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Fabric Value Guide

WHAT MAKES ONE FABRIC WORTH MORE THAN ANOTHER?


Construction
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 details as:
  •  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 (hand).

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.

Finishing

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.



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