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Fabric Facts

Here are some examples of high fashion, and high quality textile choices
Here are some examples of high fashion, and high quality textile choices
Third Row Designs

It occurred to me that I’ve talked to you about fabric…as far as color texture, and new uses, but not on the qualities, and how to go about choosing it. When I say qualities I mean the fiber content, the usage recommendations, durability, and maintenance. These are very important things to know about your upholstery, drapery, and wall fabrics.

Fiber content probably tells the most about what a fabric can and cannot do. After all, you know that a silk is not going to hold up as well as a cotton based fabric. Even further polyester holds up better than cotton. In general synthetic fibers do have better wear ability and color fastness than natural fibers. That is because chemicals and petroleum have longer shelf lives than natural fibers. As far as color is concerned: color is applied to natural fibers where as the color is added to the synthetic fiber during processing and is in fact part of the fiber itself. If I didn’t explain that clear enough, think about Easter eggs. When you dye natural Easter eggs the dye is not actually part of the egg itself. The application of color is done after the egg has been “made”. The plastic eggs aren’t dyed after they’re made…the dye is there before the actual egg shape has been made and is chemically part of it. Same goes for natural and synthetic fibers, respectively.

All that said, I tend to prefer natural fibers over synthetic ones. Call me a textile snob, but I don’t care what the wear and colorfastness is…I’ll take a natural fiber or blend over a viscose or polyester any day of the week. When choosing natural fibers think about how much traffic the intended piece will receive. Also, ALWAYS check the tag and see what applications the manufacturer recommends for the particular fabric. You probably don’t want to put %100 silk on a sofa in a reception area, unless you want to replace it every year. Try a nice cotton velvet if you’re going for a luxe look, and use the silk for accent pillows or draperies (with a liner of course!) If you love silk like I do another great way to use it would be on an occasional chair that isn’t used all that much, or for a duvet cover.

Just like checking the back of the tag for recommended uses, also read the instructions for care and cleaning. These are usually done with symbols. It should also say somewhere on the tag exactly what you should do to clean, such as, “dry clean only”, or “do not wash”. Knowing what you can and can’t do with your textiles before you buy and apply could potentially save you stress, heartache, and a lot of moolah!

So now that I’ve given you a couple of tips let me sum up. The most important things you can do are read labels, know what you want your fabric to do, and go to a reputable vendor. By doing this you can be sure that your investment will yield the greatest returns. Here are a few places and websites with exquisite fabric selections.
Material Things: 615-822-7077


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