Elegant Upholstery Fabrics
There are various types of fabrics and they usually differ in terms of their strength and durability. Speaking more technically, upholstery fabrics usually range from medium to heavyweight classes. This is important to know because some types of fabric cannot be used in certain ways or in combination with other fabrics. When choosing what kind of fabric you want, it is important to decide first what kind of qualities you want on your furniture. The following is a list of some important qualities that are useful to keep in mind.

• Pleasant and comfortable touch
• Good shape retention
• Some resilience
• Dimensional stability
• Resistance to frying
• Resistance to fading and colour loss by rubbing
• Carefully balanced composition
• Good tear resistance
• Good seem strength
• Fire resistance to minimum standards

We want to point out that fabrics will not have all these qualities to the same extent. Therefore it is important that you decide what qualities you would like to have on your furniture. Although professionally upholstered furniture will significantly prolong life to your fabric it is also important to maintain your furniture properly. Here are some tips. Fabrics are weakened by dust and it is important to brush and vacuum your furniture on a regular basis. We provide a fabric protector that will make your cleaning much easier.

We have the best fabrics from well-known manufacturers. These manufacturers try to inform us on the labels of their products. Professionals in this business don't have problems reading these labels but customers often do. Quite often these labels contain very technical information and some background knowledge is necessary to understand it. Below you can find some helpful hints on how to read labels and fibre characteristics. There are different standards around the world but we will focus on North American standards. Labels usually provide the following information:

1. Abrasion resistance
2. Physical properties (pilling, seam slippage, breaking strength)
3. Colorfastness to crocking
4. Colorfastness to light
5. Fire resistance

Abrasion Resistance
Abrasion resistance is the ability of a fabric to withstand surface wear from rubbing. There are two test methods used for measuring abrasion resistance. In the Wyzenbeek Test Method, the fabric is pulled tight and rubbed in both the warp and filling directions, using a piece of cotton duck fabric as the abradant. The number of cycles, or double rubs, endured before the fabric shows "noticeable wear" is counted. This number determines the fabric's abrasion rating (15,000 for general contract upholstery; 30,000 for heavy-duty upholstery). In the Martindale Test Method, the fabric is mounted flat and rubbed in a figure eight-like motion using a piece of worsted wool cloth as the abradant. The number of cycles endured before the fabric shows an objectionable change in appearance is counted. This number determines the fabric's abrasion rating (20,000 for general contract upholstery; 40,000 for heavy-duty upholstery).

Physical Properties

Pilling is the formation of fuzzy balls on the surface of a fabric. Pilling occurs when loose fibers in the fabric are worked to the surface after the fabric is subjected to abrasion. The Brush Pill Test uses nylon bristles to rub the surface of the fabric to be tested for a specified time period. The number of balls or pills that form on the surface of the fabric are counted and the fabric evaluated in a 1 to 5 rating system. A Class 5 rating means that no pilling has occurred. A Class 1 rating means that severe pilling has occurred. Seam Slippage refers to the condition when fabrics pull apart at a sewn seam. To measure a fabric's ability to resist seam slippage, a seam is sewn in the fabric to be tested. These sewn fabrics are then clamped at one end and pulled by weights at the other end. This test is performed in both the warp and filling directions. The weight is increased until the seam separates a specified distance. The number of pounds required to cause this separation determines the fabric's rating (25 lbs. Minimum for upholstery; 25 lbs. Minimum for panel and vertical surface fabrics; 15 lbs. Minimum for drapery). These specifications depend on the quality of thread and whether the edges of fabric are finished on an overlock sewing machine. We always use a 5-thread overlock machine with safety stitch to improve the quality. Breaking Strength measures a fabric's ability to resist tearing or breaking when subjected to pressure. To evaluate breaking strength, the fabric to be tested is gripped by clamps at one end while weight is applied to pull it from the other end. This test is performed in both the warp and the filling directions. The number of pounds required to cause the fabric to break or tear determines the rating (50 lbs. Minimum for upholstery; 35 lbs. Minimum for panel and vertical surface fabrics; 15 lbs. Minimum for drapery).

Colorfastness to Crocking

Colorfastness to Crocking refers to the rubbing off of color from a fabric when subjected to abrasion. To measure for colorfastness to crocking, the fabric to be tested is rubbed with squares of white cotton fabric (both wet and dry) under controlled pressure for a specific number of times. The amount of color transferred to the white test squares is matched to a control chart and a rating is established. A Class 5 rating means that no color transfer has taken place. A Class 1 rating would mean that an extremely high degree of color transfer has taken place.

Colorfastness to Light

Colorfastness to Light refers to a fabric's ability to resist fading when exposed to light. To measure for colorfastness to light, the fabric to be tested is exposed under specific conditions to a controlled light source which stimulates the sun's rays. At timed intervals, the test swatch is compared to a gray scale and the degree of fading is rated. A Class 5 rating means that no fading has occurred. A Class 1 rating means that a high degree of fading has occurred.

Fire Resistance

Fire Resistance refers to a fabric's ability to resist burning. The appropriate flammability test is determined by the intended end use for the fabric. The two testing methods most commonly used to measure flame resistance are the Tunnel Test (ASTM E-84) and the Vertical Flame Test (used by California Bulletin 117 and NFPA 701). In the Tunnel Test, the fabric to be evaluated is clamped (unadhered method) or glued (adhered method) to a substrate. The substrate is placed on the ceiling of the test chamber and ignited by a flame from below. The fabric sample is then evaluated for the density of smoke formed, the amount of fuel contributed and the extent of the flame spread. Based on these factors, a rating is established. In the Vertical Flame Test, the fabric to be evaluated is placed in a vertical holder and exposed to an open flame for a specified amount of time. Once the flame is removed, the after flame and char length of the test sample are measured against various code standards to establish a classification. The NFPA 701 utilized the Vertical Test, but unlike California Bulletin 117, the test is conducted in "oven dry" situations, meaning the fabric to be tested is heated and thoroughly dried out prior to testing. The test then proceeds under the standards described above, and a classification is established.
Elegany Upholstery - Service Menu
171 1st Street East.
North Vancouver, BC V7L 1B2
t:604.980.1114  f:604.980.1134