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. Upholstery fabric has so many choices, colors, textures. Matelasse is a heavy fabric with a soft hand. Matelasse has the appearance of being puffy or quilted. 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. Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of an upholstery fabric; just like you see when you buy linens for the bed. Autos typically are clad in either leather or cloth, ranging from ultra expensive to the very basic. Vinyl (Poly Vinyl Chloride) is a manufactured thermoplastic fiber. Vinyl is noted for its strength and ability to resist weathering. Rarely used alone, nylon is usually blended with other fibers to make it one of the strongest upholstery fabrics. High-quality acrylics are manufactured to pill significantly less. Linen upholstery fabric is another plant derived fiber, and shares many similarities with cotton. Silk has a very soft hand and can be woven into nubby informal textures and shimmering paper-thin sheets. Fabrics are versatile and allow for quick and inexpensive reinventions. Chenille uphostery fabric is a soft tufted cord of silk, cotton, or worsted used in embroidery or for fringing. Jacquard is an intricate fabric that features a variegated weave or multi-color pattern. Acrylic is a synthetic fiber and was developed as imitation wool. Toile is a cotton or linen fabric with a printed design depicting figures or landscapes in a single color. Boucle can be identified by its curled or looped surface, this material is heavier than many other upholstery fabrics. For the ultimate in spill and stain resistance, however, synthetic fibers such as vinyl are used extensively for uphostery fabric. Upholstery fabrics are sometimes light enough for window treatments and slipcovers. 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. Leather is a very popular choice as an upholstery fabric, as it is delightfully soft yet resistant to spills and stains. Cotton can also be washed. Although it requires an investment, having an extra set of drapery, slipcovers and pillow covers allows you to adapt your interior design to the changing seasons. Upholstery fabrics are designed to take more wear as they're usually a little more heavy and more durable than multi-purpose or drapery and curtain weight fabrics. Muslin is a plain woven fabric that comes in various weights. Avoid delicately colored upholstery fabrics around children and pets. i.e. White is going to appear dirty fast. Wool is obtained from sheep fleece and the term "virgin wool" denotes new, not recycled wool. Low-quality acrylic may pill excessively in areas that receive high degrees of abrasion. Cotton is a popular plant based fiber that is used extensively for many kinds of upholstery fabric. Acrylic fibers are also man made and include such brand names as Orlon, Acrilan, Dolan and Dralon. Silk is a delicate fabric and only suitable for adult areas, such as formal living rooms and must be professionally cleaned if soiled. Chenille is also used for bedspreads and garments. Larger rooms can carry larger prints and bolder colors and even combinations of patterns and prints. Acrylic resists wear, wrinkling, soiling, and fading. Polyurethane is a manmade organic polymer with high elongation and strength. Polyurethane is often used in elastic and plastic or vinyl like textiles. What type of upholstery fabric should you choose? Developed as an imitation silk, linen, and cotton, rayon is durable, yet wrinkles easily. Recent developments have made high-quality rayon very practical. As spring and summer bloom, linen and cotton in bright, happy tones suit the mood. Railroaded is a fabric that is railroaded is applied to furniture at a 90 degree angle from the way it appears on the roll. There are many different choices for upholstery fabric. Consider the size of the pattern on the piece of upholstery fabric. Consider whether it is appropriate for the size of the furniture it is covering, as well as the room size. Chenille is commonly used for bedspreads or rugs, but makes an excellent fabric choice for upholstery. Jacquard's name comes from the type of weave used to produce the fabric. During fall and winter, it is inviting to be surrounded by the warmth of velvet and chenille in deep and sober colors. The Jacquard loom is capable of weaving intricate patterns with many layers and many threads at the same time. Because leather is a natural product, it absorbs dyes and reacts differently to treatments from hide to hide. Full grain leather is a top grain leather with all its natural texture (grain) intact.