At SG Fabrics when we create new designs our first objective is the end usage - are we creating fabric for curtaining, upholstery or both or do we want something that softens a window like a wide-width sheer, or an outdoor fabric that can withstand long-term exposure to the elements?
Usage aside, our number one goal is always the quality of our fabrics. All of our fabrics pass the South African National Standards (SABS/SANS) testing. This means that our fabrics have passed the light fastness and shrinkage test, and in the case of our dual purpose and upholstery fabrics, they have passed the durability test too.
As someone browsing our collections, it's really important to keep usage in mind when selecting the right fabric for the job! Here's why:
1. UPHOLSTERY FABRIC
Upholstery only fabric is manufactured primarily for strength while the yarns selected are those only with favourable pilling, seaming and abrasion properties. Man-made fibres like Polyester, Viscose and Acrylic tend to offer more durability than natural fibres like Linen and Cotton.
We combine both man-made and natural fibres to create interesting, natural weaves while never compromising on durability. The types of yarns and weaves used are important when creating upholstery only fabric. A loose weave doesn't have a good seam slippage and the yarns can pull during usage. Certain textured yarns and weaves can be problematic for pilling and the upholstery will look like an old jersey in no time.
One thing we should all keep in mind is that upholstery only fabrics can be more costly than curtaining fabrics because of the technicalities in the yarns and dyes that are used to create durable fabrics, but they are well worth the price tag for the extra years of wear you'll be getting from an item. Upholstery fabric of this nature isn't really suitable for curtaining as it's durability means it won't fall nicely.
2. CURTAINING & ACCESSORIES FABRICS
This fabric is manufactured for durability and tends to feel great, no-one wants a hard, scratchy scatter on their couch or bed. Yarns and dyes need to be colour fast to light because often they are exposed to direct sunlight.
Curtaining fabrics can vary in weight from light sheers to heavier, more luxurious fabrics. We use natural fibres as well as man-made fibres and blends thereof to create endless possibilities. Think embroideries, embellishments, chenille textures, prints, and plains - the list is endless! Always keep in mind that the cost will vary in each category, but curtaining fabrics (with the exception of sheers) are fabulous for things like scatter cushions, throws and other details as well.
3. SHEER FABRIC
The beauty of a sheer lies in its versatility. A sheer is colour fast to light and can be used without lining, but remember the pattern is accentuated when lined. If your sheer is unlined, the difference is not too noticeable. The use of different colour linings or backing fabrics can enhance the colours.
Lined or unlined, sheers give a no-fuss look in your interior and all of our sheers are wide width. Wide width fabric is the most cost effective in terms of fabric wastage, while it also reduces the curtain make up charges because there are no joins. If you use an eyelet heading you can create a simple window covering while using way less fabric, which means more bang for your buck, and who doesn't like that?
4. LINING FABRIC
Lining is the "foundation" of the curtaining industry. Ask yourself this question - do you apply makeup without the right foundation? Lining protects your fabric from the harsh UV rays and gives your curtains body. Lining a curtain will help accentuate the pattern or texture of the curtain so that it doesn't look "washed out" in the window.
Lining your curtains stops the curtains from looking different on the area hanging outside the window that isn't exposed to light. Choose a blockout lining to eliminate the light completely or a semi-blockout lining if you want to eliminate the sunlight but not the light. Choose various lighter weight linings to protect your curtains, but still allowing the curtains to have that light, soft drape without adding too much volume.
If required, you can add an interlining between your lining and your curtain to add body and create sumptuous, thick curtains. Interlining improves drapability, heat and sound insulation.
5. DUAL PURPOSE FABRICS
Dual purpose fabrics are probably the most difficult to create as they need to carry the good properties of both upholstery and curtaining fabrics. They need to be durable and drape well, al whilst maintaining their decorative value. They need to suit a sofa, a curtain, a cushion and a lampshade.
It's not always easy to create designs that suit all these applications, but we try to ensure that we have a variety in this category - plain, textured plains, prints, chenilles, and jacquards with various patterns.
It's hard when you fall in love with a design only to realise it's curtaining and you're looking for upholstery. Our last word of advice? Check the usage before you start, or let our friendly showroom assistants know what you're looking for before browsing around so they can point you in the right direction. Lastly, avoid trying to "make it work" by using the wrong fabric for the job, you'll end up sorely disappointed with the end product - curtains that are too stiff to drape or upholstery that starts tearing at the seams in no time at all.
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