The options are endless when it comes to choosing upholstery fabric. But making the right choice can be quite daunting. There are infinite possibilities to express yourself while setting the tone of a room with upholstery. The right upholstery is an investment, so unless you have an endless upholstery fund, you need to plan on finding something you’ll love for the long run. There are many factors to consider when choosing upholstery for your sofa.
With some specific upholstery fabric characteristics and information, you will be able to pick the right fabric for your project. Keep reading to find out what the three most important are.
1. Fabric Care
It’s important to know how to clean and care for fabrics when selecting upholstery. Otherwise, furniture can potentially become a nightmare to maintain. Choosing the correct upholstery will allow you to get the most out of your furniture, without having to replace or reupholster it sooner than you would need to. Many upholstery fabrics are often not suitable for machine washing or dry cleaning. So, stain repellent fabrics or using a fabric protectant spray (scotch-guard) over the finished upholstered furniture is always recommended. Most of the time, polyester upholstery covers are safe to be thrown into the washing machine in cold wash and on the gentlest cycle of your machine. TIP: Turn the covers inside out before washing them because this way, the outside surface will look as good as new for a long time.
2. Rub Count
Rub Tests are done to measure the durability of fabric, and how much normal wear a fabric can handle before it shows distress. A machine that rubs the fabric over and over until it finally wears through tests its resistance to abrasion. The amount of passes that it takes to reach this point is known as the fabric’s rub count.
The rub test score is internationally recognized, and measures the durability of upholstery fabric for general domestic or contract use. Basically, the higher the rub count, the better. As an interior designer, I never use an upholstery fabric with a rub count of less than 30 000 for sofas and high traffic areas.
Many consumers overlook this important aspect of upholstery fabric. Even if the rub count is high, it should still be backed. Backing keeps the surface yarns from shifting, prevents seam slippage, fraying, and makes precise cutting possible. Loosely woven fabrics should have an applied backing to ensure stability and longer wear.
Most upholstery fabric has a slightly sticky backing applied to the wrong side of the fabric, which helps the fabric stick to the padding of the upholstered piece and not shift, as well as keep loose threads in place and loosely woven fabrics from stretching. Backing, for many reasons, which will be discussed in a different blog, is not used on curtaining fabric.
The Fabric Fox prides itself on quality fabrics, used for a multitude of applications. By knowing some specific upholstery fabric characteristics and trade insider information, you will be able to choose the right upholstery fabric for your project. Its always recommended to order fabric samples before buying them, so you can determine if they are fit for purpose! Happy shopping!