The first thing most of us consider when choosing a fabric for our home décor projects is of course, the pattern, colour and design of the home decor fabric, we are instinctively drawn to what we like the look of. However, having a little knowledge of how the fabrics behave when they are draped or folded and considering the texture and flexibility of the fabric should also be carefully considered.
Roman blinds for instance work better with smooth firm-textured fabrics with a closely woven weave. Upholstered furniture needs fabrics that are strong and can cope with being stretched and strained.
Cotton is probably the most commonly used fabric in the world. It can be produced more cheaply than a lot of fabrics. It washes well, is durable and one of the most versatile fabrics, offering an extensive range of weights, textures and patterns. Cotton can be dyed easily and responds well to printed pattern. Cotton drapes attractively and although it is not a luxurious fabric it is resilient, practical and easy to sew, giving widespread appeal.
Uses – Cotton can be used for curtains, cushions, upholstery, loose covers, bedding, tea-towels, table linen, lampshades.
When most people think of using wool, thoughts turn to a wool blanket or throw and of course a rug! However, wool has some great qualities and can be used in a variety of ways around the home adding richness and texture.
It is very resilient and incredibly durable which makes it perfect to use on Upholstery as it is also soft and comfortable. Wool does not crease easily and holds its shape well. Wool resists dirt too so works
beautifully on scatter cushions, which can often become man handled and dirty.
If used for making curtains, it drapes beautifully and provides excellent insulation from both noise and drafts. As a natural fabric it has great Eco qualities too.
Uses – Wool can be used for curtains, cushions, upholstery and rugs.
Beautiful, luxurious and expensive. Silk is not the most practical fabric for home furnishings despite being one of the strongest natural fibers. Silk suffers terribly from sun damage and does not work well when being stretched or taut.
When used for curtains it drapes and hangs beautifully with fluid folds, looking stunning, however if the curtains are hung in line of direct sunlight, the silk will suffer and rot over time. Silk needs to be used considerately and with patience, it is also quite difficult to sew, the smooth texture making it very slippery and it puckers easily too.
Uses – Silk can be used for curtains, cushions, delicate upholstery, bedding and lampshades.
The oldest fabric known to man. It is expensive as it has exceptional qualities and characteristics. Linen is one of the strongest fabrics but it does crease very badly which is something to consider when using it around your home.
Linen has a lovely natural sheen to it. This smooth and glossy texture makes it very suitable for table linen as it does not pick up dirt as easily. Linen is a lovely fabric to work with and is ideal for tailored coverings and loose covers. Because it is stiffer than cotton it makes heavy folds which are suited to full-draping curtains.
Uses – Linen can be used for curtains, cushions, upholstery, loose covers, bedding, table linen, lampshades.
Places you can buy soft furnishing fabrics online include:
To find free home decor projects to give your house a revamp visit our free projects page and click the ‘for the home’ tag or search ‘Pippa Blackler’ in the search box on the top right of this page for soft furnishing projects and guides also written by Pippa.