I am re-posting this blog post about fabric choices. We had a good run for a while where we were getting appropriate fabrics, but recently we've been getting things like apparel fabrics and light weight fabrics. Here is a little fabric 101 for you all so you can become familiar with the many types of fabrics there are out there.
Cotton- Cotton is durable, strong and affordable. The weight of the cotton affects how it hangs. Higher thread counts wear better. While cotton is a good choice of fabric because it is machine washable, it will wrinkle and mildew in a damp environment and can turn yellow or fade in the sun. But, it can be treated to prevent the mildew and yellowing from happening.
Linen- Like cotton, Linen is strong and durable; however, it is more expensive. Most linen is dry clean only. It is somewhat resistant to sun and mildew and hangs stiffly when draped.
Silk- Silk is costly, but drapes well and resists mildew. Water will spot silk and can fade in the sun.
Wool- Wool is an excellent insulator and drapes easily. It is moderately priced, but dry-clean only. It attracts moths and weakens in direct sunlight.
Nylon- Nylon is strong, affordable and wrinkle free. The higher the thread count the better the draping.
Polyester- Polyester is durable, strong and wrinkle resistant. It can weaken over time in direct sunlight. It is moderately priced and machine washable.
Rayon- Rayon is weaker than other fibers, but drapes well. It is affordable and can be draped to look like silk or linen. Rayon wrinkles and is dry clean only.
Brocade- Brocade features a raised floral design that resembles embroidery. It is a heavy fabric usually woven from cotton, wool or silk.
Canvas- Strong and inexpensive. Good for covering outdoor furniture.
Chintz- Made from a cotton weave and coated in a high-luster glaze and usually features a floral motif.
Damask- Made from a weave of cotton, silk or wool and is finished in matte and satin.
Gingham- Crisp cotton fabric woven into block or check prints.
Lace- Lace features the eyelet design and made from cotton or a cotton-poly blend.
Satin- Satin is woven from silk, linen or cotton and features a glossy finish.
Sheers- Sheers are a translucent fabric, such as voile or lace, and gently diffuse light.
Taffeta- Taffeta is a crisp, shiny silk weave that retains shape well with little support.
Toile- A tightly woven fabric usually featuring a pastoral scene and printed in one color.
Velvet- Velvet blocks drafts and light, and shapes well.
Voile- Voile is also known as muslin. Its texture can range from coarse to fine. Add a layer of muslin to your window treatments to add insulation from heat and cold as well as light.