Fabrics Page for Comfy1
Shown here: Our Custom 05
model (one of our six basic designs), in one of our many
standard sizes, and in one of thousands of fabrics available.
This page is a very secondary page of our website, dealing only with fabric selection and not showing our products.
**If you want to view our full product line, rather than seeing just fabrics, click here.**
Ways of finding the right fabric
(aside from coming to our Virginia showroom):
The easiest way: We can select samples to send you, if you can describe the kind of fabric you're seeking. Scroll down a few inches to the paragraph next to the picture of our smiling fabric specialist.
Looking in local fabric stores is another good option. We will usually deduct something from the base price if you provide the fabric, although we can't guarantee that, because some fabrics are very difficult to work with. For details about finding fabric at local stores, see "Finding Fabric at a Local Store" at the bottom of this page.
For maximum selection: Other companies' websites have many fabrics that we do not have in our own sample books. And they usually offer means to easily and quickly search their database for specific colors, kinds of patterns, etc. We offer helpful guidance (below) to speed your search. You would obviously want to request samples of specific fabrics that interest you. If you request samples through us, there is no charge for them (on the understanding that you will return them when you're through with them). If you can't easily find the right fabric on the internet, and if you can describe what you're looking for, be sure to ask us for samples, since we have many in our showroom that aren't on the web.
Is our range of
possible fabrics too large for you to conveniently consider? There's no need to spend much time on it. If you
have an idea about what kind of fabric you'd like (colors,
pattern if any, texture, practicality needed), let us know and
we'll select samples to send you. You may also want to start by
looking at our small selection of stock fabrics (the next two
links after this paragraph), since they are the least expensive,
but most are also very durable and practical. You might also want
to look through the pictures on our website to see the fabrics
that many of our customers have decided look good with our
furniture. You may get ideas from those pictures, and if you'd
like something similar to what you see (but in a different color
? -- and/or practical with pets, or kids, or sun exposure?),
let us know, and we'll find swatches to send you. If you'd
like to talk over your decorating desires and fabric preferences
with the person in our company who is most knowledgeable about
that area, that person is Greta Hammen, who is normally here most
weekdays, about 11:30 to 3:00 Eastern time. Call our 800 number
(1-800-659-0436) to talk, or send e-mail ( email@example.com )
If you choose to look at fabrics on
websites before requesting samples:
For the most accurate viewing of the colors on your monitor: (1) Make sure your monitor has been on for at least 15 minutes; some instructions recommend 30 minutes of warming up for maximum color accuracy, and (2) make sure the room around your monitor is only dimly lit. Also, keep in mind that different monitors can show the same image in significantly different ways; if your household has more than one computer, one might show colors more accurately than another. Be aware that some colors (especially dark colors or muted colors) will often not show up well on some computers, so it's a good idea to always look at any color names that are provided.
Our stock fabrics -- The most for your money:
We stock about 30 fabrics. Since we have bought these in bulk quantities at the mill price, and in some cases as closeouts, we can offer these at significantly lower prices than the other fabrics. To see our stock fabrics that are solids, tweeds, or that have very small-scale patterns, most of which are heavy duty, click here. To see our stock fabrics that have fairly conspicuous patterns, click here.
Decorative Fabrics: Many people prefer the softness, naturalness, and/or look of cotton or cotton blends, or they like some of the patterns and textures that aren't available in the heavy-duty fabrics. With furniture such as we sell, there isn't as much need for practical fabrics as there would be with typical furniture, because our furniture is relatively easy and inexpensive to re-cover. And some people feel they would be ready for a change of color in their decor anyway, by the time the original covers need replacing. Therefore we offer some fabrics that aren't long-wearing or easy to keep clean, since some customers are very satisfied with fabrics like that. But we try to make very sure that you are aware of the durability and cleanability of every fabric you're considering.
HEAVY-DUTY fabrics: Our offering of heavy-duty fabrics is so outstanding and so varied that we have a completely separate page dealing with them, which you can get to by clicking here .
Sunlight: Be alert to this concern if your furniture will receive a good deal of direct, unprotected exposure to mid-day sun. Fading (especially with darker fabrics) or (with cottons) even disintegration can result from too much exposure to direct sunlight. The websites of JF Fabrics (jffabrics.com), Burch Fabrics (burchfabrics.com) and Douglass Fabrics (douglassfabrics.com) indicate how their fabrics perform on the industry-standard colorfastness test; Class 5 is considered to be "excellent," and we would not recommend anything less than that for substantial exposure to direct sunlight. Charlotte and Kravet (mentioned below) have substantial selections of fabrics that are especially sun-resistant (Charlotte's entire indoor-outdoor collection would be Class 5), and other websites probably also offer such fabrics.
