French furniture is known for being charming and elegant. The upholstery fabric used in it is intricate, easy to live with and it exudes comfort while simultaneously oozing in character and style. Shabby chic or vintage chic furniture creates a style that can work in nearly any room. It too creates a soft and laid back feel in the home.
These fabrics now have to be much safer for homes and regulations for this have been listed here > European Fire Standards
Both French furniture and shabby chic furniture are made with vintage fabrics, some of which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. These fabrics accentuate and complement the quality wood products used to create the furniture. Both looks are achieved using the different types of fabric listed below:
1. Toile de jouy
This fabric is made of linen and is the canvas material. It features vintage floral patterns and faded leaf prints. It is a signature French furniture fabric characterized with repeating patterns that portray simplicity. Since it’s made of linen, it’s a strong material with inherent woven fibres in its yarn. It absorbs dye incredibly well and so it’s the best print fabric for French and shabby chic furniture.
It shares a name with the machine used to make it, the Jacquard machine. It’s a special type of fabric invented in 1804 by Joseph Marie Jacquard, who was inspired by the earlier inventions of Frenchmen from the 18th Century. It’s one of those fabrics that is unique because of how it’s made. It features a raised pattern woven into the fabric instead of printed on it to give it a classic vintage look. It usually comes in 3 popular designs: geometrics, florals, and damasks and it drapes very well making it an excellent furniture cover.
This fabric though used for trousers, shirts, and jackets is also a great upholstery fabric. It is made up of twisted fibres that lie parallel when woven. Some people believe that the name came from the French word 'corde du roi’ meaning 'cord of the king’ but others believe it originated from England. It is a great upholstery fabric because its texture features a channel between its tufts making it less slippery than most regular fabrics. In fact, it’s considered a rigged version of the velvet fabric.
Twill fabric is made from a type of textile weave with parallel diagonal ribs. The characteristic diagonal pattern of the twill fabric is as a result of passing the weft thread over one or two warp threads, followed by passing it under two or more warp threads. The process involves leaving an offset between the rows. This method of weaving creates a fabric with a front and back. The front is more durable and attractive than the other side and thus creates an incredible and classic design for French and shabby chic furniture.
This is one of the most richly decorated fabrics made with silks and sometimes gold and silver threads. It’s a great fabric for fine French furniture upholstery. It is woven using a technique called supplementary weft. This means that it is woven be adding another non-structural weft to the standard weft. This gives the fabric an embroidered look – characteristic of vintage upholstery fabrics.
Upholstered furniture (Meubles rembourrés) also comes in many forms of contemporary styles in France.
Here are some reputable suppliers:
Here are some inspiring ideas for different types of upholstered furniture
Shabby Chic and French Furniture Upholstery Fabrics Read more on: COATSVIY