What is Chenille Fabric?

Using chenille fabric to adorn one’s home is often common practice. The fabric is popular, versatile, soft, warm, and long-lasting because wool or cotton are used in its construction.

Wide varieties of chenille fabric exist, and they all have unique characteristics. Polyester chenille is by far the most popular variety of chenille fabric. 

Due to the wide variety of chenille fabrics available, chenille fabric is often used to create decorative materials such as throw blankets and napkins.

What is Chenille Fabric?

white chenille fabric

Chenille is a textured fabric whose threads are stacked to add softness to the fabric. The threads in the cloth look like a caterpillar’s skin.

Cotton, silk, wool, and polyester are just some of the fibers used to weave chenille.

The fashion and interior design industries depend on chenille fabric for its signature softness and fluffiness, and the fabric’s intriguing history and unique production method only add to its popularity.

Chenille fabric is widely utilized for various purposes, and it’s a fabric you can use for anything from clothing to home decor and sewing projects.

Because of its durability and comfort, chenille fabric is highly sought-after. It also has a dense, nubby pile with a lot of little loops.

What is Chenille Fabric

However, the same pile can be destroyed by its claws if you’ve got pets like cats. 

Many people often confuse chenille fabric with velvet. Even though you can spin chenille into a fabric with a velvet-like appearance, the two fabrics are very different. In contrast to velvet, Chenille fabric can be woven to have either a flat, smooth surface or a thicker, more textured appearance and feel.

Chenille’s plush texture makes it a popular upholstery fabric, although it does take a bit more care than most others. It’s typically made out of materials like cotton, polyester, and viscose, and it features bold colors and a variety of design depths.

Brief History Of Chenille Fabric

chenille upholstery fabric
Plain Upholstery Chenille Fabric

Production of chenille began in the 18th century. The word “chenille,” from the French for “caterpillar,” is the source of the name “Chenille.” The fuzzy appearance inspired comparisons to the caterpillar’s skin, hence the name.

The leno technique, in which two warp threads are wrapped around the weft thread, was developed in France and is often credited as the first invention of chenille fabric.

A Scotsman known as Andrew Buchanan, who also operated a mill, is credited with being the first person to use chenille fabric for clothing. He made perfect fabrics for shawls and other thick clothing pieces using chenille yarn.

These were widely used to escape the cold and the heat of Scottish winters and summers.

Catherine Evans popularized the production of chenille quilts in the United States in the 20th century using a method she had invented in the 1800s.

How Is Chenille Fabric Produced?

cotton chenille fabric
Floral Upholstery Chenille Fabric

No matter what fibers you utilize, the weaving technique for chenille fabric is the same. The unique process used to create chenille fabric guarantees its identification as a unique fabric type.

In the past, clothing manufacturers used the Leno method to make chenille. In this method, they braided the strands and twisted them together, and the outcome was a loose weave that was held together by the twisted threads.

However, the Leno procedure was labor-intensive because every single yarn had to be handled by hand.

New technologies and the discovery of nylon have contributed to the process’s development and refinement over time.

Chenille fabric is produced by sandwiching a few strands of thread between two core threads and then twisting the whole thing together.

animal print upholstery fabric chenille
Animal print upholstery fabric chenille

The threads are wrapped to create loops, and the loops are subsequently trimmed to create the chenille signature shaggy pile. These piles give the chenille fabric its signature look and feel, as the edges of the piles stand perpendicular to the yarn’s center. Because the filaments in the chenille capture the light differently, the fabric looks varied depending on which way you view it.

To prevent the fabric from developing bare spots caused by the piles becoming dislodged, low-melt nylon is later woven into the center of the yarn.

Next, the thread is heated to set the pile and prevent it from falling off. After then, the thread is woven into the fabric to create a unique chenille.

Chenille Fabric Usage and Application 

Blue chenille fabric couch

Chenille fabric’s use has moved beyond conventional contexts in household goods such as blankets, rugs, and sheets into the high fashion world in recent decades.