Cats' claws: Choose a fabric that is smooth in texture (the many suede-type, micro-fiber fabrics, as well as vinyls, should be ideal). Avoid like the plague: nubby fabrics, especially ones with loops on the surface. Be aware that the heavy-duty ratings have little relevance to resistance to cats' claws.
For maximum stain resistance (short of using a vinyl fabric) plus anti-microbial properties, along with heavy-duty abrasion resistance, be sure to consider the "Crypton" fabrics. See the paragraph dealing with Cryptons farther down this page.
For liquid resistance without limiting yourself to vinyls or Cryptons, be aware that you can order vinyl inner covers, which will prevent liquids from penetrating into the cushion filling. But also be prepared (as in the cases of faux leathers, vinyls, and Cryptons) for the cushion to feel very firm at first because of slow escape of air as you sit down, as well as for the cushion's being slow to regain its shape after you rise.
Scotchgarding and similar treatments: See the cautionary notes on this subject near the bottom of this page, under the category "Stain Resistance and Stain Repellancy".
If you have questions and don't want to keep going through this website to seek the answers, please call 1-800-659-0436, leaving a message and a number to call back if we aren't there at the time. To send e-mail, click here.
One good way to
see a great selection of fabrics, usually
sortable according to the kinds you're looking for, is to go to the
WEB SITES OF FABRIC SUPPLIERS, whose web addresses and special strengths are mentioned below.
In almost every case except that of Burch
fabrics, you can click on a small image of a fabric to
see it enlarged.
Samples of any of those fabrics can be sent to you at no charge if you request them through us, on the understanding that you return them when you're through with them.
Before going to other websites, we urge you to record our web address, since some people have found our website with a particular random web search and later not been able to find us again.
To see a wide range of fabrics at very reasonable
prices, go to www. charlottefabrics.com . You can view their
collection sorted by (1) dominant color, (2) type (including
chenille, commercial grade, microfiber/suede, cotton print,
vinyl, Crypton, denim, tapestry, etc.) or (3) pattern (including
contemporary, floral, small scale, solid, tweed, stripe, novelty,
and Southwestern); some of their patterns are also artistic.
Pet owners and others who want fabrics that hide soil, that are also heavy duty, easy to clean, and unlikely to attract cats' claws, sometimes are drawn to fabrics such as Charlotte's 6121, shown on the right, which is also available in four other practical colors. This fabric is 69% olefin and 31% polyester (very durable and cleanable fiber contents), treated with Teflon (R) fabric protector, very tightly woven and flat (no nubbiness), passes 35,000 double rubs on the abrasion-resistance test, and is at the +5 price level (adding $175 to the base price of a 3-seat sofa). The other colors in this pattern can be seen on the Charlotte web site by searching for fabrics numbered 6118, 6120, 6122, and 6123.
Cat owners will especially want to consider their microfiber/suede category, with fabrics that are mainly very smooth. heavy-duty fabrics. Dog owners: See special note for you at the bottom of this page.
If you're looking for fabrics with miniatures such as shown at the left, which are especially compatible with the Arts and Crafts style, the Charlotte website has four in this pattern, with #6059 Emerald shown here, and also 6056 Iris, 6057 Acorn (goldish tan) and 6058 Port (bluish red), which are all heavy duty, 100% olefin and Teflon treated, at the +6 price level. There are two others that we have bought as closeouts and therefore sell much less expensively while they last, which you can see by clicking here.
If you're looking for U.S.-made fabrics, the supply has unfortunately narrowed considerably in recent years. All of the fabrics (all of which are extra-heavy-duty) that you can see at www.cmft.com/hdfabric.htm) are made in New Jersey. Charlotte Fabrics has a moderately-good selection of American-made fabrics, which you can see by looking on their site for the following "gallery types": micro-fibre/suede, chenille, southwestern, or velvet, and after clicking to see a larger image, see if it says "Made in America."
