Cotton Upholstery Fabric
Cotton fabric for upholstery may not sound glamorous. It may not seem as fancy as velvet or linen. But what you don’t know is that cotton upholstery fabric is sometimes the best thing to use for furniture.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a new sofa or upholstering an old sofa, cotton should be at the top of your list of fabrics. Most people associate cotton with a bland and casual look, but cotton can be exceptionally modern. It all depends on the exact type of cotton fabric you choose.
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Is Cotton Good for Upholstery?
Cotton is surprisingly a great fabric featuring many benefits for upholstery. Cotton fibers have a definite length which is know as a “staple”. This is different than so-called filament fibers, such as silk (which comes from unraveled silkworm cocoon) and polyester, which have an almost indefinite length. High-quality cotton will have longer staples and can often be as smooth and luxurious as silk. Of course, if your cotton is of the lesser grades, which is made from shorter fibers, it may appear duller and a bit fuzzier. Not only will this affect the appearance of your furniture, it also makes them less durable than using cotton that has longer fibers.
A lot of people think all cotton is the same. But this isn’t true. The more you spend on your cotton fabric, the better the quality is going to be. This means for a bit of extra money, you can get very durable fabric with a tight weave and densely woven threads. This is why it’s so important to get the best cotton possible for your upholstery fabric.
But there are also different kinds of cotton. Denim and cotton canvas use cotton fabric. So does muslin and percale, which is what you typically find bed sheets are made out of. There’s also cotton velvet, known for being highly durable.
There are even different weaves with cotton fabrics. Every cotton fabric gets its unique appearance from the way in which it is woven. This gives you unlimited options when using cotton fabric for upholstery. Cotton canvas weave is used for things like slipcovers, while velvet weave is used for more formal or elegant fabrics.
What is cotton duck and is it good for upholstery?
You may have heard of the term cotton duck before, sometimes called duck cloth or duck canvas. It is a strong and heavy, plain woven cotton fabric. Duck canvas is more tightly woven than plain canvas. There is also linen duck, which is less often used. This type of fabric is used more on moderate-use furniture, decorative pieces or pillow accents as the fabric shape can warp over time and with heavy use.
What Are the Benefits of Cotton?
Cotton is an excellent fabric featuring many benefits. One of the greatest benefits of using cotton for upholstery is that it will always be breathable. Cotton allows heat and moisture to move away from your skin, which is known as ‘wicking’, that way you don’t stew in your own sweat when sitting on a cotton sofa on a hot day.
Cotton also has an exceptional resistance to abrasion, meaning it will last a very long time. And besides that, cotton fabrics are almost always washable. There’s nothing better than being able to wash stains out of your cotton upholstery.
Are There Downsides to Cotton?
There aren’t many downsides to using cotton for upholstery fabric. But there are a few. One of them is that pure cotton is notorious for wrinkling. But this is hardly even a downside, considering that on tightly upholstered pieces, wrinkles will not be an issue. You’re never going to find a wrinkle in your couch, even if it’s upholstered in pure, 100 cotton.
Then there are stains to think about. It’s true that cotton is washable, but unfortunately cotton is notorious for absorbing spills. You can always wash the spills out, but it’s still a bit of a pain.
And finally, direct sunlight is known for fading cotton fabrics. Sunlight is also known for weakening the fibers. If you’re upholstering something that will be sitting in direct sunlight, cotton could slowly fade the fabric – though this would still take many, many years, but something to consider if you were wanting to use cotton as an outdoor fabric.
Related article – Pros and Cons of Linen
Is It Worth It to Reupholster a Chair with Cotton?
If you have an old piece of furniture that’s been around forever, you’re probably wondering whether you should throw it out or simply reupholster it. You’re probably also wondering if it’s worth reupholstering a chair with cotton. The truth is that you need to consider a few different things.
Cotton is a very affordable fabric to reupholster any piece of furniture with. And if you have a piece of furniture that’s been in the family for generations, that’s an antique, or that’s simply well-made and sturdy compared to most new furniture, it’s probably worth reupholstering it.
But you still need to check what kinds of fees you’ll be dealing with, from labour costs to frame repairs. You might have to get the springs fixed. You’ll need to probably add padding. There is a lot that goes on with reupholstering an old piece of furniture.
But the good news is that if you reupholster a chair or other piece of furniture with cotton, it’s going to still be relatively affordable, and probably more so than buying a new chair. Cotton is a great fabric for reupholstery. It’s also an environmentally friendly way to keep your old furniture out of the landfill.
Because you’re using new cotton fabric, you can even choose your own colour and style. It’s a great way to revitalize any piece of furniture. Plus, cotton is arguably the best upholstery fabric for things like chairs and sofas.
Is Cotton Upholstery Organic?
Cotton is not always organic. Many cotton plantations around the world use pesticides and chemicals to grow their crops, meaning depending on where you purchased your cotton fabric from, it may not be as natural as you think.
It’s true that there is organic cotton on the market, though it is quite a bit more expensive. Plus, the fibers may still have been treated chemically during either the dyeing process or the bleaching process.
How can you find organic cotton? You want to choose an organic cotton in a natural colour. This means either cream, tan, or light green. These colours will have gone through as few chemical processes as possible, making them the most natural.
Still, cotton is far more natural than many other materials used in upholstery. Cotton is versatile, it makes any sofa a cool and soft place to sit, and it’s just a nice fabric. You should also keep in mind that cotton blended with polyester will typically increase the durability of the fabric and increase its resistance to stains.
When choosing upholstery fabrics, cotton has a myriad of benefits, however if you would like more information on other upholstery fabrics, check out the this related article – How to choose upholstery fabric