Different types of fabrics work better for different applications. A good place to look for an example of this would be right in your closet. Heavier thicker fabrics are used for cold weather attire and thinner moister wicking fabrics are used for hot weather or work out wear. You could wear a knit sweater on a hot day but you probably wouldn't want to. The same applies to fabrics in the home and I want to give you a run down on a couple popular fabrics and the best places to use them. 

Silk: This is a natural protein fiber made by the silkworm and is one of the strongest natural fibers around. But it can actually lose approximately 20% of its strength when wet and it is highly recommended that you keep it out of prolonged sunlight. This fabric has no elasticity which mean that if stretched it will not return to its original shape.

Where to use this fabric.: Since it cannot stand up to sun exposure I would recommend not using it as drapery or on anything that will be sitting close to a window in direct sun light. The elasticity is poor so if you were to sit on a chair upholstered in silk it would loose its shape fairly quickly. Now, if that is the look your are going for then by all means use it in this application. The best places for this fabric would be throw pillows, headboards, wall art and lamp shades. ( lamps do not produce UV light so the silk will be safe)

Cotton: This is another natural fiber produced from the cotton plant which creates a breathable fabric which is easily dyed. Cotton is used to make Terrycloth, bath towels, corduroy and yarn for knitting but has the tendency to pill. 

Where to use this fabric: A great place for cotton fabric would be bed sheets, pillow shams, bath towels and throw blankets. You could also use a cotton slip cover over a sofa which can be easily changed if wear starts to show.

Polyester: A synthetic or man made fiber produced from chemicals. I will not even try to spell these components as they are quite long and I have no clue what they mean.  Polyester is so durable that it is used to make anything from conveyor belts, bottles and of course fabric. It does not feel nearly as nice as a natural fiber but it has the positive of reduced wrinkles and has great colour retention. Microfiber which is made from polyester is one of the most durable man made fabrics out there and It feels great.

Where to use this fabric: You really could use this fabric anywhere. If you are concerned about comfort I might stay away from pillow shams, sheets and blankets made from this fabric but you may not even notice a difference.

From personal experience I find that the natural fibers feel much better against the skin but wear quicker. They also breathe better but are more likely to fade. Synthetic fabrics do wear better, wrinkle and fade less but may not feel as good. The decision depends on how you want it to look and feel and what are you willing to live with.

AuthorCamille Pacori