At www.barrowindustries.com , click on "Fabric Search", then under "pattern style" you can choose from among "contemporary/ethnic" (which includes Southwestern), "floral", "stripes/plaids", "plain/textures", and "novelties" (including animals, forest scenes, etc.); you also can select color class, including light and dark shades of all basic colors. Barrow's fabrics tend to have especially good texture and thickness, at moderate prices; many of them are also artistic, and include an especially good selection of contemporary patterns and patterns with small-scale miniature elements. For heavy-duty fabrics, mainly micro-fibers, with interesting textures in a wide range of solid colors (unfortunately the textures don't show up in the images, so you'll need to see samples to appreciate them), see sample book "05W06 Woven Essentials." The Barrow site shows suggested retail prices, but we charge for them at 20 to 35% off those prices. To give you a general idea: A fabric with a retail price of $25 to $29 per yard would be at our +5 level, adding $175 to the price of a three-seat exposed-wood sofa (but more if you want a pattern to be matched, requiring more fabric) or $300 to the price of a Custom 05 (fully-upholstered) sofa. $42 to $47 per yard would normally be at our +8 level, adding $280 (wood-frame sofa) or $480 (Custom 05 sofa). Any pattern that begins with M: There will be a minimum fabric charge (at least $180, sometimes over $400) with those particular fabrics; but if you're considering a larger order in a patterned fabric (at least two sofas, or a medium-to-large sectional), the patterns beginning with M will often be less expensive than most other patterned fabrics.
At www.robertallendesign.com/searches/search_product_finder.aspx (the Robert Allen
site), you can see a wide selection of fabrics (but typically at
higher prices) in which you can select by many characteristics.
You can select images to see based on color and style (including
contemporary and transitional); design motif, including
abstract/geometric, ditzy/mini, ethnic/oriental, horticultural,
recreational/sport, nautical, paisley, stripe, animal, texture
and tropical; also category, including suedes, duck,
eco-friendly, corduroy and outdoor, and finish, including
Crypton. They don't indicate prices, but we will be glad to quote
prices on any that interest you. Robert Allen's special strength
seems to be a wide selection of decorative, patterned
fabrics, mostly at above-average prices. Many of these fabrics
are heavy duty. For looking on this site, and also on other
sites, you may benefit from these suggestions from one of our
customers: "You'll miss so many designs that are 'right up
your alley' if you just look in the color section under the
color(s) you THINK you want. If you have time, you should look
under many colors, then when you see a design you like, go to the
name search section, enter the exact name and search 'all
colors'. You'll be surprised how many are available in color
combos that appeal to you. Sometimes a design with, say, red or
rust, does not even show up in the group that comes up when you
ColorLogic search for 'red' or 'rust'! "
Many of Robert Allen's fabrics are rather expensive, so it would be very helpful if, when requesting samples, you could tell us the price level that you don't want to exceed.
At www.kravet.com/search/fabselect.asp?code=FAB , you can make selections under "category " for categories such as "chenille" or "corduroy" or "tapestry" or "velvet" or "denim/twill" or "Crypton" (heavy duty and very stain resistant, but see the cautionary note at the bottom of this page), and/or many others. Under "type" you can select "floral" or "contemporary" or "ethnic" or "geometric" or "Ikat/Southwestern/Kilim" or "solids" or "textures" or "plaids" (they have excellent selections of textures and plaids), or "paisley" or "hand painted" or "dots" etc. You can also indicate color preferences. Under "Select Brand", you can opt to see their Kravet Soleil line, for indoor-outdoor fabrics (which are especially fade-resistant). Under that same heading, you can also select "Kravet Contract" to see only heavy-duty fabrics, although many of their fabrics that are not in the contract category are also heavy duty. Kravet's special strength is the vastness of their selection. We urge you also to make your choice of acceptable price ranges, since many of their fabrics are quite expensive. Unfortunately, their middle range goes from $25 to $75 per yard (again, we sell at 20 to 35% off), and you often can't tell where within that range a particular fabric falls, until you check with us. The low end of that middle range would add $160 to the price of a three-seat exposed-wood sofa, and the high end of that middle range would add $480. If you don't want a fabric that adds more than that to the price of a three-seat sofa, please indicate that by selecting only the first two ranges shown for prices. And when you request swatches, please indicate if there is a charge that a fabric should not exceed, for your purposes. One clue that sometimes works to give an idea of prices of their fabrics: Often a "grade" is indicated; if it's over grade 10, that fabric would add at least $400 to the price of one of our exposed-wood sofas or $700 to the price of a Custom 05 sofa.
If you go to www. jffabrics.com/english/products.html , you can see a good selection of faux suedes with miniature patterns (under "Deco Suedes"), silk-like fabrics (under "Providence"), iridescent fabrics (Symphony), and prints and coordinating plains, including unusually colorful florals, paisleys and stripes, including wide stripes (Temptations Collection).
