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Fabrics 101 Hangout: Textiles, Home Decor + More with Blinds.com

Fabrics 101 Hangout: Textiles, Home Decor + More with Blinds.com

Hi Guys! Welcome to Fabrics 101. We’re so glad that you’ve joined us today. I’m Abigail Sawyer from Blinds.com and with me is Karin Jeske. She’s our in house textile expert, with 20-plus years in the fabric
industry she has designed fabric patterns,
she’s created entire textile lines for several different companies And, I know you’ve always wondered who
does this, but she actually sits on a colors council
and is one of the people that helps decide what colors are in style for that season. So she definitely has a thumb on the fabrics and the textile industry. So, we’re about to get started but I
wanted to share a couple things that you first. If you would like
to see some of the fabrics that we talk about today you can go to the event page, and there’s a link where you can actually order a sample pack. It’s absolutely free, and you can see all of these things in person. One one of the most exciting things about our hangout today is that we’re sharing special
promo code at the end that gives twenty percent off all fabric window coverings. That includes draperies, roman shades, cellular shades It’s an amazing deal so be sure to stick around for that at the end. And we’ll be taking questions after we finish our presentation. So send those in. You should see the Q&A box and our friendly helper Katie will be responding to you there.But we’ll also
answer some on air. so, send us your questions, and see if we pick it! Alright, so Karin, let’s take it away. Thank you Abigail, and welcome to Fabrics 101. And what I’d like to share
with you today is information about fabrics, their components – which are the fibers and yarns. the fabric construction, which is how the fabric is made and the way to color and design is imparted into the fabric common fabric classifications and then
we’ll talk throughout the presentation about different end uses. We’ll be talking mainly about home furnishings fabrics, and a little bit skewed towards window treatments, because that’s what we know best and let’s get started with fiber. So fiber is what makes up the fabric. when you look at a tag on a piece of clothing and it says 50 percent cotton / 50 percent polyester. Those are the fibers. And we’re going to talk about each of the fibers individually that we use in home furnishings There are other fabric fiber classifications
that we’re not mentioning today but we’re focusing on the ones that we use the most, and sometimes they are blended together to get the best qualities of both in the fabric. So the first type of fiber classification we’re going to talk about is natural plant fibers. and the first one and the most common
one that we see in home furnishings and in apparel and other products is cotton. Cotton is derived from the cotton plant, and you see on the left a cotton boll, which is spelled B-O-L-L. It’s used in draperies, roman shades, roller shades and upholstery and the home. It’s very popular and has
many end uses. And this is an example behind
us and right here one of our best selling fabrics, called Donetta which is made out of 100 percent cotton.
It drapes beautifully. And it’s very stable and lightfast. And it’s a great product for the home. Great. So, when I think about cotton I think about clothing, it’s natural, it’s breathable. Does it have any of those qualities when we put it on our windows? Absolutely. It’s a very insulating fabric because it has a hollow core which traps air, which is
good for insulation and it also responds to water. So water and heat are what take the wrinkles out. So we can go ahead and use the steamer on the draperies? Absolutely. Next we’re going to talk about flax and linen and that comes from a plant that’s called the flax plant. The difference between flax and linen is linen has a little bit more processing. It’s used
for draperies, roman shades, upholstery. Lots of apparel. And one thing that
we say about flax and linen is that it’s guaranteed to wrinkle but in a good way. The wrinkles add to the
natural beauty. The subtle flaws are part of what makes this look like a natural product. And it’s part of what people love about it but when we sell it to our customers, we don’t want to make sure that we understand, that they understand that
this is the way that this product is. So, I see linen a lot with French country decorating lately. It has that little bit of a wrinkled, casual feel and, I’ve loved when I’ve seen it recently in slipcovers. I just has such a beautiful look. It is. It’s a great fabric for the home. And next we’re going to talk about jute and bamboo. And, we use bamboo in it’s natural form, basically a
slice of the stalk of the plant. in our woven wood shades. and this makes for a beautiful product. Bamboo has a couple of qualities that make it unique.
