Choosing upholstery fabric for your yacht
Some aspects of choosing upholstery fabric may seem obvious such as selecting colour, texture and style. However, since it’s crucial to take into account how the fabric will be used, Yachting Pages has spoken to professionals in the industry to find out tips on just how to choose the correct upholstery fabric for your requirements.
Testing durability on upholstery fabric can be a long process. Both the Wzenbeek and Martindale are abrasion, or ‘rub’ tests used for testing durability. Wzenbeek involves rubbing along the warp (longitudinal) and weft (lateral) of the fabric compared to the Martindale process which is a figure of 8 rub.
It is important that the fabric chosen is of a good durability. For example, fabric for chairs, sofas, chaise lounges etc… should be of a good quality and thickness for the job, particularly if animals will also be sharing it.
Marianna Reimer from Upholstery House said, “When it comes to upholstered furniture, bear in mind that it can only be dry cleaned when in the marina, therefore, apart from its design, the fabric should also be practical and resistant to general grease.”
Marianna continued, “With regards to bed spreads, I recommend fabrics which are not 100% cotton or linen as it creases easily – choose instead, a non-crease fabric.” Upholstery used for exterior furnishings should be breathable and hold a decent company warranty in the event of damage, ideally the warranty should last for 10 years, although it is likely to be replaced in this time.
Colour and style
The colour and style of the upholstery will of course be entirely up to personal preference, however latest trends in design have seen both comfort and functionality taking the spotlight. The colours chosen are often crisp and strong and reflect freshness without the clinical feel.
Use of neutral colours such as greys and creams, are still high on the agenda for many superyachts, with the tendency to choose colour blocking over other patterns. Although, from a steward’s/esses’ point of view these can be the most difficult to maintain, neutral colours give the impression of a much larger space, essential when on board a yacht.
On the other hand however, a blend of contrasting colours, statement fabrics and an untraditional approach to the mix of materials are also high in demand, for example, leather, silk, velvets, cotton, linen and some weaves.
Karen Vogt from ABC Canvas commented, “When it comes to thread, it is most important to sew with a quality thread with the same warranty as the fabric it’s sewn into. For example, Tenera, made by Gore can withstand UV rays, salt water, motor fuel and all canvas cleaning agents. You can’t burn this thread! Gore’s warranty, not only pays for thread replacement, but the labour to do the repair also.”
Karen went on to recommend, “Isinglass or clear vinyl for use in viewing the sea you are sailing on can give the same optical clarity of sheet glass for 1/3 of the price. We would personally recommend 40g AdvantageX for this, it’s rolled yet gives a great effect.”
For the best results, choose a company that works across more than one medium within upholstery, for example, a company which provides a package of services including upholstery, soft furnishings and interior decoration. Ideally, the company will also be mobile, to accommodate the ever-moving demand of superyachts.