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Upholstery Fabric Forum
Christian:"This is a JF fabric. Robson is what it's called.
"It has kind of a sheen to it. It's a really beautiful fabric. I'm sure it's completely synthetic, right Michelle?
"It's got a really nice weave, more of a linen type weave. The sheen is really nice, it has a really nice hand to it. It's really a pretty fabric. It does get pretty stringy, so you're going to have to serge it or edge it if you have some sort of application where the seams are going to be out. Upholstery is going to be fine. I don't think it's going to go anywhere. If you were going to do just cushions or something like that you're going to want to edge it.
"You can use this for a lot of different upholstery applications. It's tough. It doesn't really stretch very much, it's stable, the weave is pretty intense. I think it's great stuff. I like it a lot."
Christian:"This is Sephoric by JF Fabrics. This stuff has a blackout lining in back. That's what the white is. It has a real hard finish, sort of like a silk. A little bit of texture, but smooth. It has a sheen to it.
"It was difficult to work with because of the way it feeds into the machine with its rubberized backing. Putting it into the machine with another fabric, a completely different fabric, it gathers up. It was not good."
Michelle:"It puckers. It puckers, puckers, puckers. This lining, I'm pulling so hard to keep it from doing that and it still does it."
Christian:"It's a nice gold. It's pretty neutral. As neutral as gold can be, it's bright but it goes with lots of things. I like the way it looks, but I don't like working with it. I would like it as a drapery fabric or roman blinds, but that's about it."
Christian:"What we have here is a French Mattress cushion with a flange edge. It was going to have hand ticking through it and what we did is put this -- we call it fluff, but basically it's a high loft Dacron with a backing on it -- and tacked with the serge. It doesn't have to be "perfect" perfect. Same thing with the boxing. It's going to be two inches. I'm going to sew it on and what it's going to look like is this.
"This fabric is nice. It's a very loose linen. It doesn't have a lot of strength to it, but it's working really well. The pattern is random enough that we don't have to match it to the boxing.
"It's a very old world style fabric. Crewel is what it's called. It's embroidery done with a very heavy thread."
Christian: "This is a microfiber from Charlotte Fabrics.
"It has a nice, ultra-suede nap to it. Then there is this cut-out relief sections; these little prints."
Michelle: "It doesn't go that deep, just deep enough to give it a little bit of texture."
Christian: "For this application it worked out really well. This chair is a little bit unusual. There's a lot of gluing involved and that sort of stuff. It's nice. We've used this a number of times for pieces of furniture and it's come out very well.
"It's very durable. It's very easy to clean, just soap and water or a wet rag; wipe it off and it works very well.
"Thumbs up. I like it. It is easy, if you pierce the back of it with something sharp, whether it's a nail or whatever and then pull on it you can create a tear. You need to be cautious with it. The backing is the base for stability. But, it's great. As long as you get used to working with it, it's a nice fabric."
Michelle:"Verdict Tangerine is the orange. Vow Charcoal is the grey. It's very interesting because it's almost like a hologram. It's got a striation in it, but when you turn it the other way they're just the opposite. Where it was narrow, now it's wide. It's really cool.
"It is stretchy, but not to the point where it's going to be baggy. It stays very nicely.
"The grey is very slick, very slippery. The orange however has quite a bit of texture in it. It's almost like a fabric texture. It's got a really nice backing, a cotton backing.
"This would not be appropriate for a longer cushion or something where it didn't have something to be pulled tight around. If it was on a cushion it would wrinkle because it has too much stretch for that sort of application. You could do it if you were upholstering on a board because then you'd have that stretch factor. But, just over foam it wouldn't be appropriate.
"It's real interesting material. And it changes with the way you look at it."
"It's a beautiful color and it's a very nice material. It's got a good tight weave. It sewed-up really nicely. It doesn't have much stretch, which is perfect for this chair because it's a very structured and rather hard seat. It's almost not even a Styrofoam. It's like a closed cell foam.
"It's a little on the rougher side. When it comes off the roll at the end of a run a lot of times it will get crooked. It doesn't really compromise the material at all. You just have to make some adjustments to make it look right because you want your grain to go straight and it was off one side.
"It would be really good for Mid-Century: any of the Mid-Century sofas or chairs. Also, it wouldn't make bad drapes. It could be backed or just use the regular lining with it. It's pretty heavy duty. I think the rating on it was close to 100,000 if I'm not mistaken. It worked very well."
Michelle: "The content is nylon and polyester, so it wears well. It's got kind of a masculine pattern so it would be good for a gentleman's sitting room or library."
