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Fabric 101

    All of us can see a piece of upholstered furniture or a window treatment and say “Oh! I love that fabric!”  But how many of us know the name of that fabric?  The next time you want to reupholster or make drapery panels you can walk into the fabric store and say, “I’d like to re-cover my sofa in a traditional English floral crewel with Indian influences in tones of paprika, sage and ruby, on a cotton ground in black.”  Imagine the response!  Here are some other fabric types with their characteristics and applications.

    Flame stitch is embroidered of long vertical stitches that create a zigzag pattern.  Flame stitch spans tradition to modern with changes in color and scale.  

    Velvet is created by clipping the surface of looped, densely packed woven fibers in silk, rayon, linen wool or cotton.  Soft and luxurious to the touch, velvet ranges from fragile to sturdy. 

    Toile features scenes of rural life or historical events usually in one or two colors on woven cotton.  Works great in romantic styles and for window treatments.

    Damask is a classic upholstery that features large traditional motifs in matte eaves against lustrous grounds also usually in two colors.  Damask is reversible, offering choices.

    Brocade is a heavy fabric with raised patterns that mimic embroidery.  Brocade is the most suitable for occasional pieces due to its tendency to snag or abrade despite its weight.

    Chintz is an old fabric originating from India.  Its glossy cotton finish makes it very suitable for everyday use as it is known for its sturdiness.

There are others as well, but this will give you a start! So next time, you’ll be prepared and know exactly what you want! Happy decorating!

Copyright © 2008-2015 Kristy Beelendorf

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