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Selecting Fabrics for Home Furnishings

In recent years, the home furnishings market is flooded with a wide range of fabrics, fibers in varied textures, prints and styles for manufactruing a wide range of home furnishings products like as cushion covers, pillow covers, bed sheets, bed covers, curtains, carpets, napkins and many more such soft furnishings. You find any type of fabrics to suit your home decor. But at times, this also becomes a problem to choose the right fabric for home furnishings.

Selection of Fabrics Require Planning

To 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:

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 Content

Consider 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 Fabrics

Many fabrics have special finishes that make them ideal for home furnishings.

Source: Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agriculture and Home Economics