Christian:"It almost feels like a cotton, sort of a cotton jacquard is the weave. It feels really nice. It's really soft."
Michelle: "It's black and gray and cream. You could put any kind of accent with it. You could put a lime green pillow on this. You could put red. You could put just about any color -- yellow would look really good with gray."
Christian:"It's durable. It has thirty thousand double rubs which is okay for an easy chair. You wouldn't want to put it your main sofa."
Michelle: "It has a pretty good bias stretch. It doesn't have much stretch selvage to selvage. But, you wouldn't want that anyway because it makes the seat baggy."
Christian:"It's a really nice fabric. It has a really nice hand."
Christian:"Today we're looking at Duralee Pavilion. It has a nice feel to it, a nice hand to it. It doesn't drape well. It's kind of "cardboardy", but that's pretty typical with this kind of stuff. But, for what it is, it's really nice. I like it."
Michelle:"I wouldn't pick it for myself, but I love the pattern. It's very interesting and it's a larger repeat than what you'd think. In the book you can't really see that much. It's a little over 14 inches. Horizontally it's 14 and vertical it's 13 inches, so it's not large enough that it's going to be a problem putting this on anything."
Christian:"I'm not really big on prints, but this one I like because it's broken up enough. There's not this big rose. It has a ferny kind of leaf pattern which is nice."
Michelle:"It's extremely durable and even bleach cleanable which I find fascinating because it's a dark yarn. This is going in a cabin with a lot of grandkids. They were considering using the back side. It's as pretty as the front side, but with all the grandkids they decided that this would be better. It's not very stretchy. It has a nice feel to it. It's not real, real soft. But, it doesn't have that real hard feel that some weaves do. It's a nice material."
Michelle:"This is a woven tweed; very nice weight to it. I love these new tweeds. They're beautiful. This is a nice tight one."
It's almost like a wool the way it turns out, like a felt or brushed cotton."
This particular material we used on two matching love seats. With a dark blue contrasting welt of the same material."
It made up very well. It was very crisp and it steamed out nicely. It made nice cushions. It worked out really well."
I like these because they wear very well. I believe it's a hundred thousand double rubs, which is commercial grade. It does have some diagonal stretch, but none side to side or top to bottom. It will go around curves. It will do that for you and lay in there beautifully."
Christian:"Fabricut Allegory is a very large print. It is a very, very low pile velvet, almost like an ultrasuede."
Michelle:"It's a very bold and vibrant pattern. The backing is Acrylic. It's a very touch backing. There's no stretch in this material which is good for wear-ability and for how it looks, but it's a little more difficult to work with."
It has a bit of a nap to it, a little texture. It's very soft and it seems to be really wear resistant. It made up really well in the sofa we did. We did a heavily tufted sofa; back and arms. It has a lot of pleats in it as well. It looked great."
It's very colorful. It's got just about every color you can think of, even red and pink."
Christian:"It's definitely an acquired taste. It went into a pretty fancy first hill condo. He has a lot of artwork and he likes that kind of brightness. You would definitely have to be into that to like it"
Christian:"This is Lime Velvet from Duralee. It has a hundred percent cotton pile; that's the stuff when you run your hand on the velvet, that's the pile. It's cotton, it's nice. It doesn't crush as much as most velvets do. It's a good one. I wouldn't say it's good for commercial purposes, but for home it's great."
Michelle:"It's almost like a mohair. It's got a straight-up cut nap. I can touch it, move my hands around, even sit on it and it doesn't leave a mark."
Christian:"You'd want to use this in basic upholstery. It would be good for tuck and roll. You want to keep it at a minimum with pleats, so flat surfaces are great. It has a nice piping welt."
Michelle:"It's nice to work with. It's not hard to work with at all. It's not a real stretchy fabric which makes it slightly more difficult, but much nicer to look at. It doesn't bag or stretch out. There's a lot of good colors available, trendy colors and traditional colors."
Christian:"It's a nice velvet. I like it. It works."
Michelle: "This is a recycled leather which is one of my favorite products. I've been using it for two or three years now and I've had nothing come back."
Christian: "Cutting down the seam allowance reduces the puckers. It's kind of like particle board in that it's chips of leather and the backing is actually the leather part. The front or the face is polyurethane"
Michelle: "It's kind of a mixture between a bronze and a silver. It's a nice texture; it's not too much, but it's not smooth and shiny either. I think it's very attractive."
Christian: "It's okay. I was kind of disappointed in the durability of it. It stretches easily. I wouldn't necessarily say it would be good for a high traffic area. The place that we used it in will be okay because it's very high-end. It stretches a lot, actually. It has quite a bit of stretch to it."
