Outdoor Fabric Guide – Aiden Fabrics

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Outdoor Fabric Guide

A Close Look at Acrylics, Spun Polys, Polyolefins & High UV Polyesters

Outdoor Fabric Guide

Everyone on the Aiden Fabrics team loves Outdoor Fabrics! The colors are continuously changing, and they pair nicely with indoor special fabrics like linens and pretty cottons that have florals and paisleys. And, with weather that’s ideal for outdoor entertaining *almost* year-round, we are always helping our clients create fabulous outdoor spaces. Whether you’re shopping for the outdoor usage like patios or indoor usage like couches, outdoor fabric could be the best solution for you.

Our Interior Designers breaks down the various outdoor fabric options available at our store, what they’re made of, and where to use them.

Types of Outdoor Fabrics

The best way to approach outdoor fabrics is to think of them like indoor fabrics. All fabrics are created for a purpose, so they are made accordingly and used for weather extremes. Not all outdoor fabrics are “Sunbrella” (see below). They range from spun polys all the way to solution dyed acrylics. What that means is that some fabrics are rated for screened porches and others for outside. The fabric content and the process of how the material is made determines the rating.

Here’s a quick rundown on the types of materials used in outdoor fabrics and where they should be applied.

Solution Dyed Acrylic Fabrics

These fabrics hold the longest amount of lights with 2,000 hours of color fastness. This mean these fabrics will hold their colors longer and won’t fade as quickly as others. They are great on cushions, awnings, outdoor applications (like umbrellas), which are permanently exposed to weather and the sun. Thread counts are really high on these fabrics, so they don’t rip easily.

One of the things that is unique about the solution dyed acrylics is that they mimic indoor fabrics; they don’t look like plastic and are very attractive because of their cleanbility and color fastness. Often they are used indoors because the content of the fabric is the least absorbent of liquid; it’s difficult for liquids to saturate acrylics. So, if you have children or if the product is going to be placed in an area with a lot of potential spills, this is your best option.

Polyolefins and High UV Polyesters

These fabrics have attractive colors, more designs, greater durability, and they are cleanable with bleach. Designers love the fancier options available with these fabrics. Use them on pillows, cushions, furniture, and rental properties because they are attractive. They have 1,500 hours of light fastness. The fabric is solution dyed before it’s brought into a good, and then it goes through a process of turning it into a woven fabric. It can be textured, solid, striped, plaid or jacquard; just like indoor fabrics.

Spun Polyesters

These fabrics are priced economically, and they are perfect for pillows, playrooms, inexpensive prints with a fun design or temporary usage. They are made with inexpensive polyester based cloth that is milled white, and then it goes through the process of capturing a screened print.

Capel Sea Glass Outdoor

How to Shop Outdoor Fabrics

Looking for outdoor fabrics? When you visit us, here are the first questions our helpful customer service team will ask you:

    • Where is the fabric going? Outside near a pool, under a covered porch or portico, awning, boat, inside, etc? This is the most important factor in the decision. For instance, if it is going outside, uncovered, then we’re not going to recommend spun poly’s as they are not rated for outside. Acrylics, Polyolefins and the high UV Polysters are going to be the fabrics rated for sun exposure and mold removal. In an indoor application, we’ll look at outdoor fabrics that are woven goods rather than screen printed goods, so they don’t peel. The outdoor wovens, jacquards and the textures are made similar to indoor fabrics in that they go through the same process, but the fabric composition is what makes it rated for outdoor use or sun exposure.
    • What is it going on? Is it going to be sat on or slept on like a swing bed? Is it going in a playroom or even a classroom where there will be a lot of potential spills, dirt or crawling on? There are so many reasons why people buy outdoor fabrics. Here’s why you should use outdoor fabrics indoors.

    • If you can visit our store with some measurements, that also helps as we can calculate yardage easily; this is especially important if it needs to be ordered.
    • Are you pairing this fabric with another? It helps if we have a reference point of colors to match with, so if you are decorating and want to match or compliment another piece of decor, bring in that pillow or parable item to show us the colors and patterns.
    • Have a price range in mind? Most outdoor fabrics are priced competitively in the $12.99 – $39.99/yard range. We do have some more expensive options with the Sunbrellas and Bella-Duras.

Outdoor Fabrics Found at Aiden

When you enter the outdoor section of our store – which is the largest in the Charleston area – you’re going to find several outdoor fabric brands, including:

        • Sunbrella. This brand continues to offer new colors and new patterns – all very attractive and popular. They’re always pushing forward with their styles and color options. Plus, we can order any patterns from their new catalogs. Please note that all outdoor fabrics are not “Sunbrella”. Their brand name has become interchangeble like Kleenex has become for facial tissue. All of the brands are different. I was in another fabric store recently, and a customer came in and asked for Sunbrella specifically. The sales lady answered with, “We don’t sell Sunbrella, but we have our own version of Sunbrella.” I watched and discovered the customer was introduced to a spun poly, which is not the same as Sunbrella (a solution dyed acrylic). Shop with fabric experts!

        • Outdura. With a pretty good price point, Outdura offers solution dyed acrylics just like Sunbrella. They are the same fabric composition. Aiden Fabrics has THE largest selection of Outdura Fabrics on our sales floor; greater than any other store in Charleston. This gives our customers many, many options. Our inventory is very full, and many patterns can be reordered.

          Here is an example of Outdura used in an indoor application staged on our sales floor. It’s one of our favorites – Rumor pattern in color Limestone – and you can sit on it, touch it and feel the fabric as a product.

        • Alfresco. We have a smaller supply of this fabric, but the benefit is that their colors are bright and pretty, and mimic tickings, chambrays and canvas solids. So, if you are looking for a unique color story, you would be able to find it in Alfresco. They are competitively priced like Outdura, and extremely durable with 50-120 double rubs.
        • Bella-Dura. This product is new to our store, and we can’t wait to show them to you. They are solution dyed polyolefin fiber fabrics, and they’re exceptionally durable and bleach cleanable. Bella-Dura offer more “designer” colors and patterns. They are a tad more expensive but very much on point with home decor trends.
        • Solarium. This group of fabrics are spun poly’s. They are priced competitively and screened printed with very popular designs. Many customers find them playful, fun, and they add a pop of flair to any room. We recommend them on sets of pillows or in playrooms.

If you’re in the market for a very specific fabric, we can also special order fabrics not found on our sales floor from any of these brands plus more.

Stop in and see us! We’d love to help you find the perfect outdoor fabric!

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