Polyester is a manufactured fiber that is resistant to stretching and shrinking. It is also quick drying, wrinkle resistant, and strong. The unifying element might be color, a type of print or a game of textures. Chenille is commonly used for bedspreads or rugs, but makes an excellent choice for upholstery. If you’re considering purchasing designer upholstery fabric for your furniture, do some research and consider the following to make sure you decide on the right upholstery fabric. Cotton is best ironed when the fabric is damp. Avoid delicately colored upholstery fabrics around children and pets. i.e. White is going to appear dirty fast. The nap (or hand) of chenille lasts forever. Linen's downfall is that it wrinkles a lot, but some consider that its allure. Linen is a very strong and sturdy fabric, even more so than cotton. Jacquard is a fabric having woven patterns such as tapestries, brocades, and damasks. Jacquard designs may be simple or very elaborate. Silk is a delicate fabric and only suitable for adult areas, such as formal living rooms and must be professionally cleaned if soiled. Linen is best to wash it in cold water to avoid shrinkage. This natural fiber provides good resistance to wear, fading, and pilling. It is less resistant to soil, wrinkling, and fire. Acrylic is a manufactured fiber made with synthetic materials. Acrylic may have the look of wool, cotton, or other fabric blends. It is colorfast, moth resistant, quick drying, and retains shape. When executed properly, a mix of fabrics can be beautiful. The challenge is to find a few fabrics with a common thread that ties the combination together. Cotton is a fiber that grows out of a plant and is woven in many forms. Microfiber, which has increased in popularity over the years, is a blend of polyester and polyamide. Chenille is made from woven yard loops that are then cut to expose a tuft. Velvet is used in everything from garments and upholstery to bedspreads and drapery. An upholsterer typically works on home décor, but some specialize in the marine or automobile industry. Upholstery in high traffic areas or pieces subjected to daily heavy wear need to be covered in tough, durable, tightly woven upholstery fabrics. Woven fabric patterns hold up longer than printed ones. Boucle can be identified by its curled or looped surface, this material is heavier than many other upholstery fabrics. Acrylic resists wear, wrinkling, soiling, and fading. Larger rooms can carry larger prints and bolder colors and even combinations of patterns and prints. Color is the most important reason people choose an upholstery fabric, so make sure your color choice is appropriate. Denim is a durable cotton fabric usually characterized by diagonal (twill) lines. Traditionally denim was indigo blue; however, today it is available in a wide range of colors. Spandex is a manufactured fiber known for its high elasticity. Linen is a natural fiber obtained from the flax plant. Linen is durable and has a natural luster. Cotton can also be washed. Chenille is soft to the touch and very popular as an upholstery fabric for sofas and chairs. Chenille tends to be a family favorite upholstery fabric. Faux Suede is a fabric woven with a nap to resemble suede. Today’s faux suede is primarily made of microdenier polyester. Upholstery fabrics are sometimes light enough for window treatments and slipcovers. Low-quality acrylic may pill excessively in areas that receive high degrees of abrasion. Linen is best suited for formal living rooms or adult areas because it soils and wrinkles easily. Silk is derived from silk worms and has been a symbol of luxury since forever. For a slightly retro or timelessly Scottish look, tartan plaid is another superb choice for seat or couch coverings. There are natural fabrics such as mohair, wools and cashmeres, which are made from sheered and woven animal fur. Today’s consumer is looking for “natural fabrics” and lots of textural interest. Wool is obtained from sheep fleece and the term”virgin wool” denotes new, not recycled wool. Velveteen is made from thick woven cotton and is available with ridges known as corduroy. Chambray is a lightweight plain weave cotton fabric similar to denim. Chambray is woven on a colored warp with white fill yarns. Wool is a natural fiber obtained from the fleece of sheep, lamb, Angora goat, or Cashmere goat. Specialty wool fibers are obtained from the camel, alpaca, llama, or vicuna. Wools are characterized by their fine, soft, wavy appearance. Dry Cleanable is a fabric that is dry cleanable, can be cleaned with chemical solvents instead of water. Rayon is a manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose which is processed from wood pulp. Rayon is characterized by it high absorbency, soft hand, and drapability. It can imitate the feel and texture of silk, wool, cotton, or linen. Nylon is very resilient; in a blend, it helps eliminate the crushing of napped fabrics such as velvet. Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric; just like you see when you buy linens for the bed. Upholstery fabrics are designed to take more wear. Determine where your upholstered pieces will be used in the home. Autos typically are clad in either leather or cloth, ranging from ultra expensive to the very basic. Dye Lot is a batch of fabric or yarn that has been dyed at the same time. There may be some color variation from lot to lot. Olefin is a manufactured fiber that is strong and very lightweight. Leather is a very popular choice as an upholstery fabric, as it is delightfully soft yet resistant to spills and stains. Mohair is a very desirable fabric or yarn made from the long silky hair of the Angora goat. Mohair is characterized by its luster and exceptional strength. Leather furniture can be rather expensive, although the same look can be achieved with the use of fake leather. Cotton is the most used fabric in the world. It can breathe. Silk is so delicate that although it can be hand-washed it is best sent to the dry-cleaners. Linen is a delicate fabric and does not withstand heavy wear; however, linen does resist pilling and fading. The natural fabrics are cotton, linen and silk. Damask can be made of cotton, silk or synthetic fabrics and is commonly used for drapery and upholstery. Some aspects of choosing upholstery fabric might seem pretty obvious like selecting a color. Polyurethane is a manmade organic polymer with high elongation and strength. Polyurethane is often used in elastic and plastic or vinyl like textiles. Rarely used alone in upholstery, polyester is blended with other fibers to add wrinkle resistance, eliminate crushing of napped fabrics, and reduce fading. Jacquard is a heavier fabric that tends to be multicolored and used for upholstery, as well as drapery. Acrylic is a synthetic fiber and was developed as imitation wool. Polypropylene is a manufactured fiber that is a type of Olefin. Polypropylene is quick drying, stain resistant, and exceptionally strong. Acrylic fibers are also man made and include such brand names as Orlon, Acrilan, Dolan and Dralon. Your upholstery and drapery are what typically give your room that comfort factor that is sometimes hard to achieve. The attractiveness of the napped suede look has lead to microsuede gaining in popularity in upholstery fabric applications, replicating the feel of real suede and adding stain resistance and durability, in addition to lower costs. Damask is a sophisticated, floral-patterned fabric, damask has reversed colors on opposing sides. Silk has a very soft hand and can be woven into nubby informal textures and shimmering paper-thin sheets. Surface treatments and blending with other fibers often atone for these weaknesses. Matelasse is a heavy fabric with a soft hand. Matelasse has the appearance of being puffy or quilted. Backing is a sprayed coating or another layer of fabric applied to the back of fabric. A backing may be needed to give the face fabric more body or to make it more appropriate for upholstery. A large bold upholstery fabric pattern might work better in a larger room, while a smaller pattern might be a happier choice for a smaller space. High-quality acrylics are manufactured to pill significantly less. As spring and summer bloom, linen and cotton in bright, happy tones suit the mood. Choose an upholstery fabric based on who will be using that piece of furniture. Velvet has one plush side and one plain woven side. Acetate is a manufactured fiber made of cellulose acetate obtained from wood pulp. Acetate has a soft feel, a luxurious appearance, and drapes well. It resists shrinking, moths, and mildew. Cotton is a fabric or yarn made from cotton fibers that have been obtained from the seed pod of the cotton plant. It is soft, breathable, and the most widely used natural fiber. A piece of furniture covered in chenille will still look new in 10 years, depending on how well you take care of it. Railroaded is a fabric that is railroaded is applied to furniture at a 90 degree angle from the way it appears on the roll. Muslin is a plain woven fabric that comes in various weights. When purchasing an upholstered piece or upholstery fabric, be aware that the higher the thread count, the more tightly woven the fabric is, and the better it will wear. Developed as an imitation silk, linen, and cotton, rayon is durable, yet wrinkles easily. Recent developments have made high-quality rayon very practical. Chenille is French for “caterpillar,” chenille has a thick, soft pile and is one of today’s most popular fabrics. It was originally used in the 1800’s to block drafts at doors and windows.