Michelle: "It's a very good product, though. It works well and looks beautiful. That's all I have to say about that one."
Christian: "This fabric is Saddle from Luxury Fabrics. It definitely has synthetic qualities. It's not a natural fiber; you can that by the feel of it. It has a little bit of a sticky coating to it."
Michelle: "This is woven together which is why it's a chenille. The black fiber is a thin thread and the gold color or beige color is thicker. That's what makes it chenilley. It's got that soft sheared look to it. The only thing I can say is it does have a backing on it, but it's quite thin, which would mean it would be more stretchy than you may want it to be. It'll make wrinkles."
Christian: "The draping is alright on this. It's thin enough. It has a definite nap to it, that's okay. It seems to be an overall good fabric."
Michelle: "It's got a real neutral look to it and a darkness that would help with staining. But, it's light enough that it's not really dark and boring. Other than that it's a nice material."
Christian: "Naugahyde is a PVC vinyl-coated, knit-backed fabric. It kind of has a bad rap; when you say Naugahyde people think of cracking and horrible stuff, but today's Naugahyde is really good. It's a really good vinyl choice.
"It does stretch only in one direction which is good and bad. Sometimes you want to form fit things, but this only stretches in one direction so there might be a little bit of a fitting problem with this.
"I don't really think temperature is an issue with this anymore. It was in the beginning. If you got it warm it would dry-out and crack. The plastics of today are very different than they were before.
"I'd say overall it's a huge improvement on what it originally was. It's a good product."
Christian: "This is a polyolefin, another fiber that's totally synthetic. Olefin is similar to synthetic carpeting. This is sort of the answer to what was originally the Danish wools. I would use this over the Danish wools even though that's still available, because it just easier to deal with.
"It holds shape really well and steams out nicely. You can get a really tight fit.
"It does fray a little bit, but as long as it's on the inside and you have half an inch seam allowance, I think you're good.
"This is a looser weave and has more breath-ability than Sunbrella. Colorfastness is probably pretty similar.
"You could use this for multiple applications. You could use it for home furnishings. You could use this for restaurants; anything commercial. It would be great on a boat, though inside the boat would be better. (Outside) is where Sunbrella would be better.
No Nap or DirectionDuralee's Pattern #71006 is a medium weight geometric weave intended for indoor upholstery use. While the fabric is 100% polyester and easy to clean, it's not treated for any sort of demanding outdoor use.
Duralee #71006 comes in several earthy color combinations. The base color on each is neutral to beige. Twin circle patterns of slightly different tones repeat at 3½ and 7 inches. While the circles are distributed evenly, one circle pattern breaks the symmetry by repeating twice as often as the other.
Because it'a a weave, you'll notice a slight difference between pattern and background textures. There's no nap or direction to worry about. The fabric stretches slightly at the bias, but nicely retains it's horizontal and vertical shape. It drapes effortlessly. In short, this fabric is versatile and easy to work with.
Because Duralee #71006 comes in bold but somewhat neutral colors, it can be used as either a primary fabric or an accent.
Embroidered fabric is great for accent pieces such as pillows, seatbacks or bolsters, but it's rarely used to upholster large furniture. Thanks to its relatively tame pattern, "Spain" by JF Fabrics is an embroidered fabric appropriate for chairs, a slip cover, or even a sofa (right), but it does pose challenges.
The fabric itself is outstanding. A blend of linen, cotton and viscose (commonly referred to as Rayon), the base has the pleasing hand of a natural fabric. It feels a lot like linen, except thinner.
Sofa Upholstered With Spain #53J6041This is dense, high thread-count embroidery. The lush satin stitching contrasts nicely with the matte base, both in apperance and touch. The contemporary pattern repeats at 2¼ and 8½ inches — that's where things get tricky. While the embroidery is symetrical, aligning these multi-colored squiggles is a bit like solving Rubic's Cube. For this project, the customer wanted a bold, contrasting braid instead of a welted edge, so matching the pattern wasn't an issue. Color matching is less troublesome when working with the muted colors found in Spain #76J6041 and Spain #90J6041.
As a fabric made from natural fibers, there's very little stretch in this stuff. Threads can catch or unravel in places. We recommend measuring with care and serging the edges.
If you're looking for a lustrous fabric to upholster a treasured family heirloom, Naples by JF Fabrics is worth considering. It's not the most durable fabric, but Naples is silky and has plenty of eye appeal.
