Checklist For Buying Fabric
Buying fabric online can be a mindfield with so many brands, types of fabrics and options, therefore it is important to choose the right kind of fabric from the outset otherwise it could turn out to be an expensive mistake you will not wish to make.
Our fabric buying guide has more in-depth information regarding fabric types and product information.
When you come to the decision to buy fabric online here are some quick guidelines and general tips in helping you choose the right fabric for you and the intended useage:
Checklist For Buying Fabric Online
Consider How You Want The Mood To Be
It is important that you decide whether you want your room to feel luxurious where velvets, silks or damasks would be options, or would you rather go for a fresh modern look where a light stylised floral print could work.
Consider How The Fabric Will Be Used
It is very important to consider not only where, but how the fabric be used before buying it. Keep in mind that it should fit in your desired room, both in style but also in its useage. i.e. What type of wear will it be subjected to, so therefore what type of quality is required, and the ease of cleaning and care.
Compare the Fabric With Other Finishes In Your Room.
Consider the overall look of your room or home interior scheme, so when buying fabric it cannot be seen or chose in isolation. Take samples of other fabrics, carpets etc. that you intend to use together.
Check How The Fabric Responds To Light
Also consider its effect, with light, in that do you want your fabric to be sheen when light reflects on it, or if you want a dark and thick material that absorbs light? Sculptural effects may be developed if lighting is used in such a way in gathered fabric for example a throw with deep shadows into the folds.
Check the Thickness/Weight Of The Fabric
You should also consider the opacity, thickness and weight of the fabric. Some layouts, schemes and window treatments, may need heavy duty fabric to reduce the amount of light while others might use unlined or sheer fabric for a light ambient effect.
Check the Composition
Consider the characteristics of the fabric, as some fabrics fade easily or discolour when exposed on direct sunlight, like silk that is prone to fading without some form of protective screening.
Consider the Handle / Drape of Fabric
Soft, loose drapes and swags can never be created from stiff, glazed cotton so check on how a large sample of fabric will drape and fold before buying.
It’s better to take home large samples and try it under the exact lighting condition. Some fabrics might appear differently and change color in different light settings. Even pin the fabric to the wall of sofa in different places and view as the day progresses and lighting conditions change.
Check Suitable for Intended Use
Make sure the fabric recommended is suitable for its intended use. If you need upholstery fabrics, then it must be strong and durable so refer to the Martindale Rub Count. The manufacturers labels should inform you of this.
Check Width of Fabric
Fabrics also come in different widths and this can have an impact on costing especially for curtains, please see our article on room high fabrics.
Check If Fire Retardent
If Fire Retardancy (FR) Treatment is required if not available from the manufacturer fabric can be sent away to be treated on the roll before making up a few pounds per meter which will add a couple of weeks to your scheduling. A spray-on treatment is applied by a specialist contractor after the fabric has been made but it can be costly. See our Fire Retardant Fabric Guide.
Check Dye Batch
Dyeing process may cause your fabric to vary in color from roll to roll so ask for fabric from the same batch number of dye lot. It is important for your cutting. As an additional, you can ask for a stock cutting, to check the color of the particular batch before making your final order.
Check Fabric Before Cutting
When purchasing, ask your curtain maker or upholsterer to check the fabric for any damages before cutting (although most workshops do this) because once fabric is cut most manufacturers don’t allow it to be returned of exchanged.