Mohair Velvet, Silk Velvet: How to upholster using it

Silk Velvet Upholstery Fabric TextileMohair Velvet and Silk Velvet buyers consider this: You have just invested a considerable amount of money in a high quality silk velvet or mohair velvet. Are you really considering upholstering with it yourself. Use an experienced upholsterer who, to be brutally honest, should not need the instructions that follow.

Some velvets are woven with a nap others are not. It is not a problem either way. If there is a nap you need to know which way it goes as that affects the process of upholstering. When you run your hand down the mohair velvet or silk velvet the smoothed direction indicates the direction of the nap. Remember this, it is important.

I’m assuming that you have already checked that the fabric is not damaged and that each piece is from the same dye lot.

The nap should be upholstered downwards for:

– the back;

– the seat; and

– side surfaces.

The nap should be upholstered from the outside inwards for:

– arm rests.

How do you flip your cushions? Top to bottom or left to right?

Most people flip from top to bottom. It is therefore standard upholstering practice to upholster the front and the back the opposite way. IE when they are flipped over the nap is the same.

You should use a layer of wadding between the foam and the fabric. The wadding can be either cotton or synthetic it does not really matter but check with any fire rating requirements. Again check that you are using the right kind of foam but HR foam or cold foam are both fine.

However if the pile is vertical then we advise the additional use of a cotton slip-cover.

Going back to the foam for a minute we advise that you use white wadding. In certain circumstances it is possible that grey wadding will ‘bleed’ causing marks on your beautiful Mohair Velvet. For example this may be caused from moisture used in the cleaning process.

Always use wadding on the arm rests as a protective layer to help eliminate ‘sharp’ edges. Using wadding on arm rests will thus reduce wear and tear considerably.

For the piping never use synthetic piping cord, always use cotton piping cord. As with the arm rests this will reduce wear and tear by eliminating the ‘sharper edges’.

Again to reduce wear and tear also use the length of the fabric to make the piping. this will look better as well.

Happy Upholstering

KOTHEA 2010 Fabric Collections

Finally! Our summer collections have been decided and we will begin to introduce the new designs and colourways throughout the remainder of this year. We have been inundated with new work in the first part of this year causing our blog posts to be curtailed and our ‘spring’ collection to nearly be an autumn/fall collection. Not that we really do seasonal collections in any case.

I will return later in another post to KOTHEA’s awesome sales figures for the financial year just finished. Most surprising, especially considering we are in the midst of a recession. We had our best ever year and by quite a large margin.

We expect some coverage of the new collections in World of Interiors and Elle decoration but, again, more on that at another time.

Where can you see our collections? Well, we are as elusive as ever but we are starting to digitize some images to our flickr feed (click the images on the right or here). The flickr update is ongoing, there is information on flickr now but some of the images are not final and some images do not have full associated descriptions / product details but we are woking on that this week. Our usual clients will receive the new collections in due course starting in late summer; if you need them more urgently for pressing projects of course we will be happy to oblige. Please get in contact in the usual way.

Not all are in production yet but most sampling is available now.

As a very broad summary we have:

1. New colours of several existing ranges including faux leather;

2. More velvets including patterned and crush;

3. Striped, double-width linens;

4. Upholstery weight linen; and

5. A few more interesting one-off designs in limited colourways like the one heading up this blog post.

KOTHEA Release KORAFT Fabric – New Raffia

LONDON, England. 05-OCTOBER-2009 11.30 AM: KOTHEA today announced it has expanded its panelling collections with the addition of KORAFT. Like KOTHEA, KORAFT is, well, just a little bit different and in the nicest possible way. KORAFT is just one of those products where you desire what you see – the very highest quality, beautifully textured raffia-like wall panelling also suitable for domestic upholstery. 

Reference: 01-009-410

Colour Shown: Natural

Other colourways: 1

Width: 138cm

Repeat: none

Composition: 73% Cotton, 27% Viscose

Primary Usage: Panelling and upholstery, contract & domestic.