If you go to www.douglassfabric.com , you'll find an especially good selection of heavy-duty fabrics in a wide range of decorative patterns and colors, many of which are at moderate prices. You can do a product search with your choice of fabric types, pattern types (including geometrics and novelties), colors, etc. You can also search by patterns or groupings, including Greenbrier and Cantara, which include fabrics made of re-cycled materials or post-industrial recycled polyester.
At duralee.com, click on "Fabric Search" at the top. Then you can see an excellent collection (many higher end, but also many moderately priced), allowing you to select by categories such as abstract, basketweave, ethnic/kilim, floral, suede, velvet, botanical, contract (including some interesting heavy-duty geometric patterns), Crypton, large scale, novelty (including butterflies, sea shells, etc.), paisley, and texture (with some unusually prominent textures), and many other designs. Selection by type and design can be combined with an unusually well-defined selection-by-color feature (including "burgundy", "orange/rust", and "aqua"). They offer a very large collection of unusual, artistic, colorful prints, mostly florals but also other designs, mostly cotton but also some synthetics, and also a wide range of faux suedes, including many printed with Southwestern designs. As of 10/08, the information shown for each fabric doesn't include abrasion resistance, but a high percentage of their fabrics (especially their solids) are very heavy duty, and that can be found out on inquiry.
on this site, be sure to look at the color names
(and view the pages in a dimly-lit room on a warmed-up monitor),
since non-bold colors may not show up well
on your monitor, particularly when viewing the small images.
("cactus" or "antique gold" might appear to
be just shades of grey.) Clicking to enlarge the image will help
in color perception, but receiving an actual sample is the only
sure way to appreciate the color.
If you like cotton as a fiber content but also want very good durability, combined with stain-repellancy treatment, at duralee.com there is an excellent collection of heavy-duty cotton solids available in 68 (!) different colors, passing 50,000 double rubs on the abrasion-resistance test, at the very moderate price level of +4-1/2, doing a "search by pattern number" on duralee.com for 31908. Other cotton solids in 47 colors: Go to charlottefabrics.com, click on "gallery by type" and select denims.
If you have questions and don't want to keep going through this website to seek the answers, please call 1-800-659-0436, leaving a message and a number to call back if we aren't there at the time. To send e-mail, click here.
Samples: If you can narrow it down to five from each supplier (except Kravet and Robert Allen, which are willing to send up to 12), and no more than a total of fourteen, and then let us know which ones, we can have samples sent to you at no charge, as long as you return them. See the paragraph headed "Requesting samples", below, for details.
There are many other fabrics available, in a wide range of colors and patterns, not pictured here or on the web sites mentioned above. If you can describe specifically what kind of fabric you're looking for, we can send you samples from among our books in our showroom (see "Requesting Samples" below.) Also, see the section below about "Finding fabric at a local store."
Faux suedes and micro-fibers: These fabrics, from our experience with them, will almost always be very practical, but you should be cautious about faux suedes. The fibers are normally merely glued to the fabric backing; and if the adhesion is imperfect, patches of the fibers might come out with use. This is especially likely to happen if there is a thick, luxurious layer of fibers on the surface, so you should avoid fabrics with a plush pile when you can tell that the fibers are not woven into the backing. You can also try gripping fibers between your fiingernails and pulling them out; if you can do that, avoid that fabric. Charlotte Fabrics and Duralee (both mentioned above) are good sources for heavy-duty micro-fiber faux suedes at very moderate prices. For a good selection of micro-fiber fabrics including many with prominent textures and with fibers woven all the way through (not merely glued on), see the 05W06 Woven Essentials book mentioned in the paragraph about the Barrow Industries web site, higher up on this page.
Crypton fabrics: If you want maximum stain and liquid resistance (actually repellancy, in general) but want a woven rather than vinyl fabric, and if you want an excellent selection of decorative patterns combined with outstanding practicality, consider the Crypton fabrics, available from Charlotte, Burch, Kravet, Duralee, and probably other suppliers. They are often above-average in price but might be well worth it for certain applications. They generally pass at least 50,000 double-rubs on the industry abrasion-resistance test. You should be aware of some particular characteristics of these fabrics, which are connected with their excellent liquid and stain repellancy: Air is very slow to pass in and out of cushions covered with this fabric, so they may feel too firm at first sitting, until the air seeps out; and after someone gets up from the seat, they may look rumpled at first, and maybe for much longer. (This problem can be reduced by opening your zippers a few inches.)
