Today we are going to talk – FABRICS! There are endless options and possibilities when it comes to sourcing fabrics! In addition to the many different types of fabric, there are also thousands of colors and designs to choose from. When selecting upholstery fabrics, your fabric choice will likely depend heavily on a couple of factors. The main factor will be the project and the type of fabric best suited to make it last! You ALWAYS want to make sure you are selecting appropriate fabrics that make your project last. Otherwise, what’s the point?

When deciding on what type of fabric is necessary for your project, it is important to note that most fabrics made for upholstery and home decor are usually 52” to 60” wide. I bring this up because other fabrics commonly used for quilting or clothing are only about 44-45” wide! That is one way to be sure you are looking at the right category of fabric! 

Furthermore, the quilt and garment fabrics will not hold up on furniture! Decorator fabrics such as embroidered fabrics, lightweight, and loose weave materials are not made for high-traffic situations.  Many online companies will give you an idea of what type of wear a fabric has and will list the abrasion rating.  

For instance, If you are reupholstering dining room chairs that will get used, at minimum, once a day, if not 2 or 3, then you will be disappointed when your chair seat begins to fall apart within a relatively short period of time. Don’t waste your time or money on fabrics that will not last and are not made for upholstery and the usage they will receive!

Now that you know how to select more durable upholstery fabrics to ensure your project stands the test of time, you might be wondering, where are the best places to find fun and colorful fabrics and how do I possibly choose?!? 

Where do I find fun and colorful fabrics and how do I possibly choose?

I often recommend people to do a quick google search for fabrics by color and prints. Also, use the word upholstery. As search results come up, click on the images of those you are drawn to so you can see more information. You can get really good search results this way. This can also be less overwhelming in some ways than walking through a fabric store, as you can narrow your search to only fabric types, styles, etc. that you want! When ordering online it is always a good idea to order fabric swatches before ordering the yardage you’ll need.

You could also use lighter-weight ethnic fabrics and blankets for projects, just be careful when using hand-embroidered pieces. These are not made to hold up when continually sat upon. If you use these materials, I recommend using them in areas like the outside back of a chair where there is less wear and tear. Etsy is a great source of ethnic textiles and other unique fabrics! 

Are you a Business?

If you are set up as a business, you can get a trade account to purchase fabrics wholesale from many different vendors. You’ll have access to even more fun and colorful fabrics from mid to high-end fabric vendors like these ones below!

Each of these fabric vendors provides high-quality fabrics with various patterns and bold and vibrant colors!

Here are a few of my favorite brands specifically for bold and fun colors:

Upholstery Fabric Retail Suppliers

If you aren’t a business and don’t have access to wholesale vendors, don’t worry! There are plenty of retail suppliers that provide high-quality, fun fabric designs! Here are a few retail resources that also have some really wonderful bold and fun prints and designs.

Spoonflower is another good resource, but make sure you order the appropriate base cloth for upholstery. If possible, I always suggest getting a sample first to see the colors, as some patterns or colors come out more muted on some base clothes. 

The most important thing to remember when selecting fabric is have fun, be creative, and trust your instincts!

The fabric you choose above all, should be quality and made to last. Once you know the correct type of fabric, have some fun with it! Choose the bright peacock blue, or joyful floral pattern – choose what you like! Infuse your creativity into your fabric choices and make it your own. Selecting upholstery fabrics is where you get to have a bit of fun and flex your design muscle! 

As always, our online training experts are ready to help you learn and succeed. Join our online membership and start learning when and where you like with the support of our amazing online upholstery experts!

Kim’s Upholstery is all about helping and equipping others to learn the art of upholstery for pleasure, and if they want, enabling them to create an income for themselves – all on their own schedule!

See you on the inside, Kim