In interior design, fabrics are very important items of decor. They’re very versatile, ranging from making throw pillow coverings to upholstery heavyweight fabrics. Textiles can also be an effective medium to create an aesthetic interior space with a breathtaking ambience.
Knowing the appropriate fabric material, character, trade name, and general specifications will impress a designer’s client. And being able to advise on the eco-friendliness of any textile is an added plus.
10 Popular Light To Medium Weight Classic Textile Fabrics
Classic textiles are still popular, even today. The best designers, decorators, and DIY home decorating enthusiasts still seek their durability, texture, and designs. And an added advantage is the fact that they’re environmentally friendly. As a result, they are well-loved by the ‘green revolutionists’.
The underlisted ten lightweight, soft furnishing fabrics are used mainly for lined or unlined drapes, slipcovers, lampshades, etc.. they’re great for casement windows, glass curtain walls, regular (standard) windows for ceiling to floor drapes.
Broche, pronounced “bro..shay”. Is smooth and silky to the touch. It resembles an embroidered fabric, something similar to a damask. This textile has small floral designs set on a background pattern. The fabrics floral patterns are made to look like embroidery.
It’s pretty bold designs printed on fine cotton material. Chintz fabric is highly glazed, and this adds significantly to its charming characteristics. The glazing also makes it stain and dirt resistant.
However, once chintz is washed, it loses its glazed property and its stiff texture. Chintz is used widely for draperies, slipcovers, upholstery and lampshades.
Novelty fabrics are modern textile materials with unusual textures and feel. Many novelty textiles are produced using warp and filler threads of varying sizes, fibres or colours. Some are made with yarns that have nubs. Others have metallic threads or tinsel introduced into cotton-based fabrics.
It’s good to note that many novelty fabrics today blend natural eco-friendly and manmade fibres.
Taffeta fabrics are made with the basic plain weave. Traditionally, this textile fabric was primarily constructed using silk fibres. The warp and weft threads are of the same size and are usually weighted with metallic salts. Taffeta is popularly used for drapes and trimmings.
Terry cloth fabrics are more like uncut pile textiles. They’re heavy cotton threads woven loosely, just like a bath towel. Terry cloth is an excellent choice for classic unlined drapes.
The original casement cloth fabrics were made of wool and silk, constructed using a plain weave. It’s a lightweight cloth that’s now produced using cotton, mohair, silk, wool or linen—a combination of any two.
Casement cloth is popularly used as draw curtains and primarily come in neutral shades. However, today’s casement cloth does come in a variety of colours.
Damask, originally from 12th century Damascus’s beautifully patterned silks, is a jacquard weave with many similarities to brocade fabrics. The fabric construction of the damask involves two or three of the known basic weaves, which is used both for patterning and for the background of the fabric, with the weave of both being different.
Damask fabrics are classic textiles, and their pattern effect makes them reversible. Initially, this unique fabric was woven out of silk threads, but nowadays, damask can be made from eco-friendly fibres such as wool, cotton and linen—a combination of any two. Damask fabrics are used mainly by decorators for upholstery works and draperies.
This is pronounced as “mwah…ray”. This unique textile is characterised by a lovely finish on cotton textile fabrics or silk, giving it a watermark appearance. The material is woven as a rep (woven with a larger warp than weft yarn or vice versa), producing a subtle ribbed effect found in corduroy materials.
The watermark effect is made by folding the textile fabric between selvages and then “crashing”. Weave ribs with rollers, heat and pressure. This creates regular patterns that are symmetrical along the folds. Moir can be used for slipcovers, drapes and upholstery of occasional seats.
Satin is produced using the basic weave. The face side of the satin fabric is woven with warp threads which accounts for its glossy smooth appearance. The material has a dull back.
Also referred to as Friar’s cloth, this textile material is heavy cotton, coarsely woven. The construction of monk’s cloth involves using a group of warp and weft threads and interlacing them utilising a basket or plain weave.
The modern design will find this fabric a delight to use. It’s very different and pleasing, mainly used as wall hangings for upholstery in informal rooms.
Textiles: Making the Right Choice
To sum it up, the principles behind the selection of classic decorative textiles requires the understanding of creating a stylish balance between:
- Varieties and monotonies
- Similarities and contrasts
- Classic and contemporary styles
- Practicality and style
And even though the choice of textiles for soft furnishings for an interior decoration project is subject to the whims and preferences of the decorator, tastes and style end up being more important than the concerns for the practicability of the textile fabrics chosen.
It’s, however, advisable to note that the durability and practicality of a chosen fabric are just as important as its aesthetic looks and feel. So a favourite sofa used by all family members throughout the day must be upholstered in a more hardwearing fabric. Finer or sheer textiles will do well, looking pretty as window treatments. No one hardly ever touches them.