Martindale: 14,000 Rubs

Type of fabric: Rafia/Textured Weave


KOTHEA are a top-market fabric house based in Continue reading “KOTHEA Release KORAFT Fabric – New Raffia”

Making cushions

Making Cushions
Making Cushions

Making cushions can be trickier than you might think. For consistent, professional results we have our cushions made up by Tricia Tucker at if you want instructions on how to make up cushions yourself then you could start by looking here

Upholstry Fabric / Upholstry Fabrics

Upholstry fabrics (sp. upholstery)  from KOTHEA offer the very best Martindale / rub test values for contract and residential usage. KOTHEA never compromise on elegance in design throughout their extensive range of collections that encompass many textured upholstery fabrics and hard wearing fabrics such as mohair velvet and faux leather. Much more information can be found about our products and company elsewhere here in The Fabric Blog.

Try searching for particular technical characteristics like ‘Martindale’ or ‘ the specific type of product like ‘Mohair’ or ‘upholstery fabric’ or ‘textured upholstery’ .

Alternatively ask a question by commenting on this page and it will be answered.

Top Market Fabric Suppliers For Interiors (Leading European, UK Base)

Use this page as a directory of the UK’s leading fabric suppliers.

Abbot and Boyd 020 7351 9985
Altfield 020 7351 5893
Alton Brooke 020 7376 7008
Borderline 020 7823 3567
Brian Yates 01524 35035
Brunswig 020 7351 5797
Bruno Triplet 020 7823 9990
Chase Erwin 020 8875 7441
Colefax 020 7244 7427
Colony Fabrics 020 7351 3232
Donghia 020 7823 3456
Gainsborough Silk 01787 372081
Henry Bertrand 020 7349 1477
Jab 020 7349 9323
Jane Churchill 020 7244 7427
Jrobertscott 020 7376 4705
KOTHEA 0870 285 4768
Kravet 020 7795 0110
Lee Jofa 020 7823 3455
Lelievre 020 7352 4798
Manuel Canovas 020 8877 6400
Nobilis 020 7351 7878
Pierre Frey 0207 376 55 99
Robert Allen 01494 474741
Sacho Hesslein 020 7352 6168
Silk Gallery 020 7351 1790
Turnell and Gigon 020 7259 7280
Watts Westminster 020 7376 4486
Zimmer and Rhode 020 7351 7115
Zoffany 08708 300 350

Many of these fabric companies sell a wide range of products including: chenille, contract fabric, faux / fake leather, mohair velvet, linen velvet, cotton velvet, wool,  hand woven products, natural silk, cashmere and damask for upholstery, curtains and cushions.

Quirky, New Textured Weave Fabric For Contract & Domestic

KOTHEA Release New Fabric For Interiors

LONDON, England. 06-JULY-2009 11.30 AM: KOTHEA today announced it has expanded its extensive upholstery fabric collection by the addition of KOCAFELATTE. KOCAFELATTE is a somewhat quirky and hard wearing fabric with an unusual, fine patterned design. It is a striking fabric with a high Martindale result, achieved whilst maintaining the highest levels of exclusive design. It is well suited for a range of uses but targeted towards upholstery and cushions in either domestic or contract installations.

Reference: 02-002-415

Colour Shown: Champagne

Other colourways: 3

Width: 135cm

Repeat: V9 – H9cm

Composition: 100% Viscose

Martindale: 40,000 ‘rubs’

Primary Usage: General upholstery or window treatments, contract & domestic.

Type of fabric: Textured Weave


KOTHEA are a top-market fabric house based in London serving customers throughout all of Europe and The Middle East. Founded in 1999 they have since continued to develop and sell an extensive range of timeless fabrics to the top architects, interior- and yacht-designers for projects ranging from mega-yachts to boutique hotels and from luxury spas to penthouses.

KOTHEA operate on a trade-only basis and their fabrics are available to the public through interior designers and specialist interior design shops such as Gotham, Interiors Bis and Fiona Campbell. KOTHEA also supply beautiful hand-woven linen fabrics and finished goods – throws and table linen.

KOTHEA’s trade customers would perceive their signature fabrics to include several ranges of velvet including the exclusive ‘cashmere silk velvet’, silks, linens, double-width sheers, faux leather and interesting weaves for upholstery often with high Martindale ‘rub tests’ making them highly suited to both contract and residential projects.