Number 1 – It’s the fastest growing plant on
the planet Earth and it’s also one of the strongest materials that occurs in nature, so it makes for
great, durable product and with just a beautiful, natural feel to it. I love woven wood shades because they let in a lot of light, you can see the holes in here, but you can also add a fabric lining if you want some more privacy, or if you want it to be blackout. Definitely. And then, jute is another natural fiber that we use. And this material material which we also have in our woven woods line, you can actually see knots in it. And, it also what makes for a beautiful, natural material in the window. Ok, next we’re going to talk about a different kind of natural fiber. And, that comes from animals. The most common that we know about is
wool. It comes from, is sheered from a sheep, or a similar animal. It’s then spun into yarns and made into upholstery, rugs, carpet and all sorts of different products. And silk is another common fabric
that we all love. It’s very lustrous. It’s not particularly lightfast. so we have to make sure that we line it. It’s a little bit more costly, But it’s a really amazing fabric because it’s actually made from a cocoon that the silk worm spins, and unravelling the cocoon, it’s thousands of feet long and it’s a continuous fiber and
it makes for a really beautiful fabric. But we have to remember, it is fragile. Ok, so this tiny fiber – I can’t even imagine how they weave it together. But it makes an incredible end result. So, is it better for more formal situations, where maybe you don’t have kids or don’t need something that’s super durable? It is something that is usually reserved
for special clothing or home furnishings, and its often imitated with other fibers that we’ll be talking about in a moment. Great, so it’ll really give your home that special feel. Yes. Next. We’re going to talk about man made fibers. So, man started making fibers in the 20th century. In the early 20th century. And, the most popular now is
polyester which is derived from petroleum, actually. And, it’s relatively inexpensive. It’s known for not wrinkling. It’s very durable, and it’s used in many of our blinds and shades. And draperies also. This is an example of a fabric that’s 100 percent polyester. You can see that it drapes nicely and it doesn’t wrinkle easily and it’s very versatile. And it can be made to look like silk, it can be made to look like wool, depending on how the material is developed. So, polyester is a really great way
to save money, if you want the look of a higher-end fabric but don’t want to pay quite as much. Definitely. And then we have, we also have vinyl. Which is a material that is used in our solar screens
and outdoor shades. And we really appreciate the fact that it’s very
stable fabric So, when I think vinyl, I think about the faux leather that’s on the back of a booth seat at restaurant. It it always a heavier weight fabric? It’s generally a heavier weight fabric. It’s often blended with other fibers like fiber glass or polyester and it’s also used in other products that we sell, like vertical blinds but in a fabric form. Great, so it’s durable enough to be used for an outdoor shade. Yep, it holds up very nicely. And the next category were
going to talk about is rayon and cellulose and this is made form wood pulp. similarly to the way that paper is made. And, this particular fabric we’re looking at is made out of cellulose, mainly. and the yarns going in the vertical direction are made out of polyester to give it stability. Great, this it totally new to me. When I think about man-made fabrics, I always think about something that seems like it’s plasticy feeling, but this is so natural. It really doesn’t seem like it’s man-made. Right, and rayon was actually called artificial silk when it was originally introduced. It is used in many of our fabrics, but usually blended with something that makes it a little bit more stable. Ok, next we’re going to talk about
fiberglass. And, that is derived from sand or silica It’s heated to a melting point and then made into a fiber. And where we use it in our line is in a vertical blind. It’s flame retardant, it’s very durable. It hangs very straight, so we can make a vane out of it that’s 120 inches long. and it won’t twist or cup. So it’s perfect for that application. So, it gives you that fabric look with a little bit more durability. ok, so now we’ve talked about our main fiber categories and now we’re going to talk about the next step which is, how do we get that fiber into a fabric? And most commonly it’s by making it into a yarn. So, most natural fibers are staple meaning that they’re fixed length. Usually 1-3 inches long. And, the exception to that is silk which
actually comes out as a filament, which is a continuous strand of a fiber. So, yarns are either staple or filament. and any synthetic or manmade
material can’t usually starts as a filament and can be cut And, it basically depends on if you’re imitating silk, you’re probably going to have filament your imitating cotton or wool you’re going