Stain resistance and stain
Crypton's disadvantages (expense and slow air passage) and
Scotchgarding, Teflon, and similar stain-repellancy treatments: Customers considering such treatments should be aware that research has found that the principal chemical that has long been used in such treatments has shown up in the blood streams of a very high percentage of the U.S. population, and there seems to be good reason for concern about long-term unfavorable health effects of this. 3M Corporation has phased out the previous formulation of its product, Scotchgard, because of such concerns, and the safety of the new formulation (using a related chemical) is unknown to us. You are encouraged to do your own research on this subject (such as by doing a search under "Scotchgard" on Google or Yahoo).
Note: The above caution apparently does not apply to the line of "Crypton" fabrics. The manufacturer claims that the repellancy in those fabrics is integral to the the fibers rather than an added-on treatment; and they claim some recognition for making a product that is environmentally responsible. You may wish to read more at cryptonfabric.com .
Probably because of health concerns about stain-repellancy treatments, combined with the wide availability of excellent fabrics with fiber contents that are inherently cleanable, most fabrics these days are not available with such treatments. But Charlotte and Duralee offer many fabrics that are treated, and apparently most of Duralee's other fabrics can be treated on request for a moderate charge. And you can still buy cans of Scotchgard or non-branded equivalents at home-goods stores and spray it on yourself, but we no longer offer to specially provide such treatments.
If cleanability of a fabric is important to you, and if you don't want to take a chance on chemical treatments, it's best to be aware that some fiber contents are inherently rather cleanable: olefin and nylon especially, but polyester and the other synthetics are also good (less so for rayon, or Viscose). Cotton is not good with many kinds of stains. Also, darker fabrics and ones with some patterns will show dirt and stains much less than light or solid fabrics. And furniture (such as ours) that can be re-covered relatively easily and inexpensively is especially practical.
Leather and faux leathers: Leather is an option with our furniture only in limited circumstances, and those circumstances are spelled out in the next paragraph after this one. From our experience and other sources, we have learned that real leather is subject to cracking, fading, bagging, or pigmented finish coat peeling off. It might not happen, but there is a good chance that one or more of the above will occur. We offer a warranty that obligates us to take care of most problems that a customer might have over a very long period, and honoring such a warranty is no problem so long as we avoid selling materials that are known to be problematic. Therefore we don't sell leather-covered furniture together with our normal warranty. We do offer excellent leather-imitation fabrics, which could hold up better than leather and are much less expensive. Some customers have been amazed at how genuine some of the faux leathers look these days. As with all fabrics, samples are available on request. Many vinyl fabrics are subject to cracking with heavy use, but certain vinyls (especially virgin vinyls) and urethanes don't appear to be subject to cracking, judging by our testing. To see a good selection of such faux leathers, with a soft, supple feel, and which pass 100,000 or more double rubs on the Wyzenbeek (abrasion) test, available at very moderate prices, go to www.douglassfabric.com and click on "Pattern Search" at the top of the page and look for for Hyde (+3 price level), Whisper (+3 1/2), Legacy (+ 4 1/2) patterns; unfortunately, colors (especially darker colors) on their website do not show up well on some PC's, but using your mouse to run your pointer over the color squares will cause helpful descriptive terms to show up (ruby red, sapphire, etc.).
If you provide leather hides, so that we aren't responsible if there are problems with the leather, we are fully capable of cutting and sewing covers in leather and are happy to do so; our present equipment has done quite well with several orders in leather. Or we can provide the leather if you sign a statement that you won't consider us to be responsible if you have problems with the leather (that is, problems resulting from something other than improper workmanship on our part). Be aware that, since we would be buying the leather in very small quantities, and accompanying it with very well-constructed, highly-customized frames and cushioning, our costs (and prices) would usually be higher than prices from manufacturers who make leather furniture for the mass market.
If you're considering leather or faux leather versus normal fabric covers, consider the matter of feel, the fact that air doesn't flow through them like it does through most fabrics, often causing them to feel sticky against your skin, especially during the summer. Related to that is the fact that, when a cushion is completely covered in leather or faux leather (and a few other fabrics), air will be slow to pass in and out, causing the cushion to feel very firm when first sitting down on it; the cushion will also be slow to regain its shape after the sitter gets up.
If you're considering other furniture covered in leather, you should look carefully for a warranty that states specifically what they will do, and within what period, if the covers start having problems such as those mentioned above. We suspect that you won't find anything beyond the usual: You return it to the factory (not the store) at your expense, and then it typically goes on, "if manufacturer's inspection determines that the problem is due to a defect in materials or workmanship", they will do something about it. But almost any problem could be determined to be a result of normal wear and tear, which won't be covered. If they are willing to do something, the warranty probably doesn't obligate them to do anything more than provide replacement leather for the defective section, with no guarantee that it will match well what's on the rest of the piece of furniture; professional application of the leather probably won't be covered. Ethan Allen's warranty states, "Our leathers are warranted to be free from .splitting for one year." So you could be paying a good price for leather furniture, and if the leather splits after a year, it's up to you to deal with the problem.
