Are you a “do-it-yourselfer” when it comes to reupholstering your furnishings? Good for you, it’s a great way to furnish your home at a reasonable price. Whether you are considering upholstering your own furniture or looking to purchase fabric for a professional upholsterer, it's vital that you make the right decision when choosing upholstery fabric.
Most people focus on the colour and pattern of their chosen fabrics when evaluating the options available online. Whilst these aesthetics are important, it is also critical to remember that the fabric needs to be properly designed to serve the function you have in mind. A sheer upholstery fabric may seem a beautiful material for a sofa, but in reality, it's going to last about as long as an Arsenal lead late game. Whilst appearances are important, make sure the fabric of your choice can stand up to the job at hand.
The thickness of upholstery fabric is a second issue to focus on. As a general rule thinner fabric can be used for less demanding upholstery needs and even, in certain cases, as curtain fabric; thicker fabric, on the other hand, is the best solution for “high-use” upholstery such as a family room chair. Be objective in your evaluation. If the piece will primarily be for show, a thin fabric is acceptable. If the furnishing is going to be used for afternoon naps, then you’d better go with a thicker solution.
There are also safety factors to consider. Most fabrics have historically been highly flammable. This is no longer the case thanks to modern chemical advancements, but when evaluating fabric be sure to opt for a fabric which has a flame retardant fabric treatment. The last thing you want is a forgotten cigarette setting your home on fire.
There are many fabric compositions and weaves to choose from and their costs per metre vary wildly. It's possible to save some money on the fabric, or even buy a better quality fabric by looking at discount upholstery fabric online. That aside, let’s take a quick look at three of the more popular choice for upholstery fabric these days.
Jacquard – Jacquard upholstery fabric is created with a specific weaving style, in which individual threads are raised to different heights during the looming process. Named after Joseph Jacquard, who was the inventor of the loom head used to create the style, a Jacquard fabric has a pattern raised from the underlying fabric – as opposed to print patterns on which the design is flush with the base fabric. Jacquard is a great choice for formal pieces, such as stylized chairs.
Chenille – Originating in France, Chenille upholstery fabric is made with a cross-pile weaving process, creating very soft fabric which can also be iridescent. The material is beautiful but not extremely durable. This makes it a perfect choice for soft furnishings which will not receive excessive stress, such as scatter cushions.
Velvet – People seem to either love or hate velvet, with no middle ground. If, like us, you love it, the fabric is a great choice for many upholstery projects. Velvet upholstery fabric consists of very short piles which are cut to the same length, a process believed to have come to the UK from the Far East. Velvet is known for being difficult to clean and should be used sparingly on items when exposure to dirt and spills can be expected. Although velvet is a thick fabric, it can make a great curtain material for bedrooms since it tends to block out all sunlight.
There are many other considerations which come into play when choosing a fabric. For example, special care must be taken when selecting material for furnishings in children’s rooms. As we all know, kids will stomp, tear, write on, rip, yank and generally destroy almost anything around them – including the fabric on chairs and beds. This is a war you cannot win, so if you are building furniture for your child’s room use inexpensive, sturdy fabric designed for the purpose. When they start to grow up, you can redecorate their room with better quality material.