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Information on fabrics


How to choose a fabric when decorating your house but also matching an expected usage? According to its use, some informations are most welcome and you need to value them.

It is also important to keep in mind some basic recommendations: lined drapereies will last longer beeing protected from the sun, but all fabrics wear out and none are indestructible. Some choice are also to be made: a washable or stain repellent fabric?

Wear resistance

Wear resistance or Martindale test : a heavy fabric doesn’t always mean a strong fabric; an evaluation test according to quality standards “Martindale tours” clarify this matter and gives an evaluation of the end point for flat weaves (3 broken threads) and pile fabrics (hairlyness).


According to the results, the fabric can be considered as for:

  • decarative use < 6.000 tours Martindale
  • light domestic use >6000 <10.000
  • normal domestic use >10.000 <15.000
  • intensif domestic use >15000 <20.000
  • intensif domestic use and offices >20.000


Pilling test : an evaluation scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) is considered where a minimum 3-4 is expected.

Light fastness

On standard blue wool scale from 1 (min) to 8 (max) after exposure to light, fabrics can be considered for light fastness as being:

  • sufficient minimum 4
  • good minimum 5
  • very good minimum 6

Colors as Rated using the Blue Wool Sample Rating at right

Blue Wool Samples with Lightfastness Rating (with 7+ being top rating,0 being worst rating)

Each color must be carefully selected for the degree of fastness wanted. Exposure to air and light will fade colors away: it is important to reduce exposure from the sun and moon rays. Lined draperies will resist better than unlined.

Batch and dye lots

Natural fibers being from different origins can have a different reaction when dyed and show a slight difference in color. This difference is not considered as abnormal, and therefore it is of great importance to request a piece cut if absolute conformity to the presented sample is needed

Dimensional stability

Few fabrics are completely stable and especially fabrics being from natural fibers. Fabrics breathe and absorb humidity. Fluctuation in stretching or shrinking may vary according to their composition, structure and the environment and treatment. It is impossible to be exact. The fluctuation usually mentioned are the following:

  • Synthetic fabrics : +/- 1% variationn
  • Coton : 1 to 4 %
  • Linen : 5 to 7 %
  • Viscose : 3 to 5 %
  • Silk : 1 to 3 %

Elke verandering in deze verhoudingen kan niet als abnormaal beschouwd worden.


A fabric can be considered as washable if after washing dimensional stability (or a small fluctuation) and color fastness can be expected.

Soil and stain repellent treatment

A chemical finish is applied on the surface of the fabric and create an invisible protection which prevents liquid or stain to penetrate the fiber which makes it much easier to remove the soil and stain.

Flame retardant fabrics

eti_non_feu.jpgA fabric is flame retardant treated if it does not produce flames while burning. Classification of fabrics according to standard must be supplied with a certificate. Each country has it own regulation and can vary from country to country. In the Benelux and France, the M1 certification is usually required for public areas.