Linen is a natural fiber obtained from the flax plant. Linen is durable and has a natural luster. Nylon is very resilient; in a blend, it helps eliminate the crushing of napped fabrics such as velvet. During fall and winter, it is inviting to be surrounded by the warmth of velvet and chenille in deep and sober colors. Polypropylene is a manufactured fiber that is a type of Olefin. Polypropylene is quick drying, stain resistant, and exceptionally strong. Leather is a very popular choice as an upholstery fabric, as it is delightfully soft yet resistant to spills and stains. All leathers display a variety of unique natural markings and variations in color. Velvet was originally made from silk for royalty. 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. Velveteen is made from thick woven cotton and is available with ridges known as corduroy. Toile is a cotton or linen fabric with a printed design depicting figures or landscapes in a single color. 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. Rarely used alone, nylon is usually blended with other fibers to make it one of the strongest upholstery fabrics. Boucle can be identified by its curled or looped surface, this material is heavier than many other upholstery fabrics. Developed as imitation silk, acetate can withstand mildew, pilling, and shrinking. Railroaded is a fabric that is railroaded is applied to furniture at a 90 degree angle from the way it appears on the roll. Rarely used alone in upholstery, polyester is blended with other fibers to add wrinkle resistance, eliminate crushing of napped fabrics, and reduce fading. Leather furniture can be rather expensive, although the same look can be achieved with the use of fake leather uphostery fabric. Upholstery fabrics are usually a little heavier and more durable than multi-purpose or drapery-weight fabrics. Wool blends can be spot-cleaned when necessary. Linen is best suited for formal living rooms or adult areas because it soils and wrinkles easily. Acetate is a synthetic fiber made from cellulose acetate. For the ultimate in spill and stain resistance, however, synthetic fibers such as vinyl are used extensively for uphostery fabric. Tapestry is a heavy, flat-woven fabric features elaborate designs appropriate for various uses throughout the home. There are natural fabrics such as mohair, wools and cashmeres, which are made from sheered and woven animal fur. Acrylic resists wear, wrinkling, soiling, and fading. Cotton is best ironed when the fabric is damp. Silk is so delicate that although it can be hand-washed it is best sent to the dry-cleaners. It may make more sense to avoid a very bold upholstery fabric color for a smaller room, especially if your furniture piece is also large. Microfiber upholstery fabric, which has increased in popularity over the years, is a blend of polyester and polyamide. Linen is best to wash it in cold water to avoid shrinkage. Linen upholstery fabric is another plant derived fiber, and shares many similarities with cotton. Depending on the weave, cotton blends can be sturdy, family-friendly fabrics. A stain-resistant finish should be applied for everyday use.
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