to cut it into a staple then it’s spun into yarn and then we make the fabric. Most fabrics have yarn, but the first one we’re going to talk about actually doesn’t. So, when we have a staple fiber, It’s going to give you that fuzzier, softer feel and maybe a filament yarn would be silky smooth. yes. so the first type of fabric we’re going to talk about is non-woven. And that’s actually where we’ll go directly from fiber to fabric. raw fibers are bonded with heat
entanglement or chemicals to form the fabric An example of that in our line is actually our best selling product which is honeycomb shades and this is a non woven fabric it’s a
very durable and stable and it can also be cut without fraying
which makes it perfect for this product so when we think about this, it’s kind of like when you look at felt that’s a larger version this where all the fibers are tangled together but it forms one
continuous thing. Yes, that’s exactly right. And, if you look at
the diagram on the right hand side of the presentation you can see what
look like under a microscope The next type of fabric is one is the one that most people are most familiar with and it’s most common and that is a woven fabric. and basically what you have are vertical
and horizontal yarns interlacing with each other and the diagram that we have is a plain weave which is the most common but we also can
make very intricate patterns by changing how to horizontal
and vertical yards which we call the warp and the weft interlaced each other and then next we’re going to talk about
knitted fabrics their yarns create interlocking loops to form the fabric if you looked at our horizontal sheer very closely, it would look like what you see on the diagram if you look at it under a microscope but this is actually a knitted fabric and And, it creates a sheer in some areas and an opaque fabric in other areas. so, knitting is very versatile. I love this product. It’s so
different from anything you would see anywhere else You have the sheer here and then the darker slats And so it gives you a blind, the look of blinds and you can tilt it to adjust your light but you can roll it all up because it’s one piece of fabric. yes, it’s very thin, and it’s very stable as well ok, now moving on to design and color application the most common type of fabric you see is a
solid color and we call that a piece dyed fabric. and the
reason is because the whole piece of material is dyed after the fabric is produced. This is one example of a velvet fabric that we have in our drapery line. and it it piece dyed you can tell that it’s piece dyed because because it’s the same color on the front and the back This technique is used even in multi colored fabrics where they’ve actually used different fibers in different areas of the fabric, that take the dye differently. So, it is possible to have a two color fabric that is piece dyed. That’s very interesting. I guess you can kind of see that on the slide with the green fabric there some of the fibers take it a little bit darker. Ok, next we’re going to talk about yarn dyeing. And that is where the yarns are dyed before the fabric is created. and this makes a slightly more expensive fabric an example of this is a striped fabric that we have in our drapery line. that actually looks
same on the front and the back and so this technique, yarn dyeing, is used
for most commonly in stripes, also in plaids and then in some were intricate
patterns like the one you see in the lower right hand corner of the slide. So, all of these new vocabulary words are totally converting me into a fabrics nerd. But I can see myself now going into the fabric store and looking at a stripe and if I turn it over, I can see, was it
just printed on the front, the color or, is it actually woven in to give you a more in-depth design. More of a permanent fabric. Ok, and then often the design and color is woven in. And, this is often done with a yarn dye. We have two types of looms that create
intricate patterns in fabric. The first is called a dobby loom. And those will make simple patterns such as the herringbone that you see in the slide, or this this step fabric that we have our roller shade line. so it’s a fairly simple weave but it adds a lot of texture to the material The next is jacquard, and the jacquard loom
is said to have been the first computer. basically the loom controls every interlacing where the warp and weft cross and it tells it whether to raise the warp to the top, or the weft to the top. And that’s what creates the pattern. So, in this beautiful leaf pattern, someone programmed the computer to weave the product this way. And, it creates the whole pattern, in this fabric is created from the weave. So, before the computerize design someone was painstakingly making sure that each fiber goes exactly where it needs to go. Yes, actually what happened was they
punched cards. And, actually the computers that they
had in the 1960s still had punch cards that controlled them. So, with a jacquard, one of the interesting things is that on the back you see the reverse of the design. This is another thing at the fabric store if you want to take a look and see what it really is. And this makes a very high quality fabric. Ok, next we’re going to talk about
