Upholstery Textile: An Overview

Upholstery Textile: An Overview

Shubham Anil Jain
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited
Bangalore, India
Email: shubhamajain125@gmail.com


Fabric, padding, webbing, and springs are all components of upholstery textile, which is what gives chairs, sofas, and other furniture their soft coverings. The procedure was first used in the Middle Ages, and its use became more widespread in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. From hay to horsehair to wool, a diverse range of materials have been employed over time. For increased longevity, modern upholstered furniture uses metal springs and foam. Although the inside components may not be apparent, they have a significant impact on how comfortable the piece is. Choosing high-quality inner layers will ensure the item lasts for years to come even though fabric can always be changed—and may need to be, depending on wear and tear.

Upholstery Textile

Different Types of Upholstery Fabrics:
Upholstery textile can be made from a wide variety of materials, including natural fibers such as cotton, wool, and silk, as well as synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic and nylon. They are briefly described below.

1. Silk:
One of the more expensive options for upholstery fabric is definitely silk. Only a formal living room with minimal traffic should utilize it. If something spills or soils the furniture, silk needs to be properly cleaned.

2. Linen:
Because it wrinkles and stains rapidly, linen works best in rooms reserved for adults. The majority of print fabric is on linen, which is fantastic because it lowers the cost of elaborate designs. When washed, linen may shrink. To avoid destroying or altering the fabric’s size, it must be professionally cleaned.

3. Cotton:
The most popular and affordable natural fibre is cotton. Cotton is intended to give your furniture a pleasant feel while also offering comfort and stability. Cotton has excellent durability and fading resistance, but it is also easily stained. Cotton attracts dust and grime and stains readily, thus it is not the greatest material for furniture that will be used frequently.

4. Leather:
Leather is presumably the most resilient material for upholstery. High traffic spaces benefit greatly from leather, which also looks cozy. For individuals who own animals or pets, leather is also advised. It lasts for a very long time and is quite simple to hoover hair out of.

5. Polyester:
Polyester is a fantastic blending fibre with cotton to offer wrinkle resistance to the fabric, and it is frequently used with other fibres. Polyester was a popular choice for outdoor upholstery yarn because it holds dyes.

6. Nylon:
Another fibre that is rarely used by itself is nylon. Nylon works well for preventing sleeping and crushing in velvet or chenille textiles when combined with other synthetic or natural fibres. When exposed to UV light or strong sunshine, nylon can pill and fade.

7. Acrylic:
Acrylic, which has been synthesized to resemble wool, was the first choice of fibre for outdoor upholstery fabrics. Although acrylic resists fading, soiling, and wrinkling well, it can pill if inferior acrylic is used in the fibre.

Applications of Upholstery Textile:

1. Skirts:
Sofa skirts may occasionally be characterized as an old-fashioned upholstery technique, but its timeless appearance will never go out of style. Both fixed cover and loose cover couches benefit greatly from having them as a foundation option. These are the leading candidates.

Sofa skirts

2. Dressmaker and waterfall skirt:
From the seat deck, the top of the sofa’s arm, or the back, a dressmaker’s skirt stretches in one continuous panel to the ground. A waterfall skirt is similar, except it starts from the top of the seat cushion rather than the seat deck.

Dressmaker and waterfall sofa skirt

3. Piping:
The tubular trim known as piping (sometimes known as cording or welting) can be found around sofa cushions, sofa panels, or sofa arms. It offers a sofa a customized appearance and aids in visually highlighting the shape of the sofa.


4. Flat or Kick Pleat Skirt:
Kick pleat skirts are straight and basic and stretch from a row of piping just slightly below the deck of the sofa. They have pleats at the corners of the sofa. A pleat in the middle of the sofa or gaps in the seat cushions might separate panels.

Flat or Kick Pleat sofa Skirt

5. Tufting:
Keeping a sofa’s stuffing uniformly spread was the initial purpose of the classic upholstery method known as tufting. An upholstered sofa’s upholstery fabrics and filling were sewn through in order to do this, and the thread was then secured on the opposite side (for cushions) or inside the sofa (for fixed-back sofas). As a result, the upholstery developed dips where buttons were frequently used to cover the threads. Tufted furniture was significantly more durable than non-tufted furniture because of the additional reinforcing.


Importance of Fabric Upholstery:

1. Costing:
The fabric kind will satisfy both of these objectives if you are concerned about your spending limit while yet wanting the best. Although more expensive, materials of higher quality are nonetheless more affordable than leather products.

2. Care:
The fabric grade affects how well upholstered objects wear and tear. As would be predicted, superior textiles typically withstand tiredness better. Additionally, due to the nature of its substance, it is simpler to maintain and clean. When spills occur, fabric furniture is typically designed with coatings that are stain-resistant. The task can be completed using a handheld steam cleaner or specific specialist supplies.

3. Comfort:
The fabric material and the support structure (the frame and cushions) both affect how fabric upholstery feels. Whatever the case, you may always appreciate and experience the comfort you might have. You feel calm and relaxed because to the fabric’s warmth and softness, which relieves all of your stress. In contrast to leathered varieties, which produce sticky and heated feelings in the summer and greater coolness every winter, its softness can offer coziness regardless of the season.

4. Choices in Colour and Pattern:
The limitless textures, colours, and patterns of upholstery fabric kinds are another benefit. Unquestionably, there is a specific shade and design that will fit your home’s overall aesthetic. It may be a wonderful chance to showcase the tastes and personalities of your family and yourself

A premium sofa will have high-quality upholstery textile. To completely finish off a sofa as perfectly as possible, professional upholsterers, high-quality materials, and patience are needed. French seams might appear unnecessary to the untrained eye but they are a sign of a superior upholstery job. One might also believe that all sofa skirts are created equal but poor pleating is very noticeable and would ruin the aesthetics of a good sofa. High-quality fabrics are likely to cost more than inferior fabrics but they will last longer. Never undervalue the influence of quality upholstery.


  1. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/how-to-choose-upholstery-fabric
  2. https://revolutionfabrics.com/blogs/gotcha-covered/upholstery-fabric-types
  3. https://www.luxdeco.com/pages/upholstery-textiles-techniques-applications
  4. https://www.yorkshirefabricshop.com/post/what-are-the-benefits-of-fabric-upholstery

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