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When it comes to choosing just the right fabric for your furniture, the choices can seem overwhelming. Cozy Life offers hundreds of fabrics for custom upholstery. Where do you start? The answer is at home. Before you choose the fabric for your furniture, think of all the ways it will be a part of your life. Will you be snuggling up with your cat to read a good book or will you be watching the big game with your friends? Will your kids be building castles out of the cushions or will you be entertaining the book club? It's important to think about how the furniture will fit into your daily routine before you make your choice.
Cotton can be used in a number of different weaves for fabric upholstery. Absorbent and breathable, cotton is a good choice for warm climates. Twill and denim are hardy fabrics that typically use cotton and are popular choices for casual furniture covers due to their durability and weight. Cotton is also used in many prints, plaids and stripes. Chintz, floral prints on cotton fabric, lends itself well to quaint cottage styles. Plaids are a family room staple. Stripes and seersucker are great for a breezy coastal feel. Cotton can be used in textured fabrics like velvet, corduroy and boucle, as well as complex damask weaves. Combining cotton with other fibers, such as polyester, nylon or acrylic, can improve the durability and stain-resistance of the fabric.
Leather is a durable option that can be gently vacuumed, wiped with a damp cloth and cleaned with leather conditioner or saddle soap.
Linen is a natural fiber cloth woven from flax yarn. It is one of the oldest fabrics, dating back to the reign of pharos in Egypt. Linen is known for feeling cool to the touch, even in hot weather. True, 100% linen wrinkles easily, it is best suited to casual styles. It is rarely used for body cloth upholstery and is more often seen on pillow fabrics. Linen resists pilling and fading, but it must be professionally cleaned to avoid shrinking.
While silk fibers are quite strong, fabrics woven from silk can be delicate. Silk is known for its sheen, but this can be spoiled when it becomes soiled. Silk must be professionally cleaned; therefore, when used, it is often reserved for accent pillows.
This synthetic fiber was developed as imitation wool. Lightweight, soft, and warm acrylic resists wrinkling, soiling, and fading. Acrylic is typically used in blends with cotton and polyester in a variety of weaves.
Nylon is a synthetic fiber, initially developed to imitate silk. It adds luster when blended with other fibers, which it usually is. Nylon is very resilient; and doesn't soil or wrinkle easily. Nylon also helps eliminate the crushing of napped fabrics when it is used in a blend such as velvet.
This synthetic fiber is the go-to choice for heavy-duty wear. Olefin fibers are lightweight and strong and are often used in blends. It resists abrasion and is often seen in textured covers for reclining furniture.
Polyester is one of the most commonly used fibers in upholstery. Microfiber fabrics are made from incredibly thin (less than one denier) 100% polyester fibers tightly woven together. The fibers cannot be penetrated by other compounds (like grape juice or mud, for example) making the fabric highly stain resistant. Microfiber is incredibly soft yet strong making it an excellent choice for furniture. The stain resistant qualities of microfiber make it the perfect choice for households with pets and young children. Most microfiber fabrics have a suede-like feel, but newer applications of polyester microfibers include twill weaves and corduroy.
Polyester is also used in blends with other synthetic fibers and natural fibers, where it adds strength and durability. It resists wrinkling and fading and can be used in virtually every style and weave technique.
Rayon is a hybrid fiber, neither wholly synthetic nor wholly natural. It is created from cellulose, plant fiber, but is transformed through extensive processing. It can imitate the feel and texture of silk, cotton or linen and is usually blended with other fibers for upholstery fabrics. In blends it adds sheen and softness, but doesn't resist soiling or wrinkles the way true synthetics do.
A variety of rayon, viscose is usually combined with other fibers in a blend. Viscose often imparts a silk-like sheen to the fabrics it is used in.
WEAVES, TEXTURES & DESIGNS
Boucle fabrics are great to touch with their rich, nubby texture. The curled and looped surface of this adds a visually interesting textures to furniture but if your have a cat with claws, it may not be the right choice for your home.
Marked by parallel ridges of pile, this fabric is making a big come-back in upholstery. The fibers can be natural (cotton) or synthetic (microfiber) and the ridges can be low and narrow, called a pin cord, or wide and thick. This soft-to-touch option is a great choice for family rooms as the texture can help to hide soiling.
French for "caterpillar," chenille has a thick, soft pile and is one of today's most popular fabrics. Thick and warm, chenille is available in a wide range of colors.
Damask fabrics originally referred to a fabric with figured designs (commonly florals) formed through the weaving. Today the word damask can be applied to a variety of printed fabrics as well, the designs of which were first made popular in woven damasks. Woven damasks may have reversed colors on opposing sides.
This traditional weaving style found in many cultures including South and Central Asia as well as South and Central America. Ikats are made with resist dyeing techniques (similar to tie dye) on warp or weft threads before a piece of cloth is woven. The traditional patterns produced by the weavings have been reinterpreted by modern textile designers as bold graphic prints with feathery edges that are very popular on upholstery today.
Like damask fabrics, the designs of a jacquard are formed through the weaving. The term comes from the name of the French inventor who created a loom that could control individual warp and weft yarns to create intricate designs. Jacquards can be woven with a variety of fibers for a wide range of visual effects. Like damasks, jacquards may be reversible.
The traditional embroidery produced in Uzbekistan and Central Asia that was part of a young woman's dowry is called suzani. Floral medallions and stylized foliage are common motifs on suzanis and often the embroidery is very textured with a high relief design. The needle work patterns have been reinterpreted by modern textile designers as bold and graphic prints that look great on upholstery.
This heavy, flat-woven fabric often features elaborate designs created through the weaving process. It differs from damask and jacquard in its weight and one-sided nature.
Toile de Jouy:
Dating back to 18th century France, this cotton print (typically in one color on a natural ground) depicts pictorial scenes.