design and color that is printed on on the surface of the fabric. And this gives us a lot of
versatility It gives us more versatility than any other type
color application method. Especially now that we have digital
printing where we can print unlimited colors on the surface of the fabric. And, the lower left hand image, which is the linen stripe is actually a
print-on-demand product that we don’t even print it until you
order it. And, we print the exact size that you order for your roller shade and create the product from that another example of a printed fabric is a traditional drapery fabric. with a leafy pattern on it. that is very popular in our drapery line And, so if you look at the back of this, you can see that it’s not printed on the back. You can see it through
a little bit but it’s not a full reverse like we see on the jacquard Yeah, you can tell, it’s definitely on the surface. Ok, now let’s talk about some common
fabric classifications. Starting with the
most basic Plain, duck, broadcloth or canvas. refers to a very plain fabric that is very versatile it’s usually piece dyed It’s plain or basket weave and it’s usually one of our less expensive fabrics and
people use in all the time because it blends in with the surroundings. Yeah and you may see
this in tote bags or, a lot in upholstery. It is incredibly
durable and actually was used for sailboat sails because it held up to the elements so well So, if you need something that is not going to get messed up by kids or pets, then canvas is a great bet for you. Ok, and then the next is Twill. and that’s made with a weave it’s a basic weave that forms a diagonal
pattern. You may be most familiar with it from denim, which is usually a twill weave. You will always see a diagonal when you have a twill weave. And then herringbone is a variation in a twill Where we’ve actually, we’re reversed the weave back and forth This is an
example of a herringbone fabric that we have in our line that is made on a dobby loom and, this is also a yarn dye. And, it makes for a beautiful, simple
fabric Yeah, we’ve seen this everywhere now with the chevron variation this pattern is huge. But we love the smaller a little bit more
detailed version Ok, satin, sateen, antique satin This is a compact weave with fewer interlacings between the warp and the weft meaning that we can create a very heavy fabric and it also creates a very lustrous surface. And, you can look at this material that we make draperies out of and see that it has a lot shine to it. this was originally, usually, made out of silk. but now it’s made out of all sorts of different
types of fibers including cotton and polyester. So, this lustrous fabric is beautiful for bedding, for throw pillows it just gives a pop and makes the color look so much mire vibrant. Next is shantung. That’s a woven fabric with a strong horizontal slub. Originally it was made
from silk which, actually, naturally occurring, has slubs in it. And, now we can make it out of almost any fiber. Is this what you would call, maybe, raw silk? it that where it has the imperfections in it? Great, that’s beautiful. Next is velvet, velveteen and corduroy. These are woven or knitted and have a cut pile surface. Chenille is another type of material that has a similar look, but the surface texture is created
in the yarn before the fabric is woven. But, all of these fabrics have a lot of loft, and they are great insulators. When I think about velvet, I think about winter and girl’s
holiday dresses and all these things So, it actually does good thing for your home in the winter as well? Definitely, if you want a very insulating drapery or roman shade I would choose velvet. So, if you’re stuck in an apartment that has terrible drafty windows, just throw some velvet drapes up there. and that will take care of you. Next, is the most popular type of botanical print right now, which is called a jacobean botanical It’s a floral pattern that was inspired by English gardens. And we have lots of
them to choose from in the line. They come in a lot of different colors. And, are usually printed, but sometimes they’re also jacquards. Another very popular trend right now, is the trellis or tile pattern. It’s a basic design and it can be embroidered, printed, it can be woven into the fabric. this is another example right here
behind us of that type of design. So, sometimes this design is
inspired by moroccan tiles you’ll see this shape in the
windows of churches from the gothic era. So, it’s been around forever, But this has really taken off now and this fabric behind us is in the black color, but, we also have it in a beautiful
gold. And as you’ll see on the roman shades, whenever you use a printed fabric if you do seams in the middle, it can cut the fabric in half so, that’s just something to think about when you’re choosing a print for shades. You can choose a flat design, and that will give your fabric a continuous
