How to Choose an Upholstery Fabric

 Know Your Brands

At Padgham Upholstery, we only stock the finest, most reputable fabric brands. As such, we only supply quality products that will help ensure your final project is everything you hoped it would be.

The brands we recommend include:

- Warwick Fabrics

- Zepel fabrics

- Wortley Group

- Verve Designer Fabrics

- Laine Furnishings

- Elliot Clarke Fabrics

- Gummerson, Hoad & JW Design

- Mokum

- Charles Parsons

All of these brands of upholstery fabric are available online through Padgham Upholstery, here.

Types of Fabric Available

There are a lot of different fabrics you can use in your upholstery project. Which type you choose will depend on the overall aesthetic you’re trying to achieve, what type of project the fabric will be used for, and what sort of wear and tear it will need to withstand. Also take into consideration any relevant care and maintenance tips, and whether or not a particular fabric is stain-resistant or not.

Some common fabric types you’ll be able to choose from include:

- Linen

- Leather

- Cotton

- Wool

- Cotton Blend

- Vinyl

- Acrylic

- Polyester

You can learn more about these fabric types, as well as a host of others, here.

Understanding the Martindale Test

When choosing your upholstery fabrics, make sure you check the durability of the fabric to see if it’s suitable for the project you would like to complete. For instance, the strength of the fabric you choose will depend on whether you’re upholstering a decorative chair that rarely gets used, or a piece of furniture that receives a lot of traffic.

The Martindale Test, also known as the ‘rub test’ and ‘abrasion resistance’ will determine the durability of a particular fabric. The Martindale Machine does this by pulling a fabric taut, as small discs of worsted wool or wire mesh rub continuously against the fabric in an oscillating circle. The material will be inspected periodically for any wear and tear, and the test will continue until two yarns break or when there is a noticeable change to the fabric’s appearance.

Under the Martindale Test upholstery fabrics are ranked according to the following scale:

- Decorative Fabrics (less than 10,000 rubs)

- Light Domestic (10,000 to 15,000 rubs)

- General Domestic (15,000 to 25,000 rubs)

- Heavy Duty (25,000 to 30,000 rubs)

- Commercial grade (30,000 plus)

When choosing your fabric, talk to Padgham Upholstery about its score on the Martindale Test, and what it means in terms of appropriate application methods.

Extra Considerations

Lastly, always make sure the fabric you choose will suit the overall style you’re hoping to achieve.

For example, you wouldn’t choose a decorative damask fabric for a children’s chair, just like you wouldn’t put Bob the Builder printed cotton on a formal dining chair.

Take care when choosing the colour, pattern, and texture of your fabric, and make sure it will suit the overall style of the room your project will be displayed in.

To learn more about the different types of upholstery fabrics and their various applications, as well as our comprehensive selection of DIY upholstery supplies, view our upholstery fabric online, or visit our Melbourne-based store today.