Home Decorating Fabric- What is it?

On its simplest level home decorating fabric would be any fabric used in the home. That could be a tea towel hung as a curtain, or a piece of feedsack. But today’s home decorating fabric has very specific properties.

The most obvious one is the width of home decorating fabric. Most is 56″ – 60″ wide. The second thing about home decorating fabric is that it is meant to be USED. It has passed stringent tests, so it can stand up to the daily abuse that fabric goes through. And the third thing is most home decorating fabrics have been treated to withstand stains and water.

Home decorating fabrics are divided, for the most part, into three categories: prints, wovens, and indoor outdoor.

Prints are fabrics that have been printed. Cotton, linen, rayon, or polyester are the most used fibers for the ground cloth. Depending on the fabrics use it can be any combination of these.

A woven fabric is one that has the pattern woven into it, not printed on it. These are usually heavier in weight than a print, but not always. It comes down to how fine a thread has been used for weaving, and whether the threads are carried across the fabric, or cut.

An indoor outdoor fabric is meant to withstand sun, rain, and mildew. These used to be printed on acrylic. They come in a variety of weights, from fabric for awnings and umbrellas to lighter weight fabrics for outdoor upholstery and cushions. New technology has made woven fabrics available with the fibers of spun polyester and acrylic, that have the same attributes as the old fabrics, with a hand so soft you would never dream it was indoor out door fabric. These fabrics are useful for more than just outdoor use… they can be used to advantage in a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere you need a fabric that can stand up to the abuse of water and light.

Most home decorating fabric is between 56″ -60″ wide. This will cover one section of a back of a sofa, in one piece. There are wider fabrics for very specific uses: shower curtains, sheets, comforters, duvets, and bedspreads.

Home decorating fabrics have been treated to resist stains. The preferred method of cleaning home decorating fabric is dry cleaning. But, many of the cotton prints can be washed. Being cotton, they will shrink. So, if one is planning to make a seat cover and plans to wash and dry it, do so before sewing it, and perhaps do so twice so there will not be any residual shrinkage after the item has been sewn. The stain resistance lasts through three washings, when it would need to be renewed by spraying the item with a product like Scotch Guard.

Fabric companies have gone to a great deal of work to produce fabric that can be used in todays homes, with todays life styles. The abuse a sofa or chair takes is a lot. The fabrics of today have tight weaves or are heavy enough to stand up to heavy daily use. The technology that goes into creating fabric today ensures that one will be able to enjoy the fabrics one chooses for a home for a very long time.


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