look as the pattern goes down. Next we have acanthus, brocade or damask. This is a classic leaf inspired pattern. It can be a jacquard or printed design. In this case, this is actually embroidered on the surface. So, we have some products where The design is embellished after the fabric is created. So, we can start with anything we want and add the design on top. Next is a ticking stripe. And that is a very simple, usually a two color small scale stripe A counterpart to that is the awning stripe. Which is becoming more and more popular in our line right now. And this specifically is a large scale stripe that imitates what has always been popular in awnings. Yeah, and these are beautiful for draperies stripes going all the way down kind of gives you a color-blocked look that’s really stylish. You can even do it in the horizontal, and then get the stripes down your windows. And last we’re going to talk about ikat. It’s a currently popular technique that imitates an old craft, where they actually painted the designs on the warp of the fabric before it was woven. So, while it was on the loom they painted the design. And then they put the weft yarns in. And that’s what causes the jagged pattern. So now, we’re imitating that with prints. And this one is pretty special. It’s a jacquard fabric, with a gold warp. So the gold yarns are going in the vertical direction and the horizontal direction we bury the
yarns so that we get color that forms a horizontal
stripe, and because it’s a jacquard, that’s what makes the pattern. So, someone who designed this really
had to think through all that different her components of
this material to make it what it is. And when you look at the back of it,
can still see the pattern on the back. And that’s how you know that it’s a yarn dyed woven. Beautiful. We’re seeing this everywhere in the fashion world, and it’s just as beautiful for your windows as well. So, now that we have all this new information, let’s start decorating! Your windows, your home, if you’re ready to do some upholstery. So, we’ll give you some things to think about, If you’re choosing fabric for window coverings. So as we talked about, some weaves are more open, and they actually allow more light
through So, when you’re choosing a fabric, think about if you want a sheer, or if you want something completely blackout Maybe for a bedroom that you want to darken when you close those drapes, or lower that roman shade. As we talked about, many fabrics offer lots of insulation, like the velvet, or even heavier weight fabrics like a canvas, will really keep you cooler in
summer and warmer in the winter, make your house a lot more efficient. And because there are so many beautiful color choices, think about what colors you’re decorating with. you can tie those in with pillows, with upholstery, with rugs, with all kinds of different things. And, because we have a beautiful patterns, think about whether you want your windows to be a focal point in the room, something that the eye goes to or maybe a neutral solid. Something that’s a backdrop to your decor. One of the best ways to see these fabrics in person as we mentioned before, you can order the free sample pack that matches up with this presentation.

actions that
this presentation you can also go to Blinds.com and order any fabric and have it sent to your home absolutely free. So, when people order their samples, how do you decide what’s right for
your home? So we had a friend named Hollie who was decorating. You’ll see some of her photos here. She got 5 or 6 different colors couldn’t decode what to do for her beautiful bay window, for draperies And so she pasted them up for 24 hours, looked at them as she walked by, compared them
to the hardwood floors, to her molding, and the wall color. And, that really helped her narrow it down. But, if you still can’t decide, Hollie had another great idea, She put the samples up on facebook and let let her friends weigh in and vote on what would be best for her home. Which is so fun, because it’s always good to get some more input. But in the end, she actually just couldn’t narrow it down, there were too many beautiful fabrics, so she turned one of them into pillows. So, if you see something that you love in our drapery line, we can absolutely do that for you. We can send you the fabric, or, we can make the pillows and have them shipped right to your home. So, now it is time for questions. So, we’ll look to our team here who is taking them for you. So, we got lots of amazing questions, Big thanks to everyone who submitted. I think we have time for 3 questions. The first one is from Leanne Heilman. Thanks so much for writing in. She wants to know: “Is there any secret
you can share for going bold. Using bold colors on window coverings.” Sure, so when thinking about your room and as Abigail mentioned, you might want it to be a focal point, We have lots of choices
