Cotton is the most used fabric in the world. It can breathe. The practice of upholstery originated in Europe, particularly London, in the 18th century. Before that, many chairs featured either bare seats or fabric coverings without padding or springs inside for cushioning. Chenille is made from woven yard loops that are then cut to expose a tuft. Spandex is a manufactured fiber known for its high elasticity. For the ultimate in spill and stain resistance, however, synthetic fibers such as vinyl are used extensively. During fall and winter, it is inviting to be surrounded by the warmth of velvet and chenille in deep and sober colors. Sheer fabric is available in silk, cotton and synthetic materials, and it's a perfect fabric for transparent or semi-transparent drapery. Olefin is a manufactured fiber that is strong and very lightweight. Muslin is a plain woven fabric that comes in various weights. 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. 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. Your upholstery and drapery are what typically give your room that comfort factor that is sometimes hard to achieve. Microfiber, which has increased in popularity over the years, is a blend of polyester and polyamide. Developed as an imitation silk, linen, and cotton, rayon is durable, yet wrinkles easily. Recent developments have made high-quality rayon very practical. Velvet is a short, dense, cut-pile woven fabric with a luxurious feel and appearance. Silk is a delicate fabric and only suitable for adult areas, such as formal living rooms and must be professionally cleaned if soiled. Olefin is a good choice for furniture that will receive heavy wear; however, it lacks the pliability and movement that natural fibers offer. Leather furniture can be rather expensive, although the same look can be achieved with the use of fake leather. Tweed and wool bring warmth to any piece of furniture and are just perfect for northern retreats. Jacquard's name comes from the type of weave used to produce the fabric. Silks are manufactured by worms. Full grain leather is a top grain leather with all its natural texture (grain) intact. Consider higher thread counts when purchasing a designer upholstery fabric. Nylon doesn’t readily soil or wrinkle, but it does tend to fade and pill. Linen is best to wash it in cold water to avoid shrinkage. 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. Upholstery fabrics are usually a little heavier and more durable than multi-purpose or drapery-weight fabrics. Consider the luxuries of silk upholstery fabric and its gorgeous appeal. Easy-care and less expensive than leather, vinyl is ideal for busy family living and dining rooms and, durability depends on quality. Small or dimly lit rooms benefit from the use of plain fabrics, vertically striped fabrics or fabrics with a small motif. Ideally, upholstery fabric should compliment your room’s decor and the furniture itself while also proving practical for your needs. Velveteen is made from thick woven cotton and is available with ridges known as corduroy. The unifying element might be color, a type of print or a game of textures. Acetate is a synthetic fiber made from cellulose acetate. Boucle is a fabric or yarn with a looped surface. Sailcloth or Canvas are available in solids, stripes and prints. The natural fabrics are cotton, linen and silk. The weight of tweed and wool fabrics makes them perfect for upholstery and drapery. 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. Fabrics are versatile and allow for quick and inexpensive reinventions. All leathers display a variety of unique natural markings and variations in color. Linen's downfall is that it wrinkles a lot, but some consider that its allure. Rarely used alone in upholstery, polyester is blended with other fibers to add wrinkle resistance, eliminate crushing of napped fabrics, and reduce fading. Chambray is a lightweight plain weave cotton fabric similar to denim. Chambray is woven on a colored warp with white fill yarns. Cotton is a popular plant based fiber that is used extensively for many kinds of fabric. High-quality acrylics are manufactured to pill significantly less. Acrylic is a synthetic fiber and was developed as imitation wool. Just like in fashion, you can dramatically change the look of your home by changing the fabrics that surround you. Autos typically are clad in either leather or cloth, ranging from ultra expensive to the very basic. Linen is a delicate fabric and does not withstand heavy wear; however, linen does resist pilling and fading. Silk is derived from silk worms and has been a symbol of luxury since forever. 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. Widely used for upholstery, drapery and garments. Leather is a very popular choice as an upholstery fabric, as it is delightfully soft yet resistant to spills and stains. 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. 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 fabric. Damask is a sophisticated, floral-patterned fabric, damask has reversed colors on opposing sides. Tapestry is a heavy, flat-woven fabric features elaborate designs appropriate for various uses throughout the home. Damask is a lustrous fabric (such as linen, cotton, silk, or rayon) that is characterized by its flat, glossy pattern on a solid background. Some fabrics appear casual, while others might look more formal. Consider the syle of the piece when choosing. Also consider the style of your interior decor. Marine furniture requires a significant amount of heat and water resistance, resulting in heavy uses of vinyl and polyester. Upholstery fabrics are sometimes light enough for window treatments and slipcovers. Because leather is a natural product, it absorbs dyes and reacts differently to treatments from hide to hide. Cotton is best ironed when the fabric is damp. Sturdy and durable, wool and wool blends offer good resistance to pilling, fading, wrinkling, and soil. What type of fabric should you choose? Velveteen or Corduroy is similar to velvet. Cotton is quite popular because like any natural fiber, it’s inherently strong and comfortable. Chenille is A soft tufted cord of silk, cotton, or worsted used in embroidery or for fringing. Polypropylene is a manufactured fiber that is a type of Olefin. Polypropylene is quick drying, stain resistant, and exceptionally strong. Velvet is used in everything from garments and upholstery to bedspreads and drapery. Boucle can be identified by its curled or looped surface, this material is heavier than many other upholstery fabrics. Chenille tends to be a family favorite. A piece of furniture covered in chenille will still look new in 10 years, depending on how well you take care of it. Rarely used alone, nylon is usually blended with other fibers to make it one of the strongest upholstery fabrics. Durability and use depend on the weave and finish. Damask weaves are formal; canvas (duck and sailcloth) is more casual and more durable. Developed as imitation silk, acetate can withstand mildew, pilling, and shrinking. Acetate is not a good choice for furniture that will get tough everyday use. An upholsterer typically works on home décor, but some specialize in the marine or automobile industry. 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. 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. Surface treatments and blending with other fibers often atone for these weaknesses. Linen is a very strong and sturdy fabric, even more so than cotton. Sheer fabric is commonly known as tulle or mesh. Determine where your upholstered pieces will be used in the home. Choose an upholstery fabric based on who will be using that piece of furniture. Depending on the weave, cotton blends can be sturdy, family-friendly fabrics. A stain-resistant finish should be applied for everyday use. Color is the most important reason people choose a fabric, so make sure your color choice is appropriate. Acetate offers only fair resistance to soil and tends to wear, wrinkle, and fade in the sun. This tough material can be gently vacuumed, wiped with a damp cloth and cleaned with leather conditioner or saddle soap. Nylon is a manufactured fiber that is exceptionally strong, elastic, and lustrous. Damask can be made of cotton, silk or synthetic fabrics and is commonly used for drapery and upholstery. Low-quality acrylic may pill excessively in areas that receive high degrees of abrasion. Jacquard is a heavier fabric that tends to be multicolored and used for upholstery, as well as drapery. Choosing an upholstery fabric's color is the single biggest factor in fabric selection. Silk has a very soft hand and can be woven into nubby informal textures and shimmering paper-thin sheets.