Sunday, September 16, 2007


Fabrics are seen as the final dressing up of the upholstery.In interior decoration ,fabrics are the crowning glory that touch and dress up the room
In the case of a sofa or chairs, the quality and design of the fabrics can double or even triple its price range.The prices for the fabrics can run for just a few dollars to hundred of dollars per meter.Good upholstery is when as few seams as possible are used making the sofa look smooth and clean.Sometimes wastage's, of the material cannot be avoided in making sure that its pattern or design in the fabric aligns correctly and will look nice on the finished sofa.You can look at each fabrics and can tell the cost of a sofa from it.Note here, that the natural fabrics are not as durable as man-made fabrics.
One advantage of fabrics is that it present you with a bigger range of color options;be it an intricate print design or a classic embossed single color usually comes in a fibre mix for strength and texture,and thoroughly tested for durability.Pick a fabric that will suit your life style.
Before you buy the sofa,ask for a fabric sample or a cutting that you can take home on approval,so you can see the material under lights in your room and with other pieces.If you're adventurous with colors;consider buying a neutral sofa and embellishing it with colorful cushions scattered on it.
Most fabric upholstery comes with some fabric protection plans,but do ask and confirm it with the retailers.Protection will reduce stains from liquids resulting in easier care and maintenance . However do take note that spillage should be cleaned up as soon as possible.When choosing the fabric suited for you needs in a sofa or chairs and how to care for it.

Wool Fibre

Wool is an ideal upholstery fibre because it is soft and comfortable.It takes dyes well and normally does not fade noticeably.It is flameproof.Because of the great variety of yarn, wool can be woven into many different fabrics.These are wool "flat-woven" so that it makes a close-textured,very strong repp (a practically indestructible corded cloth with the rib running across the width) or tweed.They are "flat" and usually smooth in texture with designs in large or small.

Care:Wool upholstery covers are best dry-cleaned.Spots and stains can be removed with a dry-cleaner or tepid soapy water or a special shampoo.Care instructions are usually supplied; if not, ask them and keep them for future reference.


Silk is a luxury fabric for upholstery and very impractical.Some antique chairs and chaise lounges traditionally demand silk upholstery but is not recommended for normal use.Silk is usually closely woven but traditionally was also used for the richest velvets and brocades.It is and has been from time memorial expensive indeed.

Care :Dry-clean.possibly some stains could be removed with tepid soapy water but test first, again in an obtrusive place and watch carefully whether the surfaces of the fabric remains unchanged when dried.


Cotton is used a great deal for upholstery ,particularly for loose covers.But it is important to choose solid, good-quality cotton fabrics.Cotton takes dyes and prints well,is easy to wash and has been comparatively cheap before but prices are now increasing .when choosing cotton avoid fabrics that have been heavily "dressed" to give an impression of better quality.The test is to rub the material between your thumb and forefinger.If white powder appears,there is excessive dressing.

Care :The beauty of most cotton is that it can be either washed or dry-cleaned.The velvets etc....are more safely dry-cleaned.


Linen fibres are much firmer and more lustrous and stronger than cotton ones.but they also tend to crease more easily.Linen can be woven in the same ways as cotton and is very often found mixer.

Care : washable or dry-cleanable. keep follow any instructions.


Rayon was the first synthetic fibre (has their own qualities and properties) and is still probably the most widely used.One of its great advantages is it cheapness,compare with the eve rising prices of natural fibres.It is about half the cost of other synthetic.Within the last ten years, rayon has been greatly improved with more "body" and better abrasion-Resistance.Rayon is used by itself but probably more often in blends with wool, cotton and other synthetic.It can be treated in all ways ; flat-woven to resemble close repps,tweeds or brocades or used for pile fabrics-rayon-velvets and figured rayon -brocades -giving a grand effect in a reasonable price range.In fact,this is the way to think of rayon: its use in (or in addition to) a fabric takes the price down as well as the wear.This is often acceptable when you want a cheaper or shorter-lived piece of upholstery rather than one to last your life time.

Care :Rayon is not always washable.Unless so described , it is better to dry-clean it and use dry-cleaning preparations to get out stains,spills etc.Test first.Keep and follow instruction given by manufacturer.


A percentage of nylon is generally used to give additional toughness and abrasion-resistance to other fibres; wool especially.Another use for nylon in upholstery is for stretch covers.These were invented for nylon ,because it has a high degree of elasticity and is given a two -way stretch when knitted.It can be knitted into plain or textured fabrics in one or more colors.It is eminently washable.The one snag is finding the ready-made to fit chair in the color / pattern you like.

Care : On its own,nylon can be washed.In blend, follow instructions.


The acrylic family of fibres has not been used for woven fabrics knitted fabrics may become more common as the rising prices of other fibres make acrylics comparatively cheaper but one acrylic, dralon, has entirely transformed and now dominates, "pile" fabrics, particularly velvet. Dralon is tough,washable, almost dog-cat and child-proof. Dralon is widely used as an upholstery fabric an sofas and chairs.

Care :Remove stains and keep clean by scrubbing with mild detergent or upholstery shampoo.

