Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Common Fabric Misconceptions

As an interior design retailer who sells to and works with customers everyday, we hear a lot of misconceptions. People hear something from someone else and like the game of telephone, the information goes from good to "how does that even make sense" in a matter of no time. Hopefully, this will dispel any wonderings one might have.

Fabric: There are so many misconceptions about fabric. We tried to hit the main ones but I'm sure we missed a few.
Polyester is stretchy - SOME polyester is stretchy but not all. It depends on how the fabric is made and with what other material. For instance, a polyester faux silk is in no way, shape or form stretchy but polyester lycra is because it is knitted with a spandex.

If it's a heavy weight, thick fabric it is rated for upholstery - WRONG! Just because it is heavy and thick doesn't mean it should be used for upholstery. What the fabric is made of, how it is made and the backing take a huge part in the quality of a fabric.

All vinyls are good for heavy upholstery and automotive use - This is not true. Like all other fabrics, the quality and durability of a vinyl is what determines what it can and cannot be used for. Light weight vinyls like our Galaxy, Wet Look and Softee to name a few can be used for some light weight applications but are not suggested for use in marine, automotive and furniture that will get a lot use.
Heavier, more durable vinyl like Windstar, Atlantis and Canyon have all been tested and treated for lightfastness, flammability, double rubs and cold crack, just to name a few ratings they pass and therefore are perfect for commercial, automotive and marine use.


Polyester is cheap/ugly. I won't say this statement is completely false because I have seen some polyester fabrics that look terrible. They were cheaply made, therefore they looked cheap and did not have the quality necessary. However, polyester is often used to make fabric and the fabric comes out looking beautiful and with amazing quality. Just because the fabric content may be polyester, does not mean it is a bad fabric and you should dismiss it. I have seen some polyester faux silk and I thought it was real silk at first sight.


Faux leather is cheap/ugly. I know that when you get it in your head you want a certain fabric or type of fabric for your project it is hard to listen to other options but sometimes those other options
have the same quality as what you want but at a cheaper costs. Faux leather often has the same look and feel of real leather but at a fraction of the costs.

Just because it is not rated doesn't mean you can't use it for upholstery. Not every fabric manufacturer tests their fabrics durability but just because the fabric was never tested doesn't mean you can't use it for upholstery. You can typically look at a fabric and know whether or not it should be used for upholstering a piece of furniture. If you have a fabric you are interested in and don't know the abrasion rating, look at the weave of the fabric. Is it a tight weave or is it loose? Could something easily snag the fabric which would hinder the quality? Does it have a backing? Many light weight fabrics such as cotton prints or linens can be used for upholstery if they are backed.

Fabrics are available forever. Believe it or not a fabric really only lasts about 4-5 years before being discontinued. If you bought a fabric 10 years ago unfortunately that fabric was discontinued long ago.

Hopefully these answered any questions you might have had and if you have anything else you need answered feel free to ask us on here or visit www.InteriorMall.com

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