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7 Different Types of Polyester Fabric for Upholstery

Polyester fabric for upholstery is currently the most sustainable option. Here we have discussed the main types of polyester fabric. Read more

7 Different Types of Polyester Fabric for Upholstery

Among all the synthetic fabrics available in the market, polyester has to be the most prominent one. Therefore, visualizing it as the main fabric for upholstery is pretty justified.

Many buyers argue that polyester is an entirely synthetic fabric, well, that is not the case. Just like any natural fabric, polyester is also extracted from plants, thus, it is known as plant-based polyester.

Choosing polyester for upholstery and sofas can be one of the wisest decisions. So if you wish to feel wise, and prudent then it is necessary to read about all the details about polyester fabric.

What is Polyester Fabric?

Starting off with its creation, just like any synthetic fabric, polyester was also created by accident in a lab in the 1920s. Thus, it is not a pretty old fabric like silk or velvet.

Currently polyester is available in various types, some of its types are biodegradable, and that is one of the finest reasons to choose polyester as a reliable synthetic fabric.

Then for the plant-based polyester fabric, they mix it with ethylene, which is a petroleum product, and that is what makes polyester inflammable too, but it does not mean that all types of polyester fabrics are inflammable.

This varies among the types of polyester fabric making it very hard for buyers to choose the best fabric for upholstery. So that is why not many buyers consider choosing polyester.

Why Choose Polyester Fabric for Upholstery?

Before choosing it would be great to understand the actual reason is necessary. The very top quality of polyester is its thermoplastic.

It dries fast

If you are a clean freak, who cannot help but clean the upholstery fabric every other month, then polyester has to be the ideal choice. Moreover, unlike cotton, upholstery fabric will not absorb sweat as well. Therefore, you get that clean feeling when using polyester fabric for upholstery.

More environment friendly

With the current climate change disaster conditions, it is extremely important to find articles that are environmentally friendly.

Now you must be wondering how polyester is environmentally friendly, well, the manufacturing of polyester actually includes recycling. All the dumped and wasted plastic is reused and recycled to produce the polyester fabric. Thus, as compared to cotton fabric manufacturing, making polyester is far more environmentally friendly.

More colors availability

Another amazing reason to choose the polyester fabric to cover your sofa is the colors. Unlike other natural fabrics, polyester is more adaptable with colors. You can have any dye available in the world on polyester, and the shade will be exactly what you want.

Light in weight

When you cover your sofa with velvet, many people complain that it feels very heavy. The same goes for cotton or linen; however, in the case of polyester, you don’t get that heavy fabric. So cleaning is again made easier for polyester sofa covers.

Types of Polyester w.r.t Fabric Weave

Furthermore, ethylene polyester fabric is classified in various forms. It depends on the way it is produced. When ethylene glycol and fabric are treated in a peculiar way, a different type of fabric is made. Thus, currently, there are four types of ethylene polyester available.

Filament Polyester

filament polyester fabric

Here again, the wise reader can understand the name. The filament fabric is very light and smooth. All those who need the silky soft touch, and want to clean their sofas easily should choose this type.

The filament yarn is not that great for the sofas, as it is available for clothes mostly. If you have seen viole then you can easily understand what filament polyester looks like. The best part about the filament polyester weave is the ability to turn and create it in various forms.

It is available not only for light clothes but also for ships. Currently, the most famously used weave type of polyester fabric is filament. However, when you are buying it from a seller, it is extremely important to understand the filament weave type. A straight weave might not be the ideal option for upholstery, as it can be easily torn apart. However, a twisted filament weave can be the best option.

Tow Polyester

tow polyester fabric

It is a lighter and silkier fabric. It would not be the best fabric for sofas, due to its delicate texture. You can try it for the draperies, there it would look great.

Staple Polyester

staple upholstery fabric

If you are a fan of yarn, but cannot afford cotton yarn, then choose the polyester staple fabric. It is easier to dye and has more durability than cotton staple fabric. Staple fabric is the most widely used fabric type for clothing and sofa covers. You might find it at an expensive rate when buying a cotton staple, however, in the case of the polyester staple things can be easier. The reason for that is the PDCT polyester fabric, which is easy to manufacture in the staple weave type.