18th Century Chaise With Naples #56J6041 While traveling in France, one of our clients recently purchased a gorgeous 18th century chaise lounge. She wanted the antique chaise upholstered, then shipped to a home in Monaco.
Since the chaise will be displayed, but rarely used as furniture, the durability of the upholstery fabric is not a primary concern.
This fabric is a conventional cotton/polyester blend with the silky hand of sateen. The floral pattern rises from the glassy background in tiny horizontal striations. The pattern's contrasting tone and texture is so subtle that it's difficult at first to spot the floral motif. Even so, there's a clear direction in the fabric. It has a vertical repeat of 17.5 inches, so you have to be careful to align the "flowers up" wherever possible.
As you'd expect, there's no nap in this silky fabric. It's lightweight and drapes nicely, but the slippery surface makes Naples a little tricky to work with. Cut edges tend to fray (above left), so it's best to serge or treat exposed edges.
Naples by JF Fabrics is currently available in several colors. You may purchase Naples for $59.00 a yard from SaveOnFabrics.com.
Soft Hand & Non-Directional NapMicrofibers are extremely thin and versatile synthetic fibers. And when we say thin we mean really, really, thin — 1/100th the diameter of a human hair, in some cases. The first microfibers manufactured in the 1950s were nothing to write home about. Early microfiber upholstery fabrics were crummy and cheap looking.
Fast forward to the 21st Century. Microfibers have come of age. The best mills now produce plush, microfiber fabrics some would mistake for velvet. Charlotte Fabrics' newly released Pattern 2850 Spring Trellis is among the best we've found.
There's a lot to like about this fabric. Ambient light reflecting off the etched basketweave pattern gives this Nylon fabric a rich color complexity. It's lightweight, extremely durable and easy to clean.
If you have a cat with an attitude*, this is the perfect fabric for your living room. You won't have a problem with Morris ripping up furniture upholstered in Pattern 2850 Spring Trellis. In addition to being thin, the fibers are short. Best of all, there are no loops for a cat to dig its claws into.
Unlike velvet, there's no direction in this fabric's nap. The repeat is tiny, only a half inch. It drapes nicely. The fabric doesn't stretch very much. These characteristics makes 2850 Spring Trellis extremely easy to work with. When upholstering a chair (right), we didn't have to worry about matching a nap direction or pattern repeat.
Welted SeamRayon and Linen are among the world's oldest fabrics. Linen, woven from flax, goes back to the dawn of civilization. Rayon was created in the early 20th century to mimic the look and feel of more expensive silk. Technically Rayon is considered a synthetic fiber, though it's processed from wood and cotton cellulose.
Rayon and Linen share many characteristics; both fabrics are absorbant and comfortable to wear. On the other hand, they shrink easily and have a tendency to tangle and wrinkle.
Linen fibers in the fabric modify the silky feel of pure Rayon, giving this blend a soft, if not slippery hand. Thanks to the Rayon, it drapes nicely.
Both component fabrics fray easily so you have to be careful along the edges. At 9,000 cotton duck double rubs, it's durable enough for a typical living room or den; not so good if the kids use it as a trampoline. Keep in mind that this pattern is relatively large. It repeats at twenty-seven inches. And there's nothing subtle about the colors, all of which makes pattern alignment critical. As you might imagine, precisely matching a welt to this fabric is just about impossible, but the print is so busy you hardly notice.
Sunbrella's Dupione is a medium weight indoor-outdoor fabric with a medium deep ribbed texture. The popular Dupione collection has been around for years because it's sturdy, versatile and value-priced. Some acrylic indoor-outdoor fabrics can be a little stiff for upholstery applications, but we find Dupione soft and easy to work with. It's relatively thin and features a satisfactory stretch on the bias.
Relatively Thin Fabric
Distinctive Ribs The fabric is available in a spectrum of colors. From a distance, a swatch of Dipione may appear to be a single color with ribbed rexture. Up close, it's easy to spot bold, multi-colored ribs. The striations in Dupione-Peridot, for example, alternate between distinctive shades of beige and green. Viewed from a distance, the fabric takes on a single olive-khaki tone.
There are a couple of challenges we find working with Dupione. The first is properly aligning the fabric's ribbed texture along the vertical. You also have to be careful when fastening this fabric to certain kinds of furniture. Because Dupione is relatively thin, it can pucker when stapled to soft wood. Dupione is available from SaveonFabrics.com at $24.95 per yard -- 50% below retail. Buy something nice with the money you save.