Matching of patterns: You can be assured of excellent matching of patterns vertically (such as stripes going front-to-back on the seat, which would be matched with the corresponding vertical stripes on the back cushions). Likewise with matching of stripes horizontally on cushions and on outsides of arms. But, because of the way we sew the covers for the arms of our Virginia and Custom 05 models as well as of earlier models with covered arms, horizontal matching at the inside seams at both ends of the arms of these models is something that we cannot guarantee. Therefore we discourage ordering of plaids or other fabrics requiring horizontal matching on our Virginia and fully-upholstered (including Custom 05) models.
Considerations in choosing a fabric: If practicality concerns you, look for ones with major synthetic fiber content, especially nylon or olefin, but also polyester, and also look for tight weaves. Often there is information available about abrasion-resistance tests that certain fabrics have passed (sometimes quoting the number of double-rubs that a fabric passed on the Wyzenbeek test, with 15,000 qualifying as heavy-duty). All-cotton or mostly cotton can also be sturdy if tightly woven and of reasonably heavy weight; lack of stain resistance with cotton is a problem, although stain-repellancy treatments can help a great deal (it sometimes comes already treated, or you can spray it on, but see the note below about health concerns with such treatments). Darker colors and some patterns can help make stains and soil less noticeable, also. Sunlight exposure: If the furniture is expected to be exposed to a lot of direct sunlight, without protection in the form of UV block film or pulled drapes, avoid cottons (which can actually disintegrate in less than two years) and also avoid dark colors, especially reds and blues.
Bear in mind that the price of the fabric ( as well as the "grade" sometimes indicated by suppliers) tells you essentially nothing about the durability or practicality of a fabric. Often the most expensive fabrics are rather delicate. A few of our most durable fabrics are available at low prices, since we bought them in bulk quantities or (in some cases) as closeouts. Going up to the +5 or +5 1/2 level gets to the prices of our most durable fabrics in a very wide range of colors, but mainly in solids and tweeds. Going a step or two higher provides softer feel and more decorative appeal, especially if you're looking for patterned fabrics. Going higher in price from there adds only aesthetic appeal, and more often than not leads to fabrics with less durability and cleanability. The only exceptions we know of to this generalizaton are some of the "Crypton" fabrics, referred to above.
For samples of fabrics pictured, please indicate the number that is usually found below the image, as well as any other information available about vendor, pattern, and color. Please request no more than ten or twelve samples at one time; we can send more later if none of the first batch look right. Please also indicate any price range that you intend to stay within, since in many or most cases prices per yard are not indicated, and some are very expensive, especially some from Kravet, Robert Allen, and Duralee, as well as most Crypton fabrics.
To request samples of other
fabrics that you think you might want but can't see anywhere, please
a) describe what you're looking for in terms of pattern, if any (stripes, miniatures, Southwestern, contemporary, abstract, floral, muted -- such as herringbone, etc.?), and color or colors (and please indicate what SHADE of green or whatever),
b) indicate whether it needs to be heavy-duty (wear-resistance) or especially stain-resistant or practical, keeping in mind that only a minority of fabrics are considered to be washable (cleaning with upholstery shampoo is the normal recommended method),
c) indicate whether smoothness/softness to the touch or any particular texture or specific fiber content is important to you,
d) indicate any resistances desired: liquids? cats' claws? dogs? direct sunlight?
e) indicate what kind of room you have in mind placing the furniture in, and what color(s) would be conspicuous in the area.
f) Please also indicate any price range that you intend to stay within.
We'll send samples in an assortment some or most of which we feel address your needs, but we often include 2-3 fabrics that meet your needs less well but which are less expensive, since that sometimes becomes more important when people add up the figures.
Call 1-800-659-0436 (leave a message on our answering machine if after business hours) or consider e-mail, which is usually fine but we've known cases of email not reaching the addressee, so check with us again if you haven't heard from us within two business days; to send e-mail, click here. (If your browser doesn't successfully process this link for e-mail to us, our e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org .) Then we send swatches for you to look at, which can be regarded as a first round. We are happy to send another batch or two or three, if we can find any others that fit your description, especially if you can refine your description with reference to the first batch.
