Selection of Fabrics Require PlanningTo select the right fabric for home furnishings, certain planning has to be done before hand. You need to answer yourself few questions before making the purchase:
- Why do you need the fabric? For what purpose?
- What kind of atmosphere or home decor do you want to create?
- Who will be using the item?
- Are there any specific colors, textures and/or designs you prefer to use or to avoid?
- How will the item be cleaned: dry cleaning or at home laundry?
What Type of Fabrics?If you have any design pattern with you, you can opt for the suggested fabric given in that pattern. If you are not using a commercial pattern, search for similar furnishings in furniture stores or home furnishings stores for fabric ideas. Fabrics designed especially for home furnishings can be found in most fabric stores. The width of such fabric is usually 45 or more inches so as to enable cutting larger patterns effectively. Knitted fabrics have become popular because of width, easy sewing and fiber content.
Always know the fabric construction. Make sure that it is tightly woven or knitted. Do not go for fabrics that have starch filler. Loosly woven fabrics and satin weaves are not durable. For durabilty, go for heavy construction home furnishings fabrics like as corduroy, poplin, denim, tapestry, duck, quilted fabrics, fake fur etc.
Know the Fiber ContentConsider for what purpose you are using the fabric. If the fabric is contantly used or has considerable wear, then select a strong fabric with good abrasion resistance. For details, check out below the different type of fibers with their characteristics: Cotton: Soft, easy to clean, durable, launders well, dyes easily. May lint, creases and wrinkles unless specially finished.
Linen:Strong, durable. Dyes easily, but colors may run in washing. Somewhat stiff, wrinkles and may shrink unless specially finished. Requires ironing unless treated.
Wool:Resilient, resists wrinkling. It also dyes well. It is water repellent,flame resistant, but is susceptible to moths and carpet beetles unless specially treated.
Acetate:Weaker than most fibers, lustrous appearance, drapes well, colors may fume-fade, weakened by sunlight, poor abrasion resistance.
Acrylic: Weak when wet, resists abrasion and wrinkling, dyes well, some tend to pill, accumulates static electricity.
Nylon:Strong and elastic, washes easily, resists abrasion, dyes well, but sun will fade, resists wrinkles, moths, pill, nonabsorbent, but tends to attract dirt.
Modacrylic: Resists wrinkling, soft, resilient, noncombustible, dyes well, accumulates static electricity.
Olefin:Strong, resists abrasion, lightweight, free from pilling, resists soil, nonabsorbent.
Polyester:Strong; easy-care; resists wrinkles, abrasion, stretching; dyes easily; holds color well; may pill; accumulates static electricity; nonabsorbent.
Rayon: Weaker than most fibers, especially when wet. Soft, comfortable, dyes well usually, may shrink or stretch, unless treated, affected by sunlight, wrinkles easily.
Finishes or Characteristics of Home Furnishings FabricsMany fabrics have special finishes that make them ideal for home furnishings.
- Durable or Parmenant Press: Fabric needs little or no ironing when properly washed and dryer dried; relatively wrinkle-free in use. Finish tends to hold oily stains unless specially treated.
- Soil Release: Fabric is more easily "wetted" to help detergent action in washing to release soil. Used with durable press finish. Does not prevent stains.
- Water Repellant:Fabric repels water and water-based stains. Does not waterproof fabric.
- Soil and Stain Repellant:Repels water and oil based stains.
- Flame Retardent:Ignited fabric will self-extinguish when source of flame is removed. Requires special laundering procedure to maintain effectiveness.
- Crease Wrinkle Resistant: Fabric wrinkles less than normal. Applied to cotton, linen, rayon and blends. Tends to retain oil-borne stains.
- Shrinkage Control: Fabric shrinkage limited to specific amount 1 percent, 2 percent, etc. Does not guarantee "No shrinkage," therefore, preshrink fabrics before use.
Source: Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agriculture and Home Economics