Selecting Fabric: Expert Opinions

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In our Ideas Issue we presented to you our downloadable Fabric Library – a wealth of information on textile trends, information and ideas. We also chatted to a few of the industry heavyweights for their expert opinions on what to consider when choosing fabric for your home…

Elle Deco SA
From left: ‘Tune’ from the Tonic collection| ‘Celestial Dragon’ from the Eden collection by Matthew Williamson for Osborne & Little

Home Fabrics 

Things to consider when choosing your fabric for curtains?

It’s important to consider the light fastness. This is the level standard of which colour will maintain against the harsh rays of the sun. Also always ensure the fabric is lined if necessary as some fabrics do not block out 100% sunlight.

Best fabric for seating? 

A poly blend always works wonderfully as the fabric generally has a high rub count which allows for durability and longevity.

What is a thread count actually mean?

Thread count means the number of threads woven together in a square inch. You count both lengthwise (warp) and widthwise (weft) threads. So 100 legnthwise threads woven with 100 widthwise threads produce a thread count of 200.

David Bellamy 

Top tip when choosing upholstery fabric?

Buy something good quality that is hard-wearing, that will last a long time, heirloom textiles are a good choice.

Top 5 textile trends in 2016?

African, Junglous, velvets, linen, monochromatic

How do you know when you need to change your fabrics?

When they show signs of wear or faded pigments, or when your interior needs to be contemporised.

Elle Deco SA
‘V Step’ from the Miles Redd collection by Schumacher | ‘La Traviata’ from the Opera Collection


Top 5 textile trends in 2016?

From a colour perspective there is a leaning toward blues and greens of all hues. Ice cream colours rather than true pastels are popular, bling is still very evident. Also Moroccan tile designs mixed with tropical designs, and exotic birds.

Top new digital advancement in fabric production?

Digital printing has made literally anything possible when it comes to design. As the digital print becomes more and more popular, it is getting more affordable than when it was first launched. The great advantage of this type of printing implies there are no minimums involved and great detail can be achieved.

How to choose from all the options available?

One should have a starting point, like a rug or wallcovering or an item of furniture to build your story around. If you have a blank slate, page through décor magazines until a certain “look” resonates with you. Take it step by step from there.

The Silk and Cotton Co.

Top tip when choosing upholstery fabric?

Choose something that is timeless and not too trendy and hard wearing enough for the are. It is easier & more cost effective to change scatter cushions to update your look than to have to reupholster.

Things to consider when choosing your fabric for curtains?

Fabric choices will depend on if you want a neutral shell or to make a bold statement with florals, stripes or geometrics. Linens and textures create an elegant, timeless feel while printed fabrics can make a wonderful impact.

Reupholster or slipcover?

Depending on the area and how much use the furniture gets – slip covers are great to be able to pop in the wash but fully upholstered somehow always looks neater and more tailored.

Elle Deco SA
From left:’Belgique II’ stonewashed linen | ‘Djinn’ by Elitis

Lula Fabrics

Top 5 textile trends in 2016?

Florals, Geometrics, Tropical leaves , natural fibres like bamboo and hemp. Buying locally produced fabrics.

How to work out how much fabric I need for curtains?

The width of your pole x 2.5 divided by the width of your fabric should give you the number of how many drops of fabric you will need. The height of your pole to the floor is the measurement of your finished curtain add 50cm for header and hems. Eg Pole 2m wide x 2.5 fullness =5 drops : Pole height 3m + 0.50m = 3.5m x 5 drops = 17.5m  – if the fabric has a pattern repeat you will need to add a full pattern repeat to each drop for pattern matching. Most fabrics produced in SA have a pattern repeat of 64cm.

How to look after your fabrics?

Keep them out of the sun, don’t let your cat make wooley sculptures out of your linen sofa, wash slipcovers gently in a cool wash and no tumble dry.

Elle Deco SA
From left: ‘Arrugado Andaluz’ by Christian Lacroix | ‘Date Tree Stripe’ by Ralph Lauren

Skinny laMinx

Top tip when choosing upholstery fabric?

It’s a delicate combination of finding a design that you love, a colourway that works, a fabric that suits your lifestyle, and something that suits the budget. When I’m choosing fabric for a large item, like a sofa, I look at simplicity and longevity. It’s the smaller, accent pieces where the fun can be had with pattern, colour and impact.

Top 5 textile trends in 2016.

Bold, large-scale designs, textile art on walls, hand-made textiles in small runs,textiles with a story to tell, fearless pattern on pattern action.

Best fabric for seating?

One of our neighbours on Bree Street is Jason Bakery, who have used Skinny laMinx fabrics for their bench seats for the last four years, so we’re happy to have them vouch for the longevity (and hipness!) of our fabrics.

Download Our Fabric Library Here

Liked This?

You may also enjoy reading New Mungo Store And Inner City Micro-Mill In Cape Town and Designer Lives: Andrew Mckay

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The Winter Issue is all about de-cluttering, de-teching and slowing everything down. Packed with inspiration and ideas for making your home a sanctuary, we share the ultimate comfort food recipes, master the art of nesting and take you on a tour of the dreamiest hideaways. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #WinterIssue.

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