Finding fabric at a local store: You can sometimes find very good prices at local stores, since the stores often buy fabrics as overstocks or closeouts and sell them at prices lower than our cost for a similar fabric. (We normally buy from distributors who charge a substantial markup for their services of providing us with many swatchbooks and samples free of charge, and for keeping a huge inventory so that we can order just a few yards at a time.) But the good prices that you can often find at fabric stores would normally be for only a relatively small selection of fabrics.
Most fabrics at local stores are of the decorative type, not the most heavy-duty or practical kinds, but they also often have practical ones; call ahead; the best way to tell is if they have Wyzenbeek test results, in which passing 15,000 double-rubs qualifies as heavy duty, but many fabrics pass 50,000, or 100,000 or more. The price of a furniture order will be reduced if you provide the fabric (but not if there are complications of matching required or if the fabric is difficult to work with, which we can't tell until we try cutting it). However the reduction is only $40 for a three-seat exposed-wood sofa or $30 for a loveseat ($70 or $55 for a fully-upholstered sofa or loveseat); the reduction is low partly because our fabrics that are included in the base prices are rather low-priced (they are good quality but priced as close-outs), and partly because we have to allow for the extra time that we often have to spend with fabrics that we aren't familiar with.
Also, if you give us the name of the supplier, the pattern name and the color, we can often order it and sell it for substantially less than what the store would charge (and if for any reason we need to order more fabric, we can have better assurance of a perfect dye lot match if we placed the original order). Before you buy, get a quote from us as to how many yards you will need, which we can calculate after considering the specifics of your proposed order; if you are considering a fabric with an obvious direction to it (vertical vs. horizontal ribbing or stripes, etc., if the direction matters to you) or with a pattern that you would want to have matched between seat and back cushions, let us know, since that will affect the yardage calculation.
Sending fabric to us: If possible, please send it in the form of a roll (wrapped around a cardboard tube) rather than folded in a box, since that avoids wrinkles and makes it easier for us to work with. UPS sells bags 9 1/2" x 38" at $2-$3 each, and you can use two of those or any other suitable wrapping material.
Things to check for: (1) Make sure the fabric is sufficiently sturdy for upholstery use, and not too stretchy; grip the fabric with your hands shoulder width apart, try to stretch it, and see if you're able to stretch it more than 1/2". If so, it's too stretchy to look good on our furniture. (2) Avoid fabrics that are not at least 54" wide. If they aren't at least that wide, they are probably not intended for (or suited for the stresses of) upholstery use. (3) Patterns (that is, if matching will be required, or if there is a direction that matters to you) will add to the yardage needed and also to labor costs
Calculating yardage that would be needed if you provide your own fabric: Once you've told us the size, model and options you're planning on, we will quote you the basic yardage that would be needed. That yardage will be sufficient in most cases; but if there is a pattern that you want matched, additional yardage will be needed. Also, if there is something in the pattern with a direction that matters to you, such as stripes or right-side-up flowers, additional yardage will very likely be needed, which could be very substantial. For calculating the additional amount needed, see the information you'll find by clicking here.
Our customers seem to have had especially good luck finding the right fabric at Calico Corners stores, which is a major chain. Are you in the New York City area? One of our customers highly recommends Zarin Fabrics, at 318 Grand St., NYC (212)925-6112.
Matching of patterns needed? Note: At present we don't do replacement covers in which matching of patterns is required, because doing the calculations for yardage requirements according to the nature of the patterns, plus the special cutting, takes more time than we can devote to it, for replacement covers at the prices we charge for those covers.
If you have questions and don't want to keep going through this website to seek the answers, please call 1-800-659-0436, leaving a message and a number to call back if we aren't there at the time. To send e-mail, click here.
Cleanability of fabrics: The generally-recommended method is to use upholstery shampoo applied to the fabric while the covers are still on the cushions, or to have cleaning done by a professional service. Washing or dry cleaning the covers is recommended only with certain fabrics. Even dry cleaning can cause shrinkage in most fabrics. We do have available over 200 solid-colored and tweed fabrics that are both washable and dry cleanable as well as beautiful, heavy duty and easy to clean; they are not pictured on websites, but we can send samples of particular colors on request. If you want washable or dry cleanable fabrics, be sure to indicate that specifically when requesting samples, since most customers are not interested in those features. (It is easier to clean the covers while still on the cushions, and the results are satisfactory for most customers.) You should be aware that we intentionally make the covers a tight fit on the filling for best wrinkle-resistance, and (even though the covers are zippered on all but the FineFit model) removing and replacing the covers is not easy or a quick task, especially if you order firmer cushion filling (but see below about slipcovers). Also, for some people, the dexterity of their fingers is not up to getting the filling neatly back out into the corners of the cushions. In addition, damage to the zippers can result if this is done without proper careful procedure to avoid stress on the zipper. (Our instructions on how to replace covers safely and well can be seen if you click here.)
