March 27, 2012

Monday's Lesson: Outdoor Fabric 101

See what happens, give the girl a reward and everything starts to slip, Monday’s traditional 101 lesson gets posted on Tuesday, it’s all downhill from here folks! No only joking, promise just the one slip up. I was out last night for a family reunion dinner with the lovely Scott family which was too good to turn down and hence our Monday lesson is posted Tuesday, can you forgive me?

Anyway back on topic, I thought we might take a break from pattern and have a look at outdoor fabrics. In our Australian climate they are something we should all be investing in for our outdoor living spaces but also for our sunny indoor light-filled rooms and high traffic areas like the rumpus. Advancements in outdoor fabrics have come in leaps and bounds so let’s look at what is out there.

Beautiful azure blue outdoor setting with contrast white piping. Love the yellow accent and the styling, simple, stylish and all completely outdoor!
The original outdoor fabrics were made from Polypropylene, a man-made plastic polymer that when mixed with a UV inhibitor and flurochemicals created a yarn suitable for milling into outdoor fabrics. Polypropylene outdoor fabrics are durable, UV resistant and some of the cheapest outdoor fabrics available on the market, however they are plastic to feel, rigid and limited in range.

Next in line is Olefin. A synthetic fibre similar to Polypropylene, Olefin creates durable, colourfast, mildew and stain resistant outdoor fabrics with a softer and more comfortable feel under hand. Olefin outdoor fabrics are priced reasonably on the market and are best utilised in protected outdoor situations rather than in direct sunlight for increased longevity.

For direct sunlight applications a 100% solution dyed acrylic outdoor fabric is the best option. They are a more expensive but will outlast any other outdoor fabric in colourfastness as well as being mould and mildew resistant, soil and stain resistant and most importantly soft, comfortable and breathable. Outdoor acrylic fabrics are often classified as indoor/outdoor due to their softness and ability to be utilised indoors without feeling like they should be outdoors.
Amazing outdoor conversational lounge upholstered in Trina Turk outdoor fabrics by Schumacher.

So there you have it, a quick rundown on outdoor fabrics. The most important thing to remember when working with fabric outdoors, particularly when upholstering is that the fabric is only as good as the foam behind it. Outdoor reticulated foam is essential and even though generally a firmer feel, it means that water will pass straight through rather than pool and cause mildew and mould.

Cote D'Azur Outdoor collection by Schumacher
Zepel UVPRO Get Out Outdoor Collection

Amazing Moroccan feel outdoor area, I love the combination of patterns and how the black grounds the whole area. The depth of the seat is great and so enticing to sprawl out and relax!
Even though this looks like an enclosed outdoor area it is still a great place to utilise outdoor fabric, fade resistant and stain resistant! Love the drapes also from outdoor fabric.

Contemporary outdoor setting, love the mix of black and yellow and the customised umbrella!

Trink Turk Outdoor Collection by Schumacher

Outdoor fabric is not just limited to upholstery, it's also available as sheer drapery and in decorative trim.

If you’re interested in more ways to incorporate outdoor fabrics into your space, check out my Pinterest board

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