maintenance is available
Stain Resistance
Qualities like wool are naturally stain resistant, although areas prone to spilling may need a High Performance textile or vinyl to ensure stains do not permeate the surface
High Traffic Areas
Always consider end use + setting, especially in more demanding, high traffic areas such as hotel lobbies, schools or restaurants
Choose a heavy duty commercial textile or high performance textile and vinyl for high traffic environments that have specific cleaning + heavy duty requirements
Antimicrobial
Any areas such as healthcare requiring bleach disinfection should consider a bleach cleanable vinyl or textile with antimicrobial properties
Outdoor
Outdoor usage requires high resistance to UV + light with water resistance. We recommend outdoor vinyls with proper care to avoid mildew + bacteria
Environment
Informed + considered fabric selection can reduce negative impact. Consider lifecycle-designed fabrics such as our sustainable LIFE Textiles collection