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Chenille Upholstery Fabric

The yarn for chenille is commonly manufactured from cotton, but can also be made using acrylic, rayon and olefin, wool, cotton and silk.  Chenille fabric is a bumpy type of soft fabric. It is a very good quality used for curtains, often, for upholstery.  In the sixties it was very popular in a lighter weight for bedspreads.

Chenille fabrics should be dry cleaned.

Manufacturing

Chenille yarn is soft, fuzzy yarns stand out around a velvety cord on this fabric. Chenille is French for 'caterpillar'.  The chenille yarn is manufactured by placing short lengths of yarn, called the "pile", between two "core yarns" and then twisting the yarn together.  The edges of these piles then stand at right angles from the yarn’s core, giving chenille both its softness and its characteristic look. Chenille will look different in one direction compared to another, as the fibres catch the light differently.

History

According to textile historians, chenille-type yarn was produced as far back as the eighteenth century. Back then the yarn was actually made by weaving a "leno" fabric and then cutting the fabric into strips to make the chenille yarn. In the 1930s, usage for the tufted fabric became widely desirable  but not extensively until commercial production in the 1970s. Standards of industrial production were not introduced until the 1990s.  From the 70s each machine head made two chenille yarns straight onto bobbins, a machine could have over 100 spindles (50 heads). Giesse was one of the first major machine manufacturers. Chenille fabrics are also often used in Letterman jackets, for the patches.

We sell both fire retardant fabrics and fabrics that are not fire retardant. Some fabrics, whilst being suitable for upholstery with regards to fabric weight, it may require treating to the relevant British Safety Standard if you are to use your chosen fabric to cover furniture or other items in the home. Alternatively you could use a flame retardant barrier cloth with your chosen fabric when doing upholstery.

We always recommend that you dry clean our chenille upholstery fabrics at a specialist dry cleaners.

All our chenille upholstery fabrics are available both online and in store from our fabric warehouse in Northamptonshire.