|Fabric Value Guide
MAKES ONE FABRIC WORTH MORE THAN ANOTHER?
Perhaps of all the elements that affect the worth
or value of a woven fabric, it is the construction
that plays the biggest role. The term construction
describes the structure and components of a woven
fabric. It is a broad term that encompasses such
- Number of picks
per inch of fabric
The term "pick" refers to the number of yarns
that run horizontally in woven goods (also
known as "weft" or "filling"). Each yarn represents
one pick. The pick interlaces with the warp
to form a woven cloth.
In general, higher pick levels increase the
weaving cost of a fabric. Higher pick levels
can create a tighter weave structure which
can also make fabric more durable and allow
for more detailed designs.
However, it is important to keep in mind that
pick level is relative to yarn size. In other
words, a fabric woven with a "fat" chenille
yarn requires fewer picks than a thin straight
cotton yarn, but that does not necessarily
mean it is of poorer quality.
- Number of warp
ends per inch of fabric
In much the same way that pick levels affect
the cost of fabric, so do the number of warp
ends per inch of fabric. Generally, denser
warps with higher numbers of warp ends are
the best because they produce more design
detail and greater fabric durability.
- Type of components
Various types of dyes, fibers, and yarns can
be used in woven fabric, and this may affect
the quality and price of the goods. For example,
tapestry warps made of different colors may
cost more than solid color warps, but enable
beautiful, intricate multi-color designs.
Different yarn types can be used in both the
warp and filling. Typical fibers in upholstery
fabrics are polyester and cotton. Olefin (polypropelene)
is often used for lower cost fabrics. Rayon,
viscose, linen and acrylic yarns are more
expensive and can enhance a fabric's appearance
substantially. Specialty yarns, made from
many of these fibers, also add cost to fabrics
to produce unique looks and characteristics.
In today's market, chenille yarns of nearly
every fiber are extremely popular because
they can add rich textural looks and are durable
while giving the fabric a very soft feeling
|R6289 Paisley Chenille Teak.
This subtle paisley design is just one of
many high-quality, chenille constructions
available from Regal Fabrics.
Design and Color
From simple to elegant, the beauty of a design
is an important aspect of a fabric's worth. Usually,
the best fabric designs start with beautiful artwork,
carefully interpreted into the proper fabric construction.
Artwork is usually purchased from textile designers
or created by an in-house studio designer.
Fabric finishing is used to enhance the fabric
that comes from the loom, or to make up for a
construction that doesn't meet production standards.
Many upholstery fabrics are used exactly as they
come from the loom. However, many fabrics go through
a finishing process of some kind before they can
be sewn onto the furniture or other product.
Probably the most popular finishing done in America
is the addition of a stain-resistant coating such
as Scotchgard™ or Teflon™. Other frequent
enhancements include washing and Aero™ (drywash)
finishing to greatly increase the softness of
a fabric and to add texture.
The most inexpensive fabrics are usually woven
with a low number of warp yarns and with very
few picks. Directly from the loom, these can not
be used. To make them strong enough to hold a
seam and to avoid stretching, a backcoating is
applied with a form of rubber or a similar compound.
Backcoating will often make the fabric feel rather
stiff, although subsequent Aero™ finishing
and recent advances in backcoating techniques
have led to better results.