Silk Velvet Upholstery Fabrics For A Contemporary Lounge

Silk (Photo credit: markb120)

A contemporary lounge chair or sofa attains its contemporary’ status by having the right combinations of ‘form’ and an expertly upholstered, quality finish. Here we will just look at upholstery and, in particular, silk velvet upholstery fabrics.

Contemporary furniture is designed to be striking, with the better examples typified by great craftsmanship. Consequently you will find many designers and upholsterers specifying fabric such as that sold by leading fabric houses including Kravet, KOTHEA and Donghia.

Why?

A velvet fabric is one where the fabric is made with very many tight loops of yarn. A cutter then chops off the end of every loop leaving yarn that ‘points’ upwards, tightly packed together. Often you will have encountered this type of fabric in theatres and cinemas – more so now in private theatres. The length of the remaining yarn can vary and this is called the pile; it could be a few mm or several mm long. The longer the pile the more likely it is to ‘fall over’. This, by itself, is neither good nor bad. It depends on what you prefer. The direction in which the pile falls is called the ‘nap’ and when upholstering a high quality craftsman must understand how to correctly work with the nap.

The nap can show some of the side of the individual strands of yarn and the sides can be more reflective than the cut ends. Thus, often, velvets have ‘shine’. Shine also occurs with wear as the pile becomes compressed, exposed and rubbed/polished with usage. People often, incorrectly, associate this solely with ‘silk velvet’ but that is not necessarily always true as many velvets can show more shine with age.

So we have learnt a little about how velvet is made and how it wears. Where does the silk come in?

Well, velvet can be made from many yarns. Cotton, viscose, mohair, linen or sheep’s wool. Silk is a natural substance spun by a silk worm. Silk is commonplace but varies tremendously in quality. Often silk is combined with other yarns to increaser its strength or to achieve other properties. For example one of our most luxurious fabrics is a silk and cashmere velvet. The resulting mohair velvet fabric feels great AND also has much improved durability properties. Cheaper silk will degrade much more rapidly.

So, typically, silk velvet is mixed with other yarns and often has a shine. This makes it great for contemporary furniture

 

Faux Leather Martindale Test – What does it look like

Ever wondered what a Martindale rub test looks like?

 

We’ve already shown a video of this <here> however of some additional interest might be the following faux leather samples that recently came back to us from the Martindale testing laboratory.

Faux Leather After Martindale Rub Test

 

So the link (above) shows you the machine in action and the image above shows you the circular cuttings taken of the fabric that have been rubbed, in this case, 200,000 times. As you can see this excellent performance faux leather of ours lasted WELL above the industry ‘norm’ of 100,000.

Leatherettes & Fine Faux Leather – More Collections

Leather (Photo credit: orebokech)

Faux Leathers are otherwise knows as leatherette, fake leather and artificial leather. We have a short article on their many benefits for interior designer <here>.

KOTHEA® are the UK’s leading producer of fine, performance faux leathers for the contract market.

We have some of the very highest performance faux leather fabrics with Martindale Rub Test results in excess of 200,000…some of the highest in Europe. You can specify this quality of product knowing that you can totally trust its abrasion resistance characteristics.

We have a broad range of collections covering the varied environmental needs of hospitality (spas, restaurants, hotels), marine (yachts), office and household (apartment, villa) usage. Our technical innovation gives the best fabrics and our designers the best patterns and extensive colour palettes.

Related articles

More Black Faux Leather Upholstery

Faux Leather is great for upholstery. Here is a time lapse video of the full process if you want to know how it is done. We would be happy to point you to a local upholsterer but please remember that we only sell the faux leather upholstery fabric. If you would like samples please drop us an email request <here> (trade only). We have several collections of faux leather in most colourways including base colours (black, brown, green, blue, red, yellow, gold) muted neutrals and metallic finishes.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/E333E2nRke4]

Tatami and Raffia Wallcoverings and Fabrics For Interior Designers

Raffia and Tatami are often terms that are used synonymously these days by some interior designers.

Tatami are woven Japanese floor mats. Originally they were made from (rice-) straw but now they are made from a variety of materials with better properties for fire resistance, warmth and general comfort. Typically Tatami mats are made to be twice as long as they are wide and they are usually about 2m long.

Raffia (often Raphia in the USA) refers to fibres made from a tropical tree. Specifically raffia is made from the leaves of a specific palm tree called “Raphia ruffia”, which is usually found in Madagascar and more generally in Africa. A different variety in South America is “Raffia taedigera”.

Raffia that is more suited to top market interior design projects will probably often be made from other materials – one of the particular note would be made from high quality cellulose pulp.

So, often when clients ask for Tatami or Raffia they are really often asking for a straightforward, grass-like, woven fabric similar to that shown in the main image accompanying this article.

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Such raffia and tatami fabrics are usually available by the meter and have additional properties making them more superior to traditional variants. For example having high martindale test scores making them suitable for upholstery and coming pre-treated for fire retardancy.

Click <here> to request samples.

Tatami and Raffia by the meter may also be quite flexible allowing it to be fastened around wooden frames and then used as a textured finish for walls and ceiling.

With Wyzenbeek rubs of 40,000 KOTHEA’s 2011 Raffia (Raphia) are also eminently suitable for a wide range of upholstery uses.

Raffias can usually be fire treated to meet a wide range of contract requirements including hotels and marine installations.

This type of raffia weave has been used for thousands of years perhaps most famously as Japanese Tatami mats. They are of course one of today’s modern day design staples for a clean, modern look.

Links:

Upholstery Velvet – Sourcing Luxury Velvet (Mohair) in The UK

Luxury Mohair Velvet For Upholstery

Luxury Upholstery Velvet is notoriously difficult for interior designers to consistently source. Sourcing a generic velvet is easy enough but often velvets vary greatly in quality with many being relatively cheap and scoring relatively well with Martindale results but they just look ‘cheap’. The look and feel of the velvet are, after all, two of several important reasons why you are specifying it in the first place.

A further problem is composition. When, for example, you say you want a Mohair Velvet that is what you want: a velvet made out of Mohair and NOT lots of other things PLUS a bit of Mohair.

Whilst Mohair velvets are generally very good across the market they too can vary significantly in quality. So even when you buy a Mohair Velvet you are not necessarily getting the durable, luxury, fantastic looking product that you hoped for.

Further complications come when looking at Velvets made of a mix of yarns. Well, some of the mixed fibre yarns too are actually excellent in quality!

So I guess I’m saying that there really is no sure and fast way of knowing that what you are buying without actually seeing the fabric AND being assured of its technical characteristics, notably Martindale as we are considering upholstery here.

Most KOTHEA luxury upholstery velvets have inherent Martindale rub tests of in excess of 20,000 rubs with several collections exceeding 100,000 rubs fo contract usage – 20,000 Martindale being eminently suitable for domestic upholstery.

In addition to non-velvet, textured upholstery we have many luxury velvets suitable for upholstery including Italian Silk Velvet (high quality, luxury velvet), Cashmere & Silk Velvet (the ultimate velvet), trevira Velvet (inherent fire retardancy), Mohair Velvet (high quality, luxury velvet),

Most of our velvet is available by the metre with no minimum quantities.