Section 2: The Distinctive Touch

Finish it with Fabric

Success Indicator: You will be able to use fabrics to change the appearance of a room.
Life Skills Practiced: Problem-solving and marketable skills.
Project Skills Practiced: Fabric and and pattern coordination as well as fabric selection.

Helper's Guide to Section 2: The Distinctive Touch

Characteristics of Fabric Fibers

FiberCharacteristics*Care* (See label)Durability*Resist Sun Damage*


Easy to dye, drapes well, retains shape

Washable at low temp.

Very strong, durable, resists abrasion

Fair but can be modified


Easy care, resist moisture
Stained easily by grease and oil

Do not dry clean

Very strong, durable, resist abrasion

Fair - can add stabilizers


Retains shape well, resists wrinkles


Strong, durable, resist abrasion

Good to excellent


Soft like wool, colorfast

Some washable or dry clean<

May form "pills,"



Soft feel, silky look, drapes well. Poor wrinkle recovery. Weaker when wet.

Dry clean or some hand washable

Low or poor resistance to abrasion.

Weakened by long exposure unless modified for sunlight resistance


Similar to cotton, easy to dye, drapes well, wrinkles easily unless treated, may shrink

Dry clean or some hand washable

Not as durable or abrasion resistant.

Poor, not recommended for draperies


Absorbent, easy to dye, may wrinkle easily

Washable - may shrink unless treated

Good abrasion resistance

Good, may weaken after long exposure


Strong fiber but lightweight, dyes well, drapes well

Usually dry cleaned.

Not as durable or abrasion resistant.

Poor - yellows and degrades


Holds shape well, drapes well, resists wrinkles, may shrink & felt when wet and agitated

Dry clean unless special finish to wash.

Fair to good abrasion resistance

Fair - eventually loses strength

Download Printable Version of this table here (627KB PDF)

This knowledge of fabrics is helpful when picking out upholstered furniture. Watch Selecting Upholstered Furniture to find out more.

Activity 3: Go Surf!Youth dyeing fabric at the Celebration of Youth

Find Web sites to learn more about fabrics and fibers.

Caution with dyeing fabrics

Helper's Guide to Section 2: The Distinctive Touch