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Choosing fabrics for your furniture can be an overwhelming experience if you don’t know much about it.

Things to consider when choosing fabrics:

Most importantly; what is it for? 


It needs to suit the need.  Curtains, blinds, cushions, Loose upholstery or fixed upholstery.


Martindale rub test.

Check the rub test, it should be on the back of your sample or you can ask us.They start from around 10,000 rubs upwards.This tells you how hard wearing a fabric is.  See the video link below to see how they perform this test.


What room is it going in?

If it’s a bedroom chair for example, you may want a pretty floral fabric or a fabric with a sheen such as silk or velvet for a luxurious look.  If it is in a busy area like the kitchen/dining room or lounge you may want to think about durability and stain resistance.


What is the colour scheme of that room?

Is it neutral? If so, then a splash of colour would look great.  Do you want to match the furniture to the curtains? Are the walls a bold colour? Maybe a mix of plain and patterned cushions in lighter versions of that colour would look great.


Do you want it to be plain or patterned?

There are lots of different patterns such as floral, botanical, stripes, abstract, spots, and geometric and you can mix and match cushions and scatter cushions for an ultra-modern look.


How should it feel when you sit on it or brush your hand over it?

Do you want ultimate softness or are you going for a more regal, rigid look like a leather chesterfield.


Does it need to be stain resistant? 


Some fabrics already have this technology build in e.g. fibreguard and aquaclean.  We can advise you on this.


Does it need to be FR treated?

We will advise you on this as we have to follow the guidance of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) regulations 1988, which is a complicated thing to get your head around.


Finally, please allow us to guide you through the process.  We want you to be thrilled with your decision because, re-upholstering furniture is not something you should have to do very often!

Lisa - Chameleon Upholstery




Most fabrics are some type of weave.  Woven fabrics are made by interlacing long threads (warp and weft) at right angles, perpendicular to each other, commonly linen or wool.  Weave is very durable.

Synonyms: entwine, lace, work, twist, knit, interlace, intertwine, interwork, intertwist, interknit, twist together, criss-cross, braid, twine, plait.



Lightweight plain-woven cotton cloth, typically checked in white and a bold colour.



A fabric made on a loom fitted with a jacquard, with an intricate variegated pattern. Invented by J.M. Jacquard in the early 1800’s.



A mechanism attached to a loom for weaving small patterns similar to but simpler than those produced by a Jacquard loom.


Basket Weave

A style of weave or a pattern resembling basketwork.



A type of cotton cloth, typically plain white or unbleached.


A rough-surfaced woollen cloth, typically of mixed flecked colours, originally produced in Scotland.


A cloth with a white weft and a coloured warp.


A pattern designed with different colour diamond shapes knit into a fabric.


A fabric so woven as to have a surface of diagonal parallel ridges.

Variations of Twill

1. Herringbone

A pattern consisting of columns of short parallel lines, with all the lines in one column sloping one way and all the lines in the next column sloping the other way so as to resemble the bones in a fish.

2. Houndstooth

A large check pattern with notched corners suggestive of a canine tooth.


An embellishment of a fabric where threads are sewn on to the fabric to create a pattern.

Synonyms: elaboration, embellishment, adornment, ornamentation, colouring, enhancement.



A closely woven fabric of silk, cotton, or nylon that has a thick short pile on one side.

Velvet can be made from several different kinds of fibres, traditionally, the most expensive of which is silk. Cotton is also used to make velvet, though this often results in a less luxurious fabric. Velvet can also be made from fibres such as linen, mohair, and wool.

More recently, synthetic velvets have been developed, mostly from polyester, nylon, viscose, acetate, and from either mixtures of different synthetics or from combined synthetics and natural fibres.  A small percentage of spandex is sometimes added to give the final material a certain amount of stretch.


Variations of velvet

1. Plush

Plush (from French peluche) is a textile having a pile the same as velvet.  Its softness of feel gave rise to the adjective "plush" to describe something soft or luxurious, which was extended to describe luxury accommodation, or something rich and full.

2. Velour

Velour is a plush fabric with a knitted back which resembles velvet but has some stretch.  It is usually made from cotton, but can also be made from synthetic materials such as polyester.



A soft white fibrous substance which surrounds the seeds of the cotton plant and is made into textile fibre and thread for sewing.


Woven from flax, linen fibres are almost twice as strong as cotton.


A viscous orange-brown solution obtained by treating cellulose with sodium hydroxide and carbon disulphide, used as the basis of manufacturing rayon fibre and transparent cellulose film.


A textile fibre or fabric made from regenerated cellulose (viscose).


A fine, strong, soft lustrous fibre produced by silkworms in making cocoons and collected to make thread and fabric.


The fine, soft curly or wavy hair forming the coat of a sheep, goat, or similar animal, especially when shorn and prepared for use in making cloth or yarn.

Variations of wool

1. Merino

A type of wool that originates from pure bred Merino sheep. The best Merino wool comes from Italy.

2. Chenille

Chenille may refer to either a type of yarn or fabric made from it. Chenille is the French word for caterpillar whose fur the yarn is supposed to resemble.



A material made from the skin of an animal by tanning or a similar process.

Variations of leather

1. Suede

Leather with the flesh side rubbed to make a velvety nap.

2. Faux Leather

Faux leather is made from a plastic base and then treated with polyurethane, dye or wax to create the colour and texture.




A tough, lightweight, elastic synthetic polymer with a protein-like chemical structure, able to be produced as filaments, sheets, or moulded objects.


A synthetic resin in which the polymer units are linked by ester groups, used chiefly to make synthetic textile fibres.

Chameleon Upholstery (C)

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