The practice of upholstery originated in Europe, particularly London, in the 18th century. Before that, many chairs featuwred either bare seats or fabric coverings without padding or springs inside for cushioning. 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. Olefin is a manufactured fiber that is strong and very lightweight. Upholstery is the art of providing furniture with padding and covering generally in the form of upholstery fabric. This tough material can be gently vacuumed, wiped with a damp cloth and cleaned with leather conditioner or saddle soap. Jacquard is a heavier fabric that tends to be multicolored and used for upholstery, as well as drapery. Cotton is a popular plant based fiber that is used extensively for many kinds of upholstery fabric. Small or dimly lit rooms benefit from the use of plain fabrics, vertically striped fabrics or fabrics with a small motif. As spring and summer bloom, linen and cotton in bright, happy tones suit the mood. 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. Soiled linen upholstery must be professionally cleaned to avoid shrinking. Larger rooms can carry larger prints and bolder colors and even combinations of patterns and prints. Sofas, chairs, and ottomans receiving only moderate amounts of wear will do fine with less durable upholstery fabric. There are many different choices for upholstery fabric. 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. Linen is best suited for formal living rooms or adult areas because it soils and wrinkles easily. Latex is a substance often used as a back coating on fabrics to make them easier to upholster. It is a milky white liquid that is extracted from the rubber tree, milkweed plant, or the poppy family. Easy-care and less expensive than leather, vinyl is ideal for busy family living and dining rooms and, durability depends on quality. When blended with wool, polyester can cause pilling. Damask can be made of cotton, silk or synthetic fabrics and is commonly used for drapery and upholstery. 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. Chenille is made from woven yard loops that are then cut to expose a tuft. Upholstery in high traffic areas or pieces subjected to daily heavy wear need to be covered in tough, durable, tightly woven upholstery fabrics. The nap (or hand) of chenille lasts forever. Microdenier / Microfiber is a yarn made of fibers that tend to be thinner than a silkworm’s web. Most microfibers are synthetics such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, or rayon. Is your furniture in a traditionally themed living room that is only used on occasion? Autos typically are clad in either leather or cloth, ranging from ultra expensive to the very basic. Chambray is a lightweight plain weave cotton fabric similar to denim. Chambray is woven on a colored warp with white fill yarns. Polyamide is a manufactured fiber that is a type of nylon. Polyamide is known for its exceptional strength, elasticity, and luster. Vinyl (Poly Vinyl Chloride) is a manufactured thermoplastic fiber. Vinyl is noted for its strength and ability to resist weathering. Upholstery fabrics are sometimes light enough for window treatments and slipcovers. Jacquard is an intricate fabric that features a variegated weave or multi-color pattern. 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. Velvet is a short, dense, cut-pile woven fabric with a luxurious feel and appearance. 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. Velveteen or Corduroy is similar to velvet. Up the Bolt is a fabric that is up the bolt is applied to furniture exactly the way it is made on the roll. This is often necessary to keep designs in the proper direction. Up the bolt fabrics may result in seams on some styles. Woven fabric patterns hold up longer than printed ones. Velvet has one plush side and one plain woven side. Just like in fashion, you can dramatically change the look of your home by changing the fabrics that surround you. Acrylic resists wear, wrinkling, soiling, and fading. Marine furniture requires a significant amount of heat and water resistance, resulting in heavy uses of vinyl and polyester.