Some chenille fabric uses include: 

  • Carpets

Chenille fabric is frequently used today in the creation of rugs and carpets. The lush and deep pile of chenille carpets contributes to the material’s excellent durability.

The extremely high concentration of the chenille fabric yarn in carpets and rugs results in an end product that is exceedingly fluffy and also durable. 

  • Interior decor

Chenille fabric is frequently used as an upholstery material for couches, chairs, and decorative pillows.

Chenille-made drapery and other types of window coverings are also highly recommended.

The use of chenille in decoration does not have to be restricted to its application on furniture; for instance, curtains are also excellent for chenille fabric. In most cases, polyester makes up the majority of the substance in the yarn.

  • Blankets 

Chenille fabric works brilliantly as a bedspread or as a decorative throw for couches and chairs.

The fabric is an excellent material for sofa coverings because of the incredibly soft tufts that it has got, even though the fabric has a rough aspect. The fabric gives an air of luxury to the overall appearance of your home.

  • Apparels

Shawls were the first garments to use chenille fabric. Manufacturers chose the fabric for its incredibly plush and smooth texture. 

In recent years, there has been an increase in chenille fabric manufacturing, which has led to increased demand for the fabric. Now, chenille is used to manufacture dresses, shirts, and other items.

Average Cost of Chenille Fabric per yard?

pink chenille fabric

The price of the cloth rises in proportion to the degree of difficulty of the pattern. Suppose you are in the market for new chenille garments. In that case, you might want to give some thought to purchasing items made from fabrics that contain a blend of polyester and cotton because these kinds of materials are durable and adaptable.

Chenille fabric can range in price from more affordable to more expensive based on the particular style of chenille you are interested in purchasing. The price range for ordinary chenille fabric averagely costs around $10 to $25 per yard.

Types Of Chenille Fabric

Chenille fabric is often produced with a cotton warp and rayon weft, giving the fabric its signature texture and drape.

Although there are many types of chenille fabric, the basic structure of the fabric is essentially the same.

You can find chenille in various patterns, including twill, herringbone, gingham, and stripes. Cotton, Rayon, Polyester, and Adhesive-backed acrylic fabrics are types of chenille fabric.

sofa chenille fabric

The most popular chenille fabric is made from cotton. Artificial rayon originates from regenerated cellulose. Polyester is a synthetic substance produced from Polyethylene terephthalate, while acrylic is produced from polymethyl methacrylate. 

Chenille Fabric Care And Maintenance Tips

chenille

Due to chenille fabric’s sensitivity to light and difficulty in being laundered, chenille fabric requires special care. That’s why it’s essential to always look at the fabric care label to ensure you’re giving the fabric its specific care. 

  • Despite its durability, chenille fabric has flimsy heaps and is prone to shrinking or expanding. Therefore, chenille fabric requires dry cleaning. If you prefer to wash your chenille fabric pieces at home, remember to hand wash them and dry them flat. If you plan on machine washing it, use warm water on the gentle cycle and set the dryer to a low heat setting. 
  • Chenille’s deep pile makes it more challenging to clean and more likely to retain stains than some other textiles. Fading can occur on your chenille fabric. That’s why it is necessary to protect it from direct sunshine, as its resistance to light is substantially weaker than other fabrics.
  • Chenille fabric may lose its fuzzy property if it is dried in an electric dryer, even on the lowest setting, therefore it is preferable to lay it out to dry instead of putting it in the dryer
  • The capacity to resist spills and stains is not a feature of chenille fabric. So, as soon as you find a stain, you may be swiftly and simply remove it by rubbing it with a damp towel. If necessary, you may also substitute a mild detergent for the water.
  • If you have a carpet made of chenille fabric, I suggest using a vacuum to remove any dust or grime accumulated. Ensure that the vacuum nozzle is only fully open and that the setting is on the lowest level.
  • Regular cleaning with a soft brush might help the fabric pile recover after being flattened or compressed by repeated use. 
  • For storage of chenille fabric, you should do so in cool, dry places to prevent them from getting damp and smelling. 

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