CHALLENGE: The architectural and design firm I work for is not clear in reference to specifications for fabrics and their use. I know it is one thing to choose a textile that is appropriate for the job, the right shade for the color scheme and the correct design for the presentation. My concern is the performance of the fabric in the long run. Where do I go to find specific information on the textile I have chosen for a particular job?
SOLUTION: You are not far from your answer. In fact, it should be literally at your fingertips!
By law, all textiles must be labeled. Therefore, a wealth of information is right there in front of you. You just need to know where to look for it! Check the label: Attached to each textile you will find information regarding all the particulars of that fabric. The information should be clear and precise.
In the textile shown in the photograph, the identifying information starts with the textile supplier. Then, the pattern number. Below that is the color number and name of the textile. The width, which is 54 inches wide, is critical to the number of yards required for a job.
Then, the pattern repeat both vertical and horizontal is included. If this information is overlooked, the job could prove to be short on fabric and more yardage must be ordered. If you need to order more fabric, an entire string of problems could follow. For example, if enough fabric to complete a project is not ordered all together, you run into problems with dye lots. Your order for additional fabric could be from a different dye lot and the color might not match exactly!
The attributes of the textile are very important as to how the textile will perform, too. The label tells us that this particular textile is 50 percent polyester and 50 percent cotton. That will give you a hint as how easy the fabric will be to work with, for its feel and how it will drape.
Even more information can be found on the back of this specification label. For example, the origin of this textile is Chili. The durability is 20,000 Cotton Duck Rubs. This is a test given to textiles to determine their wear. A cleaning code also is included on the textile label.
You can see from this wealth of information that a textile’s specification is very important as to the performance of the finished product. All interior materials from flooring to wall treatments will have a specification for use. If any questions arise, it is best to call your manufacturer’s representative for additional questions not answered by the label.
Editor’s note: This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business. If you have a question you would like Anderson to address, please send it to:
Design Solutions · c/o Draperies & Window Coverings
1724 E. Grand Ave. · Lindenhurst, IL 60046
Fax: (847) 356-9013 · E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the residential and commercial areas of interior design. She is currently a faculty member at two Southern California colleges. Anderson has been featured in numerous books and publications.