Fully Treated BackingSunbrella describes its Fusion Collection as the "fusion of beauty and durability". Bisbee is one of the new fabrics in the Fusion Collection. Bisbee can be an excellent choice for draperies, indoor upholstery and occasional-use outdoor upholstery, such as pleasure boats or patio furniture. We don't recommend it for heavy-duty outdoor applications because the fabric isn't suited for that sort of thing.
The first thing you notice about Bisbee is its protective backing. This is something of a departure for Sunbrella. Manufactured from a proprietary Acrylic, most Sunbrella fabrics look and feel the same on both sides. With Bisbee, there's a definite face and backing.
When cutting Sunbrella, it's customary to use a hot knife to prevent fraying. That's not necessary with Bisbee. Among other things, the durable backing strengthens the fibers and all but eliminates frayed edges.
With its fibers locked in place, stretch is limited on the vertical, horizonal and bias. You'd think this characteristic would keep the pinstripes parallel, but we found the striping a little off when upholstering large chairs or sofas. A little tug here and there solved the problem. Overall, we found Bisbee easier to work with than most Sunbrella fabrics.
Consistent Grain and ThicknessThere's nothing like leather. For many people, it's a stylish way to upholster a chair or sofa. Trouble is, leather can be extremely difficult to work with. While grain and tiny imperfections found in a section of quality leather may enhance its character, significant flaws found on many hides render (no pun intended) entire sections unusable. Even a hide that looks great can be as stiff as a board or mishapen.
For these reasons and many more, we were pleased to find superior quality whole hide leather available in a range of colors.
To begin with, the hides we recently ordered to upholster a mid-century modern recliner (right) were nicely grained and virtually blemish-free. We couldn't even find a brand on any of them. The edges were a little rough, but that's pretty typical.
The color was brilliant. Cheap dye used by some manufacturers can come off on your fingers. The dye used on these hides was sharp, evenly set and permanent. Just as important, the leather we cut from the hides was uniformly thick (between 1.1 and 1.3 millimeters) and extremely piable. This leather was beautiful and easy to work with.
It's important to remember that not all cows are created equally; every hide is different. But, the care taken to select and process these hides speaks volumes. You can purchase these whole hides by calling SaveOnFabrics.com for $629 per hide -- hundreds less than the retail price. Buy something nice with the money you save!
Beinassis Lin by Kravet is a heavy-duty beige and bone jacquard with acrylic backing. This sturdy cotton, polyester, rayon blend is ideal for upholstering sofas, settees or lounge chairs. Its rich texture has an embroidered feel.
Welted Side Panel
As is often the case with print fabrics, aligning the pattern can be a challenge. Kravet manufactures Beinassis Lin in a standard width of 57 inches. Its botanical/foliage pattern repeats every 27 inches; roughly once every two feet.
Experts recommend centering the fabric's pattern in the middle of the seat back or deck, then working out.
The alignment process is slightly more difficult when a chair or sofa has side panels, such as the one pictured here. Matching and extending the fabric's pattern through the side panel can be tricky — you have to make allowances for the depth of the panel. On this chair, the welt helps ease the transition. It's not a perfect match, but it's awfully close.
You can purchase Beinassis Lin by Kravet from most fabric or upholstery stores for roughly $119.00 a yard. But, why spend all that money when SaveOnFabrics.com is selling Beinassis Lin for $81.50 a yard!. Buy something nice with the money you save.
Duralee describes its Bella-Dura family of more than 100 fabrics as both beautiful and durable. Pattern number 15509 color 598 (Camel) is an excellent example of the Bella-Dura line. It's an indoor-outdoor jacquard with plenty of texture and a stain repellent finish.
Smoothing Cupped Surfaces
This pattern is contained but abstract without any visible repeat. From a distance it has an almost organic appearance. It's rated at fifty thousand wire mesh double rubs; a sturdy upholstery fabric that should last for years when fitted properly. Despite being manufactured out of polyolefin, it boasts a nearly natural feel with minimal sheen. It's currently available in eight colors.
Like most indoor-outdoor fabrics manufactured from artificial material, Bella-Dura #15509-598 is stain resistant, but has limited stretch. It can also be a little stiff. It's not as rigid as similiar upholstery fabrics, but it definitely requires a skilled hand and special effort to smooth wrinkles on cupped and concave surfaces. On the plus side, the pattern doesn't repeat in any noticable way, so you don't have to worry about vertical or horizontal alignment.
You can purchase Bella-Dura #15509-598 by Duralee from most fabric or upholstery stores for roughly $77.50 a yard. But, why spend all that money when SaveOnFabrics.com is selling Bella-Dura #15509-598 for $49.98 a yard!. Buy something nice with the money you save.