Selecting fabric can be one of the most exciting steps when it comes to starting a new project. It can also be one of the most challenging with all the different types of fabric on the market. We have compiled a brief rundown of the basics of fabric, including terms you might see when browsing our fabric selection.
The Raw Material
The raw material, either natural or manufactured, that forms the basic element of fabrics and other textile structures is called fiber. Individual fibers are spun together to make yarn. This yarn is then woven into fabric.
Textile yarn can be made with natural fibers from substances such as wool, silk, cotton, or linen. Yarn can also be made with synthetic (or man-made) fibers created from a variety of substances like acrylic, nylon, or polyester. Most Sunbrella upholstery fabrics are made from 100% Sunbrella Acrylic.
All Sunbrella fabrics are manufactured with Color to the Core™ technology. This proprietary process means each foundational fiber is saturated with color and UV-stabilized pigments. Once saturated, the proprietary fiber is spun into yarns which are then woven into our long-lasting performance fabric. Color to the Core™ technology ensures years of beautiful living with color that stays true over time, maintaining the strength and integrity of the fabric through years of cleaning, wear, and exposure to the elements.
Types of Upholstery Fabric
The different types of upholstery fabric include cotton, linen, chenille, leather, polyester, polypropylene, acrylic, and nylon. Upholstery fabric can be constructed from one type of yarn or a blend of yarns. Choosing the correct upholstery fabric will ensure the longevity of your furniture.
Common Terms To Know
Jacquard - A jacquard is a fabric has a design or motif woven into the construction of the weave. Jacquards come in an array of designs like florals, stripes, chevrons, or geometric patterns, to name a few.
Boucle – Boucle yarn is yarn made from a series of looped fiber. Boucle fabric is fabric woven from boucle yarn. Derived from the French word meaning “curled” or “ringed,” boucle yarn produces a fabric with a knotty, chunky texture.
Mélange – Two or more fiber types (or the same fiber type) of different colors spun together into yarn. Mélange yarns produce a fabric with a heathered texture.
Slub – Slub yarn is yarn spun with intentional irregularities in diameter – some sections of yarn are thicker and some are thinner to add texture to the woven fabric.
Pattern vs. Print
You may recognize the terms patterned or printed when it comes to fabric designs. Many fabrics will feature a printed design, where a color or colors are applied to the face of the fabric to create the design.
This contrasts with a pattern design where the colors of the design are woven into the fabric using various yarn colors. The main benefits of woven pattern fabrics are the texture and dimension this process provides. Printed fabrics tend to be flat, and prints can fade easily in the sun. Woven Sunbrella fabrics provide dimensional texture and offer UV resistance for color that stands up to the elements and wear and tear for years to come.
Learn More about Sunbrella
At Sunbrella, we pride ourselves on creating high-quality performance fabrics and products that provide comfort for your coziest spaces, color retention for years of enjoyment, cleanability for all of life’s messes, and strength that lasts.