The recommendation from the fabric suppliers is to have cleaning done by a professional cleaning service, but we have been telling customers for over 35 years that it's OK to do shampooing yourself, and nobody has told us they disagreed with that recommendation; just be careful, when cleaning only local spots, to "feather" the liquid outward thoroughly all around the dampened area, so as not to leave a ring; also, place a folded paper towel below stains being cleaned, to absorb settling stain.
If you intend to remove
the covers for cleaning, note the following:
(a) That cleaning method is not recommended with most fabrics, and even if it is OK for a particular fabric, it will be much more work than using upholstery shampoo while the covers are still on the cushions, and it also risks damage to the zippers (see the first paragraph of this section);
(b) if this is what you intend to do, you may want to consider making it easier for yourself and with less risk to the zippers by asking us to oversize the covers a little. But be aware that this will make the cushions much more likely to look wrinkled in use, and they will not have as rounded a look as you see in most of our pictures (part of the rounding comes from being tightly covered). Oversizing the covers will reduce but not eliminate a problem described as follows: some careful work is required to properly remove and replace the covers, including some careful work in order to get them to look good (corners well filled out, edges aligned properly, etc.). (A typical teenager may or may not be somebody likely to do a good-looking job at this task.) Because of some extra work that we do in order to try to improve rounding in the absence of a tight fit, we charge $5 extra per cushion for this option.
Also, sometimes people order a set of slipcovers, just slightly loose, to go on top of a basic set of covers, for easy removal/washing/replacing. If you want to order extra covers with the intention of being able to easily apply them to the cushions, you should be aware that it will not be easy to apply the extra covers unless you (a) plan to put them on top of your primary covers, and/or (b) have us make the extra covers a little oversize. Either one of the above would make it somewhat easier to apply the extra covers, and both would make it still easier. Be aware that oversizing the covers will result in some detraction from appearance (see previous paragraph). Also, if you intend to apply the extra covers on top of other covers, be sure to consider whether a dark color or a pattern on the primary covers might look unattractive through a light-colored cover on top.
Dog owners: We have done some informal testing of some heavy-duty fabrics by making up small cushions and giving them to an employee's two dogs (a very active 9-month-old pug that loves to chew and an 11-year-old Alaskan shepherd) to do with as they pleased over a two week period. A cushion made in a certain Charlotte fabric has had "the (*%^#) chewed out of it" during that time without any visible damage, causing obvious frustration to the pug. That fabric was Charlotte's #6732, but it's from a book of Crypton (R) fabrics with the numbers 6700 through 6770, all of which seem to have the same kind of dense, very-low-textured weave, and all of them are of 57% or 59% polyester and 41% or 43% olefin. So dog owners may want to do a search on Charlotte's site for Type: Crypton, and all of the fabrics shown on the page that comes up should be of the same outstandingly chew-resistant kind. Those fabrics are well above average in price (adding $298 to the price of a three-seat sofa), but they may be worth it. But also be aware of the pros and cons of Cryptons as explained above on this page. Also look carefully at the page you may have already seen if you followed the link for "heavy-duty fabrics" near the top of this page, also accessible by clicking here ; many of those are less than half as expensive as the Crypton fabrics, have done even better in abrasion-resistance tests, and don't have the problem of slow air passage; and they have done extremely well in our chew-resistance test. Also, several of our stock fabrics (some of the ones you get to by clicking on the first link in the paragraph titled "Our stock fabrics -- the most for your money" near the top of this page) are extra heavy duty and are available at fairly little or possibly even no fabric surcharge. You should consider the "Wizard" pattern by JF Fabrics if you want fabrics that, in addition to being extra-heavy-duty for abrasion resistance, very tear-resistant according to our tests, washable, and very nice looking in a good range of soft colors, are also very smooth and suedey; therefore dog hairs brush off easily, and one of our customers commented about how easily dirt tracked in by her dogs comes off this fabric. You can see two sofas made in one of those fabrics by going to www.comfy1.com/custom_sofa.htm and scrolling down to the picture of two fully-upholstered sofas with a dog on one of them. That pattern is at the +101/2 price level, adding $368 to the price of one of our exposed-wood three-seat sofas.
If you receive fabric samples from us without the normal accompanying sheet that includes additional information about the fabrics, you can read that information at www.comfy1.com/fabricquestions.htm .
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