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Yorkshire Fabric Shop Rainbow

A Beginners Guide To Fabric Types

If you're buying new furniture or upholstering an old favourite, fabric quality is one of the most important decisions you'll need to make.

With many fabric options out there, it can be a little overwhelming knowing which ‘type’ is the right fabric for your furniture and your lifestyle.

To help protect you from making the first time fabric fails, we have created a useful guide to direct you to the correct material for your next project!

Our fabric showroom is open to the public Monday-Saturdays.



Leather is often one of the most durable fabric types when used for upholstery. That is what makes it a great choice for items such as dining room chairs or even sofas.

Leather is also great if you find yourself cleaning down your soft furnishings often, as it is easy to wipe down and hoover when needed.

However due to the weight of most leathers, we would not recommend this fabric when creating curtains - it is far too heavy for the pole and can cause it to bend. Not a great look in your interior!

Looking for a leather fabric? We have an extensive range of faux leather fabrics in a variety of different textures including matt, vinyl, soft sheen, smooth glass, and grain effect amongst others.

You can shop our wide collection of leathers here.



Corduroy has a distinctive pattern with its parallel cords running throughout the material.

Did you know that the fewer the stripes, the thicker and more durable the fabric is, making it perfect for upholstery use?

Corduroy can be great for softening edges in your home due to its cosiness and softness. Opt for a sofa covered in this gorgeous warming material or start off slow by adding some throw pillows.

We guarantee it will create a cosy sanctuary for you and your family.



Chenille is known for its softness and durability and is therefore one of the most popular upholstery materials.

Whether it is a cushion, curtain or sofa you are looking to create, Chenille can do it all. With over 3000 chenille’s in stock, we are sure we have the design for you.

Did you know that the word chenille originates from the French and actually means caterpillar.

The meaning for this name is that when looking at this fabric from certain angles the alternate direction of the tufts can look like caterpillars!

Take a look at our extensive range of chenille fabric here.



Velvet is often feared by most due to its ability to slip in and out of fashion on a regular basis.

However, when used correctly, velvet can be one of the most sophisticated materials, creating a luxurious and plush, yet cosy feel to any interior.

With velvet being relatively hard to clean, we would suggest it to be used for smaller furnishings such as cushions or headboards.

But if this isn’t a concern for you, why not be bold and dive in with a gorgeous velvet sofa!  

Explore our wide range of velvets here.



Heard bad things about Suede? Many interior designers will avoid this gorgeous material due to its reputation of being hard to maintain, however with the right knowledge and care you can successfully add this effortless fabric into your interiors.

Follow these 3 tips to keep your suede looking brand new.

Make sure to remove any liquid from the material as soon as possible, time is of the essence, slowly dab the fabric until dry to avoid pesky stains.

If you weren't so lucky in catching the stain, make sure to purchase a suede rubber (eraser) which is specialised in removing suede stains!

Finally, to keep your upholstery looking as good as new we would recommend brushing your sofa regularly with a soft suede brush, this will help to keep its gorgeous look.

Click here to view our full suede range.


Faux Fur

Faux fur, also sometimes called fake fur, is a soft and warm material that imitates the fur of an animal.

Due to its very low rub-test, we wouldn’t advise using this fabric to reupholster your furniture; however, it looks beautiful as a cushion!

If you are looking for a striking and bespoke piece of furnishing our Silkie range is for you!



Are you looking for an effortless fabric that will single-handedly elevate your interior?

Originating from the French language meaning curls, this curly and cosy fabric was brought to life in the 1930s when Coco Chanel began using the fabric in her design, but it made a comeback in 2022 and will continue to be popular throughout 2023.

The trend for 2022 was the boucle sofa but this fabric will be perfect for pretty much all upholstery projects you have in mind!

We have a variety of boucle fabrics in store. Check out some of the boucle ranges here.



Did you know that Tweed was originally woven in the 1700s for Scottish farmers due to it being an extremely warm and hard wearing material!

Therefore if you are looking for a fabric that is going to face tough conditions, tweed may be for you!

Tweed was originally a plain fabric but is now known for its colourful and intricate designs meaning it will be perfect for most interiors whilst also creating a rustic look.



Silk isn’t considered one of the most luxurious materials in the world for nothing.

Silk is one of the most expensive fabrics due to only 168,300 tons of raw silk being produced each year.

Its shine, soft feel and elegant appearance is very popular in the fashion world but not so much in home interiors due to its expense.

If elegant and expensive is in your plan then this material may be for you!

Try starting off by adding a couple of silk cushions or even a curtain drape, less is often more!



Linen is actually a natural fibre extracted from the stalk of a flax plant.

Linen is often heavier than cotton and more durable, meaning it is better for projects such as dining room chairs and footstools.

However we would only recommend the use of linen in adult only rooms due to its reputation to wrinkle and stain easily.



Cotton is one of the most commonly used fibres, due to its softness and also being relatively cheap to produce.

However you will never find an upholstery material that is made of 100% cotton, with it often being part of a mix.

When looking for an upholstery material containing cotton, the best quality fabrics often contain around 40%-60%, such as our Samaya Collection.



Polyester is hard, durable and affordable, making it one of the most popular compositions for upholstery fabrics.

Polyester is also a very popular composition due to its sustainability. Unlike wool and cotton, polyester doesn’t degrade over time and can therefore be reused, making it more environmentally friendly!

Take a look at our range of sustainable fabrics here.



Wool was one of the first fibre’s that was spun into a fabric! Wool is a very popular choice in upholstery due to its durability and crease resistance.

However, wool is known for being quite scratchy and may not be the most comfortable on furnishing such as sofa’s or pillows.


We know that choosing the right fabric isn't an easy job, but we hope that our guide will help to point you in the right direction.

However, if you are still unsure on which material is best for your next project, please contact us through Instagram, Facebook or on 01924728753 and we would be happy to help.


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