Since I founded Pure Upholstery in 2017, many people order fabric swatches from our website and then contact me after to sell them just fabric by the yard. My original position was that I would sell fabric only when I was making a customer upholstered furniture should they need extra from the same dye lot to replace a cushion cover or arm covers at a future date. It is wise to have extra fabric from the same dye lot as well as not risk that a fabric is discontinued 10 years later.
Many times weekly, I have received requests to sell the fabric only. I truly didn't want to since my primary eco upholstery fabric supplier, Two Sisters Ecotextiles, has a program established to sell fabric directly to consumers. So, I just referred them to the company for years.
When I began offering a limited number of wool fabrics from one manufacturer in The U.K. who has sampling and warehousing in the The States because it supplies many contract upholstery fabrics to well known high-end office chair manufacturers and contract interior designers and architects, the requests from consumers doubled. These fabrics are incredibly durable, naturally flame resistant without topical treatments and are very high quality. They all are rated as heavy duty for contract use and will last a very long time if properly maintained.
These fabrics are not consistently available by the yard to consumers under their actual names. In the home textiles industry, a textile jobber buys rolls of fabrics from manufacturers, renames them and markets them under their own brand. So, they might be available to consumers, but they cannot be cross-referenced by consumers back to manufacturers' names and colorways. Occasionally, one will find small amounts of yardage in the marketplace when manufacturers sell to companies that specialize in purchasing close-outs and 2nd quality, but there is no continuity if a consumer later wants to purchase more.
I am enamored with wool for upholstery fabric for end use in all climates. In hot temperatures, wool absorbs moisture from skin and helps to dissipate heat more rapidly. This keeps the wearer nice and cool. Wool is highly water resistant and liquid spills tend to bead up on it rather than be absorbed. These wool upholstery fabrics have durability ratings for contract end use, averaging 100,000 cycles or double rubs using the Wyzenbeek abrasion resistance test. Many mid-century modern pieces from the 1950's and 60's used wool as the upholstery fabric and the fabrics are still completely fine. That wool is renewable, biodegradable, recyclable and mulesing is prohibited ticks off many boxes in terms of sustainability.
Why the minimums and why the minimum shipping fee? Upholstery fabric is 54" wide and rolled on a tube to prevent wrinkling and to make it easier for upholsterers to work. Parcel post companies surcharge cylindrical packages because they the bar codes aren't scannable and due to the shape which wastes room. The manufacturers have a minimum shipping fee even if ordering just one yard. They, also, charge a cutting fee for having to ship any quantity that isn't a full roll because thy have to take the roll, put it on a rolling machine and roll off the exact required yardage onto another tube. The cutting, handling, tube and packaging fees cost more than the price of a yard of fabric. I fully understand. It is labor intensive and the packaging material prices have skyrocketed as has labor and shipping costs. The bottom line is that manufacturers and distributors lose money on orders of just a few yards unless they charge the shipping and handling fees.
Many customers need just a few yards for chair replacement seat and back cushions. I don't want them to be unable to order these high quality non-toxic and sophisticated upholstery fabrics. I simply need to cover the true cost and, at least, break even. Furniture manufacturers buy in high volume on an ongoing basis and are fortunate to get these fabrics with extremely low mark-ups due the volume that they buy from vertically integrated textile manufacturers, such as Camira Fabrics, and converters, such as Two Sisters Ecotextiles. As a reseller of Camira Fabrics that consumers wouldn't otherwise have access to, I have to work with a margin that covers my costs. If you are purchasing 20 yards or more then please reach out to ask for a discount, also!
We will begin selling the most non-toxic upholstery fabrics with a three yard minimum starting in April 2023. I will continue the quest for truly natural fiber, untreated and non-toxic upholstery fabrics. I am amazed that in 2023 with all that we know, so few are available.
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