Melded fabric

These are synthetic but instead of bring made into fibres and woven, The fabric is produced as a continuous sheet one such nylon, cambrelle is already used for loose covers.

Blended Fabric

It is possible to combine the qualities of natural fibres and synthetics at an acceptable price by blending them.

Wool Blends :When wool is combined with synthetics, such as nylon or acrylics, it often becomes less expensive, while gaining qualities of durability and increased resilience.

Cotton and Lines Blends :It is mixture of cotton and linen ideal for loose covers.

Other Blends: Synthetic (particularly rayon and to some extent nylon and acrylic) are put into blends with wool or cotton to give the fabric easier cleaning qualities, bring down the price and or give better abrasion resistance. These blends very widely manufacturer or retailer should provide full details of the blend and how to care for it.


A great deal of "leather" upholstery on sale today is synthetic. The earlier synthetic leather is "leather cloth". A cotton fabric coated with nitro-cellulose which looked and smelt horrible, went hard, cracked and peeled has put people off imitation leather. This has completely changed , the best of the products available now has a natural look and wears well. Enormously popular now in the market (used to be considered as luxury) is leather sofa or chairs. Now new technique have been developed to make it much more affordable. Now, technology has enabled the achievement of all types of finish. Leather is a natural product and with corrected grain. I rather doing some cover up, the markings will differ from piece to piece and dyeing or dyes will remove most of the flaws. It comes in different styles and even plain styles will give a more contemporary feel. In terms of maintenance, leather is easy to look after with slightly damp cloth, it can easily remove dust, do keep it way from direct sunlight , as it can dry out and just like fabric it is not immune to the fading effects of sunlight.

Information below will enlighten you on the benefits of leather and synthetic leather and how to look after then in maintenance and cleaning.

Natural Hides.

All hide are first treated in some process to make it usable. Most of it has the surface treated to improve or change the color, to give it extra softness and resistance to staining. This gives the leather a slight shine. Some leather furniture uses "natural" leather which do not have the protective surface treatment. Leather needs "feeding" so it should be treated regularly with a proprietary brand of hide food, applied with a slightly damp cloth. This cleans the leather, helps keep it supple and conceals scratch marks which are difficult to avoid. Leather is almost unbeatable for upholstery. It is tough, wears well, look good weather it is new or shabby. Is comfortable and has that memorable leather smell. Its only disadvantages is its price, which is high.

CARE :Natural leather-wipe over with a clean,dry, soft clothes. If something more necessary , rub very carefully with a clean cloth well wrung out in cold water. Never use a detergent or soap on this leather. Obviously with no surface protection, it stains irremediably very easily.

Clean with soft cloth wrung out in cold or lukewarm water. Stubborn marks can be rubbed lightly using lukewarm soapy water. Avoid detergents, spirit, tea, coffee all stain leather, showing up as a light patch. Grease also stains it, showing up as a dark patch. Clean any spills immediately to prevent staining.


Suede is more expensive than plain leather,needing even greater care if it is to stay looking good.(the way suede coats and shoes wear out gives one an idea of what to expect from suede upholstery).there are now ways oftreating the surface of suede to protect it from water and grease marks : you should make sure that any suede furniture you buy has this kind of protection if you want it to last.

Care: Remove stains and keep clean by scrubing with mild detergent or upholstery shampoo.

Synthectic Leather

Pvc Fabrics.

Most synthethic leather for upholstery ( car seat especially)was made from pvc (polvinyl Choliride). Pvc is a plastic fabric squeezed out in a solid sheet.Grain ,pattern and color are embossed and printed on the top to the surface .Sometimes pvc is used on its own, more often now a thinner layer is bonded on to a knitted fabric,Pvc is extremely tough and har wearing.


An improved ,but slightly less tough fabric is Expanded Vinyl>this is the same old PVC but in the form of foam with a thin top skin, usually supported by knitted cloth.It feels softer, and it can be grained ,dyed ,textured and patterned.It simulates leather quite convincingly ,except that it hasn't the same porosity, which is why it is sticky and rather uncomfortable to sit on in hot weather which is rather a drawback.

Care :see below,same as in Polyurethane Fabrics.

Synthetic Polyurethane Fabrics.

The latest simulated leathers are made from sheets of polyurethane bonded on to fabric backings.These have a feel and appearance which is very close to leather,plus some porosity.They feel cool in summer and warm in winter and are very soft and fine.They allow designers great freedom in styling, although the life-span of the earliest types that were used was short,particularly when they were to cover button-back furniture.

It is difficult to tell PVC and Polyurethane leathers apart.I fact , to bring down the price of furniture, manufacturers sometimes use the more expensive Polyurethane leathers on the parts of the chair/sofa you see and feel most and PVC elsewhere.

Care : Both fabrics need to be wiped clean weekly with a cloth just dampened in mildly soapy water,dried carefully and buffed up.Stain can be absorbed by PVC ,so it is important to deal with them as they occur,especially ball-point ink.Use a proprietary ball-point ink remover.Get instructions from manufacturer and follow the carefully.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

View our exclusive collection of beautiful Fabric Sofas.