The following information is taken from a booklet compiled by these major fabric
companies. It will enable you to make an informed decision when selecting upholstery
fabric for your home.
Different fibres have different properties, some are more sensitive
to light, some are harder wearing, and some have better cleaning properties. Some
fabrics are more densely constructed and therefore more durable, some are more expensive
by virtue of complex techniques used both in the preparation of the yarn and the
weaving process. Price is not always a guide in terms of wear ability.
Therefore the sort of questions you should be asking are:
a) How much use will it get and by whom? Is it in the family room where
the children and pets will give it a beating?
b) Where will the upholstery fabric be located? In a room that is exposed
to a lot of light, or a room on the side of the house that gets less light?
c) How long do we want this fabric to last before we have to replace or
recover the piece? Do we want something that is at the leading edge of fashion and
therefore will date quickly? Or do we want a piece of fabric which is only a stop
gap while we are renting? Do we want this piece of fabric to last 10-15 years?
All the fabrics we sell have been tested and meet AS2687 (independent industry accepted
performance standards). However no fabric is totally colour fast and some fibres
like cotton do not hold the dyestuffs as well as other fibres.
Prevent UV Damage
Using sensible window treatments, cushion rotation and furniture rearrangement will
help minimise colour loss and or fibre damage caused to most fabrics by UV exposure.
Even short regular exposure can cause damage.
All fabrics are rated in performance categories. These
categories are determined by rub tests (simulated rub test) the results of which
determine the category the fabric fits into. These ratings are determined by an independent
Australian Standard (AS2687).
1 - Decorative fabric
Recommended for areas where the furniture is used sparingly.
2 - General Domestic fabric
Recommended for areas where the furniture is subjected to regular use, but not constant
use by the whole family.
3 - Heavy Domestic fabric
Recommended for areas where the furniture is subjected to heavy use from the whole
family. This quality is also recommended for general commercial use- boardrooms and
4 - Commercial fabric
Recommended for hard everyday use in a commercial area.
These above codes are not a guarantee of durability as every piece of fabric is subject
to different use, but it does indicate that the fabric in question has met fabric
industry performance standards.
Fibres are either natural or synthetic (manmade). A fibre is an individual strand,
in the form of a filament or staple that is spun into yarn, then turned into fabric
by weaving, knitting or flocking. The yarns can either be dyed before or after the
fabric is made. There are printed fabrics where base cloth is made then printed afterwards.
Natural Fibre fabric:
Natural fibres are found in plant or animal life. Generally more costly than synthetic
fibres. Natural fibres have a better handle and they breath better.
A vegetable fibre that can withstand heavy wear. Cotton fabric has a luxurious handle
and is ideal in hot climates due to its ability to breathe. It does not hold the
dye as well as synthetic fibres.
Made from flax and is widely acknowledged as the oldest textile fibre. Linen fabric
dyes well but is prone to wrinkle and has poor elasticity. Linen is often blended
with nylon to increase its abrasion resistance. It does not hold the dye as well
as synthetic fibres.
Is fibre from a living animal. Wool fabric has a natural memory and natural elasticity.
It is wrinkle resistant and is a resilient fibre.
Synthetic Fibre fabric:
Nylon fabric is made from basic petrochemical. It is exceptionally strong with good
abrasion resistance, wash ability and flexibility. Nylon fabric is smooth and non-absorbent,
which means dirt does not cling to it and can be quickly removed.
Is an extremely resilient and springy fibre. It is a lightweight strong fibre that
resists abrasion and is not readily damaged by the sun. Added with natural fibres
it creates wrinkle resistant fabric which helps the fabric keep its shape. Polyester
fabric can collect static and soil easily but it also releases soil readily when
cleaned correctly. Polyester fabric adds strength to a fabric however it can pill
in cheaper constructions. Polyester velvets will definitely not pill. Polyester fabric
does not absorb moisture readily and is washable in most fabric types.
Rayon fabric is made from cellulose regenerated from either wood or cotton pulp.
it is extremely absorbent, receptive to dyes and lustrous. It is the closest man
made fibre to cotton.
This fibre is very strong and used in the construction of cheaper to medium priced
fabric. It accepts dye well and does not break down in sunlight. It is usually used
in cheaper constructions and is usually back coated which is an integral part of
the fabric and can be degraded by some soil repellent treatments by breaking down
This is used extensively in Europe to produce velvets. Made by Bayer this fibre is
extremely hard wearing and does not absorb dirt easily.
These fibres are made from a chemical compound called acrylonitrite. It has a low
moisture absorbency, dyes well, retains shape, resists sunlight and is hard wearing.
Chenille yarns are textured yarns which contain a pile extending from their surface.
Most chenille fabrics are of a cut pile chenille yarn. Making a chenille yarn is
a complicated process that involves twisting the chenille around and fixing it to
another yarn. Chenille gives a "pile fabric" appearance, but in most cases does not
have the durability of a pile fabric. Chenille fabrics will often flatten with use
due to the soft handle. Flattening is a normal characteristic and is not considered
a fabric fault.
Faux Suede fabric:
These are woven from micro denier polyester yarns. They are exceptionally durable.
Faux suede fabrics are woven and are fully breathable, providing warmth in winter
and are cool in summer. These fabrics have easy care qualities, the yarns are so
fine that serious soil is unable to penetrate. These fabrics are suitable for upholstery
normally subjected to heavy use. Most cleaning can be easily accomplished using a
mild soap and water solution. Following this wipe clean with clear water. Pilling
can occur occasionally as a result of normal wear and tear and should not be considered
as a fault.