Especially when it comes to upholstery fabric, it’s important to find great quality fabric. This fabric is used in high traffic areas like sofas, armchairs, and other furniture that gets sat on jumped on, scratched, and marked up from time to time.
There are also quite a few technical factors that you need to consider as well when choosing upholstery fabric including durability and the fibers in the fabric.
Upholstery furniture pieces have much more everyday traffic and use than others. This is why it’s especially important to get great quality fabric so that they hold up over time. The most important thing to do when checking the durability is a “double rub.” This process involves a machine rubbing a pad over the piece of fabric back and forth until the fabric is worn out.
This process is the only way to test the fabric and accurately determines the level of durability for the fabric. Standard upholstery fabric comes with a double-rub score of 25,000. If you go anything over, say, 50,000, your upholstery fabric should last you a very, very long time.
Especially when it comes to children and pets, it’s best to have a higher double-rub score since the pieces will tend to have more wear and tear over time. Scores higher up like 53,000 area ideal. Commonly barkcloth is used in this instant. If you don’t have children or pets, you can go with a standard score no problem.
Knowing what the upholstery fabric fibers are is incredibly important and can determine how the whole sewing process is going to go. There are both natural and man-made fibers used to create upholstery fabric. These fibers can determine not only how the fabric looks and feels, but how difficult it is to sew on, the maintenance required, and the overall durability of the fabric.
Lighter, natural fibers like silk and wool, although look great, they are not durable at all. Silk, in particular, is something that should probably be avoided when upholstering furniture as it wears out quite quickly and it’s nearly impossible to protect from discoloration and other mange.
Man-made fibers are made to be more durable and handle those high traffic areas. That being said, natural fibers can stand the test of time as well. It seems that middle ground with a combination of both man-made and natural fibers is a popular option and best used when upholstering sofas. Regardless of what type of fiber you choose, it’s important to get a good quality cleaner.
To help determine what’s a fair price for your fabric, there’s a rating or a “grade” that is used when it comes to upholstery fabric. This “grade” takes into consideration the production cost, characteristics of the fabric, weaving detail, construction, and fiber content. It does not determine the level of durability of the actual fabric, however. People tend to assume that if the production cost is higher than the overall quality of the fabric must be higher as well. This is commonly the case.
We choose to purchase our upholstery fabric from either Amazon or Fabric.com. Both have a wide selection of affordable, great quality fabric available.