Fiberfill Polyester

filament polyester fabric

The name itself explains that this type of ethylene polyester is created to make pillows and heavy articles. The purpose of producing the fiberfill ethylene polyester is to get more volume, it is spun in a way that the fabric in the end comes out with greater volume.

For sofa covers, using fiber-fill polyester can be good but in cold regions or when you need a sofa that is more fluffy and soft than usual.

It is more like a towel, you might have seen it in a stuffed toy, however, that is a very twisted type of fabric. When turned into clothes, the elasticity and durability of the fiberfill fabric will increase many folds.

Fiberfill fabric would be ideal for insulation. So if you are also looking for the stuffing and covering then fiberfill can be the best.

Types of Polyester Fabric for Upholstery

So far we were discussing the general traits of polyester fabric for upholstery. Now in the coming section, our focus would be on the types of polyester fabrics for upholstery.

Ethylene Polyester

ethylene polyester fabric

So the first and very common type of polyester fabric is the ethylene polyester fabric. The name of the fabric is very self-explanatory, you can easily get the main component of the ethylene polyester fabric. It is undoubtedly ethylene, which is an aromatic carbon compound, derived from fossil fuels.

They generally extract ethylene in the form of ethylene glycol, so it is a starch based fabric too, and then mix it with other fabrics to create polyester.

As we all know, ethylene is inflammable so this very type of polyester is also capable of burning and catching fire fast.

Currently, ethylene polyester is not only used to make fabric, but they are also using it for containers, boxes, and other materials.

The main reason to buy ethylene polyester can be the flexibility and elasticity of the material. You can cover any type of sofa with it, without tearing it, or fearing any cuts on it. Its elasticity has to be the real reason to purchase it for your sofas.

As far as the types of Ethylene polyester fabric is concerned, it is easily available in all four types of fabric weave. You might think that you can easily use all these types of ethylene polyester fabric easily, but that is not the case; because, some of them might not turn out to be the best option to cover the sofas.

For instance, the staple and filament weave would be an ideal option for the sofas. The staple has a feeling like cotton yarn and is more elastic than the tow.

Lastly, the environment is generally thought to be safe for the environment. As it does not require a bulk of plants to produce, like the plant based polyester. Secondly, you don’t need water to make it. So as compared to natural cloth, the ethylene polyester fabric can be a fine option.

The Pros:

  • Very elastic.
  • Durable fabric.
  • Available in different textures.
  • Yarn-like feels.
  • Environment-friendly manufacturing.

The Cons:

  • Easy to catch fire.
  • Not ideal for the kids.

Plant based Polyester

plant based polyester fabric

Here comes the type that most aware buyers would be waiting for. I don’t know why, but people feel a sense of luxury whenever they hear the word plant based or organic. Little do they know that artificially created synthetic fibers are better in the long run for the planet. Particularly when they are not planting trees.

Anyhow, the plant based polyester, is also a self-explanatory term. But, unlike the regular fabric such as cotton, linen, or velvet it is not created directly from the plants.

Now you must be wondering that all your life you have heard that polyester fabric is created with petrol, and carbon products, but now this is totally different.

Well, hold your horses, the plant based polyester is mainly different from regular polyester only because the petrol-like chemical used in its formulation is extracted from the plants.

Currently, we have seen a shift of buyers from synthetic man made polyester fabric to plant based polyester because of the biodegradable quotient.

The plant based polyester fabric is made with cane sugar, thus, when you don’t want that fabric, it can easily be degraded. Even though ethylene polyester was environmentally friendly because it requires lesser amounts of water during the manufacturing process. However, in this case, the plant based polyester is created with sugar so the degradation is easy.

If we scrutinize both these processes, it would be pretty evident that it comes to square one. One type of polyester fabric is safe for the environment when in the making phase, while the plant based polyester is safe for the environment in the degradation phase, but not in the making phase.

So when you compare these two types, I would say neither of them is better, both are equally good when it comes to the environment.

Now coming to the cost, among all the types of polyester fabrics, the plant based polyester is the most expensive one. People would love to have it for the sake of organic, but in terms of price, it would cost you a kidney. We are not even joking, when your aim is to cover all the sofas in the house with plant based polyester, it would be dearer than cotton or linen.