particularly in our roman shade line you might want to take a look, we’ve arranged all of our fabrics by color, and in color families, so you might think about a bold color on your drapery, and a more neutral color on your blinds. That is what a lot of people do, because the blinds usually stay with the home, when you move you usually take the draperies with you. And, people do often want to see a neutral color on the window, with a new home. But, you can add a lot of fashion with the draperies. And, that’s what we often recommend to our customers, but it’s a matter of personal choice. Great, so we have another great question from Elizabeth Hobart. She’d like to know, what fabric would be recommended for a
family with kids or pets. Basically, what is the most durable and
resistant tearing and stains Probably a high polyester content is
good for that. Its often washable, but do check with the fabric care instructions because that does vary. And, if you add a lining to it, or anything like that that might change
whether or not you can just throw it in the washing machine But, polyester is a very stain resistant
fiber and often it’s blended with cotton so you get the best of both. You get a more natural look, but you get
the stain resistance, the wrinkle resistance and the kid impact resistance. Yeah, even if your cat is hiding behind the draperies, your kids are
playing hide-and-seek, all around, they’re not going to wrinkle. Great, we have another great question from Mary Hargrave. She’d like to know, what fabric provides
the best insulation for draperies. So the best insulation. Insulation for draperies. Well, one thing you can do with draperies is add layers of liner. Most of our draperies come with an insulating liner option that you can add. In addition to that, you can even add a blackout liner which adds more insulation. So, if you’re adding a liner to your drapery, you don’t have to worry so much about what the face fabric is. You can pick whatever you want and then add the liner that you want. But if you’re going with the fabric by itself, we recommend something has a pile like a velvet. Or, a thicker fabric, a loftier fabric, is going to provide more insulation. a denser weave also is important. And, when you order the
drapery make sure you order it to a size where you can actually pull it closed over the window. As opposed to decorative side panels So let’s let’s take one more. You want to go crazy? Yeah, let’s do one more. This is from our friend Dusty Bastian. She’d like to know: They’re
building a new home and they’re starting completely fresh
with window coverings Where do they start? How should they pic
out the correct fabrics and textures for each
different room Any suggestions? Well, I would look through home design magazines. We like to look at Houzz and Pinterest to get inspiration. And start thinking about the look that
you want to achieve. Think about the furnishings in the room and how you want the window covering to coordinate with that As Abigail mentioned, all of the products on our website come with free samples. so we definitely recommend that you order as many samples as you need to feel
comfortable with that decision. We also have 100 reps in our call center who can help you, including reps that will video chat with you, and actually look at
photographs your home and help advise you if
you’re not confident but I think when you don’t start
scrolling through our website and looking at all the fabrics that are
available you’ll probably feel like you have too many choices and too many things that you love. Luckily, it sounds like you have a new home with lots of rooms to decorate So that’s a great
question. Do you have anything to add to that? One easy way to get
started you know I we have two general
categories: blinds and shades So, blinds are wonderful because you can
adjust the slats and let in as much light as you want But shades, if privacy is important to you, they can be lowered all the time and light can still come it but you keep
that privacy. So that might be one thing to think about as you’re narrowing it down. Great. So, thank you for your wonderful
questions. If you loved this presentation we have incredible infographic that puts
together a lot of this information and even has more recommendations about
how to use certain patterns their history, where they came from. Did you know that velvet was popular in the 90s because Princess Diana wore it to a ball? Who knew these things? Maybe you did if you’re a little bit older than me. So, as promised, we have a special promo code just for you guys. So it’s IHeartFabrics14 This is only good until Tuesday But it gives you 20% off of any draperies, roman shades, cellular shades, pleated shades, anything fabric on Blinds.com. so again, that’s IHeartFabrics14 So, give that a try. This recording will be on YouTube, we’re adding
the slides to SlideShare But, if you have any questions anything that
we didn’t answer please leave it on the event page
or tweet us @BlindsDotCom we’ll be there to
answer your questions So, thank you for tuning in and have a good one!

2 comments found

  1. An excellent presentation by Abigail and Karin! What a detailed introduction to the variety of choices for window coverings! I recommend this to anyone contemplating the purchase of new window coverings.

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