Irwin Weiner ASID - For today's busy family, we interior designers are constantly looking for better fabrics for indoor use on soft goods like upholstered chairs, benches, sofas, love seats, chaises, ottomans, and banquettes. While the bulk of today's design is championing sustainability, fabrics seems to be veering more towards the petrochemical path. And it's difficult to deny that acrylic fabrics that have been solution-dyed are ideal solutions to fabric problems of staining, fading, mildewing, wearing, soiling, and moisture damage. For a client with active grandchildren, I'll be presenting Dwell Studio for Robert Allen, Pindler & Pindler, and Duralee Fabrics that will wear like iron, yet come in color-fast, attractive colors that have a nice feel.
Most fabric companies now offer solution-dyed acrylic fabrics, many being blends of polypropylene and polyester. While the acrylic fabrics are still in the liquid state, dyes are injected so that the color is integral to the fabric fibers.
- Look at pioneering Sunbrella for both outdoor and indoor hearty fabrics, and Sunbrella fabrics private-labeled for other fabric companies (like Dwell Studio fabrics for Robert Allen).
- Look for indications of solution-dyed fabrics with their characteristics, which can range from being water repellant and mildew and fade resistant to soil and stain resistant and bleach cleanable.
- There are many indications of fabric durability. Look for abrasion or durability comments on fabric sample labels; there are two main tests: Wyzenbeek test and the Martindale test. You might see labels attesting to durability like "45,000 Wire Mesh Double Rubs" (double rub: a back and forth circular rub with wire brushes on the fabric to test when the fabric starts to wear). You might also see limited warranties which will give you extra confidence. See fabric test specification guidelines from The Fabric Project to get a better ideas of how the industry tests fabrics.