Founder and Executive Director, Lisa Parsons started KOTHEA more than 10 years ago after 11 highly successful years with Nobilis Fontan in Chelsea and Donghia in Chelsea Harbour. She says, “At KOTHEA we like to think we bring something a little different to the market. Our difference will be reflected in our customers’ eyes by unusual fabrics that complement our core fabric ranges; all augmented by our excellent levels of customers service, market knowledge and attention to detail.”

# # #

For Further Information

Please visit the company web site at


KOTHEA is a registered trade mark of KOTHEA Limited. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Colourfastness – Testing to US standards

Colorfastness to Light

A material’s degree of resistance to the fading effect of light.

ACT GUIDELINES (USA :: Association for Contract Textiles)

AATCC 16 Option 1 or 3-2003 Grade 4 minimum
at 40 hours

Direct Glue Wallcoverings
AATCC 16 Option 1 or 3-2003 Grade 4 minimum
at 40 hours

Wrapped Panels and Upholstered Walls
AATCC 16 Option 1 or 3-2003 Grade 4 minimum
at 40 hours

AATCC 16 Option 1 or 3-2003 Grade 4 minimum
at 60 hours

QuickTime Movies (click link to play)
Colorfastness to light

AATCC 16 Option 1 or 3 – 2003*
The AATCC 16 Option 1 and 3 are test methods of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). ACT recognizes both methods where the only difference is the light source being used. In AATCC 16 Option 1 a Carbon-Arc lamp is used as the light source and in AATCC 16 Option 3 a Xenon-Arc lamp is used. Under both methods a strip of fabric (part of which is protected by a special paper card) is placed in a fadometer and exposed to 40 hours of accelerated fading units (AFU). After the exposure the difference in color between the exposed and protected parts of the fabric are compared to the AATCC gray scale and the degree of fading is rated.

Grade 5 = no fading
Grade 4 = slight fading
Grade 1 = high degree of fading

* For complete technical details about AATCC 16 Option 1 or 3 – 2003:

Source: Association for contract textiles (USA)

Fabric Colour Trends 2009-10

We are doing some work for a medium sized architectural practice. One of the partners asked me what the ‘in-vogue’ colours were for fabrics. This got me thinking.

There’s the usual stock answer where a fabric company would quote something which sounded like we were dress makers. “The in-vogue colours are the colours on the cat-walk”. Luckily I didn’t answer that way, partly because I haven’t been to a Paris catwalk for a while and partly because what colours we wear are not the colours we design our interior spaces with. I have a few reds and ochres in my wardrobe but none on my walls. Similarly I probably have proportionately very much more taupe around the house than around my body. So clearly the cat-walk comparison is wrong.

The time delay as well. There must be 2-6 months delays in getting the very latest fashions from the catwalk to the mass market retail outlets. It’s pretty hard to turn out new fabric collections regularly in that timeframe.

And then I thought some more. The job was for a Mediterranean villa. Are the colour trends in this country and in this climate the same as in such warmer climbs? Probably not. Hotter climates favour colours that are physically cooler. Picture the white houses of a stereotyped Greek village.

And then I thought about personalities. The villa owner is a wealthy and aesthetically discerning business leader. Will that sort of person have the same tastes and influences as the middle classes of a London suburb? Or will their Chelsea architect/designer reflect the aesthetic views of their personal domain? Some well-known designers push the same colour schemes again and again – because they look great and they work. Is that a trend?

So I came to the conclusion that what defines a colour trend will vary. It will vary by geography, by social aspirations & standing and many other factors. I’m not sure they vary by time that rapidly how we furnish, organise and decorate our houses does change but that change is more on the scale of a decade than the fadish seasonal change for clothing.

That seemed a bit of a cop out answer though. Let’s be analytical about it. What colours do we sell the most of? Well, to be honest, it is still the classic-contemporary feel. So plenty of taupes, white, muted neutrals and the delightfully named beiges. Even with the acidic greens, purples and violent colours of the early 2000s that were blasted in our faces on ‘Changing Rooms’; I have to say that the upper end of the market very, very rarely asked for or bought these colours. So surely the colours we sell are the ones that are on-trend? Maybe, but maybe also we self select the markets we target, the products we stock and hence the type of customer we attract.

And really I would probably question the original question as well. Fabric is much more than colour; texture and design are also key.

So where did that leave me? I probably should have thought of a sophisticated way of saying “just buy what you like” or “get to know what your client likes and sell them that” and said that, but I didn’t.