Upholstery, drapery, apparel, multi-purpose fabric. How are they different?
Fabrics are integrated into so many facets of our life. We wear fabric, we sleep on fabric, we sit on fabric (chairs, sofas, cars, planes and trains), we walk on fabric (carpet and rugs), we drive on fabric (road underlay), we clean with fabric and we have use textiles in medical field. You get the point... fabric and textiles are everywhere. But, when it comes to using fabric in our home do we understand what makes one fabric better for one end use versus another?
Some of the qualities and attributes of fabric are:
Sometimes it can be fun to break the social norm and try something unexpected, but don’t be surprised when you get the unexpected... very uncomfortable clothes, pillow fabric that stretches out, fragile fabric staining or falling a part on your sofa.
One textile design class I had in college had an exercise /project. The professor gave each of us a stack of small squares of fabric and had us evaluate them for the attributes listed above and then we had to guess or determine the end use. It was an interesting exercise. You think you know fabric, but when taken out of context it can be more difficult. Of course, he had included some obscure fabrics.
Most of our fabric at Brentwood and Revolution is designed and engineered to be upholstery fabric where dimensional stability, hand, durability, and cleanability are the most important attributes. You can count on them performing well in their intended end use.
We do have a few fabrics that we would consider to be multipurpose fabric because of their added attributes that make them good for bedding and drapery etc. Those attributes are drapability and launderability. We have a category in a revolution called “revolution plus“. They are very soft and drape well and you can machine wash them!! Perfect for multiple applications: bed, window, table, dining chairs, slipcovers, and upholstery.
At Brentwood, we have a variety of soft drapable digital prints that can be used in the same multiple applications.
Using fabric in the home is pretty easy... you can pretty much use common sense. But, I do have one antidotal story that can be used as a warning. I have a friend who has three small children. She hired an interior designer to design her home. The designer chose beautiful delicate linens for her furniture. It was beautiful but not practical at all for their lifestyle. Make sure you consider what attributes are the most important for your life... because life happens!
How to weave upholstery fabric
Our favorite upholstery fabrics