Then the safety for the skin. Fortunately, the plant based polyester is gentle on the skin. If you are allergic to various chemicals, then it is better to be safe than sorry.

It would be an ideal option for kids too. Also, it has the water repellent feature, so you can cover all the kid’s room sofa with it without any fears.

The Pros:

  • Durable fabric.
  • Safe for the environment.
  • Easy to degrade.
  • Water wicking feature.
  • Hypo-allergic fabric.
  • Safe for the kids.
  • Can be dyed easily.

The Cons:

  • Very expensive fabric.
  • A little heavy.

PCDT Polyester

pcdt polyester fabric

If you have never opted for chemistry as your major then skip the name of the PCDT polyester. However, those who know a bit of chemistry would understand the meaning of Poly cyclohexylene products.

 You can take it as a variation of the ethylene polyester, which in the manufacturing stage is mixed with dimethyl terephthalate. It might be too much to understand, so in simpler terms, it is the variation of the ethylene polyester fabric.

It is by far the lesser known type of polyester, the reason for that is its heavy duty usage. It has been used for furniture covering ever since. As compared to the parent polyester type which is the ethylene polyester fabric, it is more suitable for draperies and sofa covers.

The reason for that is its elasticity and durability. If you are searching for the finest type of synthetic polyester, then choosing the PCDT polyester fabric would be the finest choice you can ever make.

It is wrinkle free as well, but not as much as the ethylene polyester fabric, however, it would be great still. You might have seen companies selling stretchable sofa covers. They are indeed using PCDT polyester to make those covers.

Then coming to the price of the PCDT polyester. Even though PCDT polyester is way more durable and elastic than PET polyester, still, it is cheaper than that.

The reason for it lies in the manufacturing process of the PCDT polyester. It is created through a melt spinning procedure, which is known to be cheaper than the regular process for polyester fabric making.

The melt spinning procedure can easily produce the PCDT polyester in bulk; even though the demand for PCDT polyester is pretty high, the manufacturing process makes it available all the time.

Another reason for the melt spinning process is the eco-friendly feature. Manufacturers do not need any type of solvent to make fabric from this method.

Now moving toward the types of PCDT polyester fabric available.

As we have discussed the main types of polyester fabric with respect to its fabric weave, the PCDT fabric, unlike the PCT is available in only two types, it is limited because of the manufacturing process. So you can only get the filament and the staple fabric type in PCDT polyester.

If you would think from an expert’s point of view, so you don’t feel bad about this limitation. You only need the staple yarn like PCDT to cover your sofas, and that will be enough for the upholstery of your house and offices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of polyester fabric is best for sofa covers?

The ideal type of polyester fabric for sofa covers will be PCDT. it is more durable, and it is preferred for this purpose.

Which type of weave is ideal for polyester upholstery?

The best type of weave for polyester upholstery is the staple weave. It is similar to the cotton staple yarn, thus, you can easily use it for sofa covers.

Is plant-based polyester safe for the environment?

It is safe for the planet, as it is easier to degrade plant-based polyester. It is made up of cane sugar, which is biodegradable as compared to other types.

Which is the most expensive type of polyester fabric for upholstery?

The most expensive type of polyester fabric is plant-based polyester fabric. It is hard to extract plant cane sugar.

Is polyester safe for the skin?

Not for all. It is recorded that except for the plant-based polyester fabric, some synthetic polyesters is harmful to the skin.

Final Thoughts

Polyester is all around the world, and almost 4 percent of the clothing or fabric we have is polyester. Choosing the best polyester fabric for upholstery requires ample knowledge for a wise purchase. You cannot just pick any random type.

One must understand all the types of polyester fabric available in the market, to avoid any loss of time and money.

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Aleksy Kazmer

Aleksy is a full-time blogger born and raised in Warsaw. After earning a degree in MS English from Oxford University, he began utilizing his skills as a content writer to express what he’s most passionate about. Whether it's home improvement, decor, furniture, cleaning products, or DIY projects. Aleksy has a natural curiosity to pursue hidden tips and share them with readers.