Upholstery Linen

Upholstery Linen Chair Bibendum Eileen Gray

LinenPinksUntil recently the finest linen was made exclusively in Western Europe. Whilst many of those producers still exist, much production has been shifted to the Far East. At KOTHEA, we endeavour to use European linen partly for sentimental reasons as we love the fabrics our mills have continued to deliver to us but also becuase the enviornmental impact of them is good and the quality fantastic.

Many of our natural linens are hydrogen peroxide bleached which is less environmentally damaging than the traditional use of the stronger chlorine-based bleach. Then, when colour is required, we typically only use dyes from natural materials.


Elegant, beautiful, durable, this luxury fabric is the strongest of the vegetable fibres and has 2 to 3 times the strength of cotton. It is smooth, making the finished fabric lint free and ensures that it only gets softer and finer the more it is washed. Linen comes from flax, a bast fibre taken from the stalk of the plant. The lustre is from the natural wax content, with it’s colour ranging from creamy white to light tan. Linen does wrinkle but also presses easily when damp. Linen, like cotton, can also be boiled without damaging the fibre.

The decrease in use of linen may be attributed to the industrialisation of cotton production (a cheaper fibre), the increasing quality of synthetic fibers, and a decreasing appreciation of buyers for very high quality yarn and fabric. Very little top quality linen is produced now, and most is used in low volume applications like hand weaving, as an art material, or table and bed linens.

Although the actual growing of linen is free of the extensive spraying and use of pesticides used on cotton, it is the production process that can be environmentally damaging – the extensive water consumption and the chemicals and mordants used in the dying process. Our Eco linen is of the highest grade, is hand loomed in Latvia and is undyed. It is bleached using low impact hydrogen peroxide rather than chlorine. See also Dye and Bleach, above, for further details.

Fabric Treatment Companies – FR Flameproofing

silk velvet upholstery fabric textile FR Martindale RubsWe are often asked to recommend fabric treatment companies for flame retarding in contract installations. Most treatment companies offer other services such as; back coating fabric for walls and stain resistance/repellency. There are several such companies in the UK and at various times we have used all of the following:

Essex Flameproofing,

Textiles FR, and

TEK Treatments

Just click the company name to take you to their web site. Please feel free to add comments to this posting recommending any suppliers you have used but any negative comments about other companies are not permitted on this site. Thank you.

Textured Upholstery

Textured Upholstery
Textured Upholstery
Textured Upholstery

Some nice Textured Upholstery on the sofas in this interior from Armstrong Keyworth. This looks like a warehouse conversion of sorts. Nice combination of clean new lines with renovated brickwork. Textured upholstery is always a good route to take when considering the fabric in your interior scheme. It’s not just about colour schemes texture and touch are also important to the people who will end up living there.

Upholstery Linen – Sourcing Luxury Upholstery Linen in the UK

Upholstery Linen
Upholstery Linen

Upholstery Linen is notoriously difficult for interior designers to source. Sourcing linens for curtains is easy enough but often linens are not woven with sufficient strength to score Martindale results that are high enough to warrant using the fabric for upholstery.

Some suppliers can be a little evasive and will quote the weight of the linen as a measure of the linen’s quality. The implicaiton being that the higher the weight the better suited the fabric will be for upholstery. There is some thuth in that implication but you cannot say for certain that a high weight linen is inherently suitable for upholstery. Get the Martindale!

Most KOTHEA luxury upholstery linens have inherent Martindale rub tests of around 20,000 rubs with one range further strengthened to 85,000 rubs for contract usage – 20,000 Martindale being eminently suitable for domestic upholstery.

Furthermore when buying upholstery- (or curtain-) linen you need to know whether or not it will shrink when washed. Linen ALWAYS shrinks. So what you have to find out is whether or not it has been pre-shrunk before you buy it. A common way of pre-shrinking linen is through the sanforisation process.

Click To Read More Interior Design Articles
Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

Here are the details of our new 2011 upholstery linens that are named Recline, Relax and Restful. We have many others, these are just the new ones:

Name: Recline

Usage: Luxury Contract Upholstery

Colourways: 24

Width:   135cm

Comp:  54% Li 35% Co 11% Pa

Weight: >350g/m2

Notes:   Martindale >85,000

Request Samples

Name: Relax

Usage: Luxury Domestic Upholstery

Colourways: 24

Width:  135cm

Comp: 100% Li

Weight: >265 g/m2

Notes:   Martindale >15,000

Request Samples

Name: Restful

Usage: Heavyweight Luxury Domestic Upholstery

Colourways: 4

Width:  135cm

Comp: 100% Li

Weight: >470 g/m2

Notes:   Martindale >45,000

Request Samples

What are the finest yacht linens?

The world’s most luxurious linens are feted by business leaders, top entertainers and royalty the world over. They are found extensively in the villas, yachts and chalets that few are rarely are privileged to see.

Quality, excellence by the use of the finest natural fibres and craftsmanship establish and maintain the leading linen companies’ reputations in that market.

KOTHEA’s unmistakeable handwoven linens continue to set the highest standards for the competition to follow.

Damasks & Silk Damask

The term DAMASK is generally used to refer to ornamental silk fabrics, typically elaborately woven, perhaps incorporating; several colours, gold or other metallic threads. They are usually found today made from linen, silk or linen-based fabric with woven patterns that emphasise flowers, fruit, forms of animal life, and other types of ‘ornament’.

Usually it is made from one satin warp and one sateen weft interchanged and sometimes with a twill or other binding incorporated.

The name ‘Damask’ is derived from Damascus where, in the 12th century, it became the city famous for its production. Prior to that it was produced throughout Asia and known in the West as ‘diaspron’ or ‘diaper’.

Damask weaves in linen and cotton are currently most commonly found in table linens. Damask cloths for table or bedding purposes are most commonly made of flax but sometimes made partly of cotton or synthetic fibers. The finer damask textiles for these purposes are made of the best linen yarn. This yarn is a brown/ecru colour during weaving but the finished product it typically ivory/white. Highlights in the cloth are obtained by long floats of warp and weft,  set at right angles, to differently reflect the light depending on the position of the observer. Subdued effects are produced by shorter floats of yarn. The finest results are obtained when double damask weaves are used.

Interior Design Directories

The myriad of design sites on the internet makes it difficult for trade professionals to find the most suitable products for their projects.

The most well known and used site is The House Directory. Whilst accessible to everyone, this site remains an invaluable resource for all interior design professionals. The site was improved further with a full re-design in 2008 and subsequently re-launched. The site comprises a large database of over 3,000 companies covering all aspects of interior and garden design and decoration with a beautifully presented interface to the web. Cheryl and Nicolette at The House Directory are rightfully proud of their creation and boast the highest-ranked site for interior decoration directories in the world (Source: Google). The House Directory was formerly House & Garden Addresses.

Home & Gardening Magazine also have a creditable online directory.

Yet another promising new directory is the Technical Library Services showcase Savoir-Faire. This is well designed and looks promising for the future.

For a wider range of architectural products, the RIBA Product Selector would be the place to go.

For those designers specifically interested in top market fabrics including silks, linens, mohair velvets, faux leathers and the like then we would definitely recommend The House Directory or contact the companies directly.