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Upholstery Fabrics: What Makes Them Different from Clothing Fabrics?

Blog | June 8th, 2018

When thinking of the differences between upholstery fabrics and clothing fabrics, you most likely first consider how they differ in fabric weight and weave. Since material manufactured for use as upholstery fabric for furniture must be extra strong, durable and able to withstand ongoing daily wear and stress, it must be made using heavier weight threads and weaves than clothing fabric.

The textures of material designed for use in upholstering furniture are generally thicker and coarser that the textures common in fabric intended for making clothing for the same reason. Also, upholstery fabrics designed to be used for furniture upholstery in public spaces of commercial buildings that are constantly trafficked must have a substantial composition to resist damage from constant friction and wear received every day.

Ways in Which Upholstery Fabrics Differ from Clothing Fabrics Today

Modern upholstery fabrics are different from contemporary clothing fabrics in the following ways:

• UV Stablised. – Ultra violet (UV) stablised material is designed to resist UV light rays, or sunlight, preventing these light beams from fading or discolouring fabric patterns and hues. Plasticized fabrics that contain an additive for absorbing specified wavelengths of UV will experience little if any loss of colour or surface design effects from UV exposure. Upholstery fabric that is protected in this way will also resist cumulative damage from fluorescent lighting in many commercial offices and other business facilities.

Although some clothing also offers UV stablised fabric, the protective plastic component in the fabric composition is not as strong as that in upholstery material used for furniture that often is exposed to a steady daily dose of direct sunlight when placed near windows in homes or offices.

• Anti-Mildew.
– Since the majority of synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, acrylic and acetate are mildew-resistant today, these materials will not support the development of mildew when they are kept clean. Clothing made of these materials and washed frequently will not mildew under normal conditions.

However, upholstery fabrics are not normally cleaned as frequently as clothing, so they need additional protection. For this reason, upholstery fabrics contain plasticized materials formulated to eliminate and prevent mildew. There are also mildew-resistant sprays that you can buy and apply to upholstered furniture surfaces for mildew growth prevention.

• High Martindale Rubs.
– These fabrics have undergone the Martindale test for calculating the durability levels of fabrics. Upholstery materials are put to this test to determine how appropriate they are for specific uses.

For instance, the test will reveal whether or not these fabrics are suitable for upholstering decorative chairs, furniture in heavily used reception areas of offices or commercial furniture that is used daily. Also called the “rub test,” the Martindale test checks fabrics for their degrees of resistance to damage from abrasion. Clothing fabrics do not need to be tested to this extent.

When you consult the experts at Rosebery Fabrics located in Sydney, NSW, you will receive excellent advice, information, upholstery fabric samples and sales of the ultimate quality commercial grade upholstering material. Our highly experienced and committed team of fabric specialists will ensure that you select the best possible durable upholstery fabrics to complement and enhance every aspect of your business or home interior decor.

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