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Velvet is currently a popular fabric choice for home décor. Velvet comes in a range of weights and is woven from various fibers. Therefore, velvet can be used for draperies, bedding, pillows and upholstered furnishings. Despite its reputation as a luxury fabric, in today’s textile world there is no reason to shy away from using velvet in your home.

What makes velvet “velvety “ is the special loom upon which velvet is woven. A velvet loom weaves two thicknesses of the material at the same time. The two pieces are then cut apart creating the pile effect on each side and creating two bolts of fabric. If a fabric is not made this way, it is not velvet. Moreover, if a fabric is made this way, it is velvet—even if it does not look like the velvet you might be accustomed to seeing.

Before mechanized looms velvet was particularly expensive to make and thus often associated with nobility. Even today, a mill must be invested in producing velvet to acquire and maintain velvet looms. Furthermore, stored bolts of velvet must be suspended to maintain the pile over long...

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If I could offer just one design tip, it would be to pick your fabric before your paint! In today’s world of sophisticated technology, you can take a fabric swatch into the paint store and they will match it to a T.

Paint is available in an endless array of colors. It is the easiest and least expensive major design element to change. For paint, the two choices generally are color and sheen, both of which are available in infinite combinations. Also, at $25-$35 a gallon, a gallon of paint will cover 200-400 square feet of wall space. At the same price, a yard of fabric may cover two throw pillows.

With fabric, in addition to color and sheen, there are a number of considerations that will go into your selection based on use and lifestyle: durability, texture, pattern, style, and budget. Moreover, you are likely to have more than one fabric considering upholstered furniture, drapes and pillows. Fabric selections must be compatible with other fabrics and textures in the room--or even in adjoining rooms. The field from which to pick the perfect fabric becomes...

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“Sunbrella” is the trade name for a 100% solution dyed acrylic fabric manufactured by Glen Raven. Sunbrella got its start in 1961 as an alternative to cotton awning fabric. Unlike cotton fabrics, Sunbrella’s acrylic fibers resist damage from UV rays and are water resistant. In addition, Sunbrella’s acrylic fibers are extruded in color, rather than dyed like cotton fibers, so the fabric is highly fade resistant. Because of these high performance properties, Sunbrella has made its name as the premier indoor/outdoor fabric.

In addition to Glen Raven’s Sunbrella, other fabric manufacturers also make 100% solution dyed acrylic fabrics that offer the same high performance properties as Sunbrella. Sunbrella and similar fabrics have a fade resistance of up to 2000 hours—the number of hours in direct sunlight before fading begins.

There are other brands of outdoor fabrics made from polyester or acrylic fibers dyed after weaving. These fabrics tend to have lower fade resistance—between 300-800 hours. So while still serviceable for outdoor use, outdoor fabrics made from...

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In home décor, plaid is the latest graphic pattern to challenge the chevron for top design dog. Plaid has been around for centuries in woven goods. Weaving different colored threads on the weft—threads perpendicular to the selvedge--and warp—threads parallel to the selvedge--creates the graphic squares we know as plaid. By varying the width of the repeat, the pattern can be moved from a charming check to an intricate grid.

Plaid is versatile. A monochromatic plaid can add subtle interest, but in high contrast hues, plaid can make a statement. Enhance a cottage look with windows dressed in a crisp cotton plaid. For the warm cozy lodge feel, wrap an ottoman in a classic red Stewart plaid. Or try a classic houndstooth or windowpane check, which are staples of menswear design.

Plaid is easily incorporated into a room because it plays well with florals or other patterns. Join in the fun by adding a couple of plaid throw pillows in colors that you already have in your room. Perk up a tired room with a plaid ottoman or a side chair. Use plaid as a table runner or...

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When you are ready to reupholster a piece of furniture, if you don't know how to do it yourself, you will need to hire a professional upholsterer. Like any professional service, there are variations in the quality of work and the cost for services among upholsterers. A reference from a friend or other industry professional is a good start, but knowing what to ask when you meet with the upholsterer will help to ensure your expectations are met.

With a few good pictures and some basic measurements your upholsterer can estimate the cost to recover the item and the amount of yardage you will need for the project. But once the upholsterer examines your furniture, he or she should be able to tell you whether any of the component parts need to be replaced or repaired and the cost to do so. An upholster can also give you an idea of how you can restyle an upholstered piece, by adding or removing tufts, changing the number of loose cushions, adding or removing a skirt, or changing the trim details.

Most upholstered seating pieces are comprised of a frame, padding--like foam,...


When I was a kid I often shopped with my mom at a local store for fabric to make clothes. During those trips, I learned a lot about fabrics and how to use them. I learned how to match the properties of a fabric to the design of a garment. I learned how to use the proportions of a print to enhance a design, how to work with color and personalize outfits with buttons and trims. At Bolt Fabrics, I want our customers to have that same kind of experience, so I am launching this blog as part of my goal to provide the kind of customer service that makes Bolt Fabrics worth the trip.

So for my first blog I want to share some information that will stand the test of time.

DOUBLE RUBS. Never heard of a "double rub"? A double rub is a measurement of abrasion. The two most common test methods are the Wyzenbeek method and the Martindale method. Both methods assess the point at which repetitive abrasion causes noticeable wear on fabric. The Wyzenbeek method simulates wear on fabric by rubbing a piece of cotton duck in a back and forth motion over the fabric being tested. The motion...