How to recognise high-quality fabrics
Most designers would claim that their fabrics are the best available, but what does that really mean? When even the most luxurious materials, can vary in quality, what makes a fabric truly outstanding?
Here are a few ways to spot a five-star fabric.
Is it natural?
Linens and cottons wear beautifully over time without pilling or snagging. To keep a room looking immaculate year after year, always choose natural fibres. The Vale London works with all-natural fabrics, such as embroidered linens, cotton jacquards, breathable linen, and textured grasscloth. This is because natural fibres are more breathable, softer, and warmer than their synthetic counterparts.
Linen and cotton are better for the environment than their man-made counterparts. Natural fibres are recyclable and sustainable and get softer with time. Although some, like acrylic-based fabric, work well for hotels, where bedding and upholstery gets an uncommon amount of wear, fabric for the home needs to be more forgiving on the skin. Natural fabrics work because they are timeless - in more ways than one. They are classic, comfortable and stylish; but they are durable and forgiving too.
When it comes to upholstery, it’s also worth mentioning that natural fabrics carry less risk for major interior design projects. Fabrics have to be specifically tested more stringently to comply with fire codes if they aren’t 100% natural, making them difficult for residential interior designers to work with. Therefore The Vale has chosen to use natural fabrics for ease of use.
Do the colours look fresh?
Fabric colours fade if the base-cloth they are printed on is of poor quality. When choosing a fabric, look carefully at the design. Are the tones consistent across the whole sample, or are there variations on the repeat? Look at any loose threads in the weave - are they dyed evenly?
If colours, particularly on a statement fabric, appear patchy or washed out then steer clear. This means that the dye has not penetrated the fibres correctly, indicating a lower quality fabric.
To guarantee strong colour depth for textiles, make sure that each piece chosen has even colouration on the whole swatch. The Vale base-cloths are specifically chosen to capture every drop of colour used. Standards are assured for our customers by sending swatches that are larger than typical samples. This allows clients to easily see the quality for themselves.
How does it feel?
Touch is an important sense when it comes to interior style. It is what transforms houses into homes and puts guests at ease. Nothing creates a truly intimate room like the feel of quality fabrics and furnishings.
Comfort is an essential part of style, and fabrics and wallpapers are an easy way to bring this into a space. Varied textures create depth and variety - adding points of interest, even if the colour scheme is subtle and neutral.
Even a heavier textile should feel soft on the skin, so be sure to run fabrics through the hands before making the final choice. Melinda Marquardt personally ensures that all The Vale’s fabrics are designed for tactile as well as visual enjoyment. Everything in her collections is thoughtfully created to the standards she holds for her own home - assuring quality for each piece.
Is the pattern sharp?
Quality is all in the details, so if a fabric does not stand up to close scrutiny, it’s likely that it won’t live up to other fine objects in the room. The pattern is a simple way to determine the standard of fabric craftsmanship, as the individual printing or weaving process from designer to designer is unknown. However, a crisp, clean print, accurate weave or deft embroidery is a true indicator of well-made cloth.
The real test comes when the pattern is heavy with individual motifs or small variations. As all of The Vale’s designs are hand-drawn or painted, the intricacy level is high. It is essential to capture every natural undulation of the brush or fine pen drawing to produce the standard necessary. If even a small portion of that detail was lost, the hand of the artist couldn’t be truly translated into the final textile. Therefore, carefully selecting techniques to achieve the clearest print and weave is key to the creation of all The Vale’s fabrics.
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