Upholstery Fabric versus Regular Fabric Prints

I recently used a regular print fabric for a recover of Mid Century Vintage armchairs.

Instead of paying $200 for a quality woven fabric, I paid $20 a meter $25.00.

The fabric was woven, however thin compared to upholstery fabric, however the price did suit the budget.
I was happy to go with a funky print to suit my décor and budget rather than pick a woven or plain fabric that would probably wear better and last longer.

Check the Print

Unfortunately when purchasing at the local store and there was a misprint in the design. This is a rare thing. I happened to buy the end of the roll at the store and didn’t check the fabric as it was being rolled out.

If you buy your decorator fabric online usually the seller will automatically check this for you.
Ebay sellers are very good when it comes to details like this because they rely on customer feedback reflecting performance based service.

How to work out the amount of Meters & Price

Upholstery fabric traditionally has width of 150cm or 160cm. This width is easy to work with for lounge cushions, armchairs and bench cushions. It is mostly 160cm wide and then you decide how many metres long you like.

Regular Decorator Fabrics

Have different width sizes from 90cm 120cm to 150cm. Sometimes the width can be less than 90cm so it is wise to check. If the width is really small like 60cm, you might not be saving as much as you think in the long run. Upholstery fabrics can be 140cm to 160cm in width.
So work out the sizes of you cushions first.

You can draw a plan like this:-

If you have the plan, you can apply your cushion sizes when comparing different fabric widths.
Cushion size
Step 1 : Measure the sitting area of your foam. Most seat cushions for sofa or armchairs are 50cm or greater. So I will work on 50cm, next…
Step 2: Measure the height, this can vary from 8cm , 10cm , 12cm to 15cm.
Step 3: Decide the style you want to make! This will determine the pieces you need to cut .

Seat Cushion Styles

Roll front (no seam) and gusset sides – this is one of the easier styles to make and the one i used for my armchairs.
Full gusset cushions: – top Square, bottom square and a panel all around the sides of the cushion.
Step 4: Draw your cushion sizes in boxes on a sheet of paper.
Example : – for 1 roll style cushion with side gussets or panels .
50cm x 50cm top (no seam allowance)
50cm x 50cm base (no seam allowance)
2 Side Panels 10cm x 50cm (add 2cm to length of panel)
Step 5: I am not going to have a seam at the front of my roll cushion with side panels, I will just have a zipper at the back of a cushion. So I will need 1 piece of fabric cut that will cover top seat, front face width of cushion and bottom seat of foam.
No Seam allowance with exception to zipper
50cm top plus 10cm plus 50cm base plus 3cm zipper seam allowance.
1 seat cover rectangle:-
113cm x 50cm wide
2 side panel rectangles:-
10cm wide x 52cm long
For 120m wide fabric I will need 112cm to make 1 seat cushion if I want to cut the pattern to run the same way on the side panels. If I don’t care how the grain or pattern runs on the side panels. I can cut 1 cushion from less than a meter of fabric – 60cm. I would buy just a bit more because this allows for no cutting space. So I would buy 70cm for 1 50x50cm roll style with side panel’s cushion.

Pro’s Cons Printed decorator fabric

Pro Con
   Bright colour designs for less cost Less Durable – They may not last as long
   Less bulk Easier to sew on sewing machine Can Lack Texture
   Cost less per metre Expect to more for quality or fashion trends
    Easier to cut off or leave any faults or misprints in a cheaper style fabric Always Check for any misprints in the design

Pro’s and Cons for Upholstery Fabric

Pros Cons
    Longer lasting and wearing If you go with a thick texture fabric it may be hard to sew on a home sewing machine
    Texture and Woven Designs Higher prices for comfort, quality, & durability
     Plain neutral for larger areas Replacement (matching) availability may be non existent
    Function specific for indoor or outdoor areas Always check for faults in woven fabric
    Cost more per meter


What I love about Upholstery Fabrics

While the prints or plains can command a substantial price and not always satisfy, I find
I can always spot textures in woven, pressed, or tapestry fabrics that are truly inspiring and worth paying a bit extra. or I shop here for a bargain.

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