Yarn for Upholstery

Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn


Hi Madelyn!

I want to make upholstery material for our breakfast bar stools.  We use the area a lot, so the material needs to be strong.  What yarns are suitable for upholstery?  Is there a structure you would suggest for my project?
––Ginny Stockton

Hi Ginny!

There is no single right answer for this, but you do want a fabric that is durable and not stretchy. I know that people recommend wool (or used to) for upholstery. If you use wool, you want at least a medium wool (not a fine wool such as Merino) that is plied and with a very tight twist. You don’t want it to pill or felt in response to the abrasion and agitation of people sitting on it. Wool can vary a lot, so it could be an unknown how a particular wool would behave over time.

Pearl cotton or linen would be good choices. If you want the fabric to be thickish, you could double 10/2 cotton to get added thickness. 16/2 linen would be good, too. I wouldn’t use 5/2 or 3/2 pearl cotton because they are relatively loosely spun.

For structures, I’d pick something close to plain weave or something very warp-faced or weft-faced without long floats. Shadow weave would be good since it has a pattern but is essentially plain weave in structure. Twill and satins would work but only if very firmly woven.

Let me know how it goes!


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