Print Fabric vs. Jacquard Fabric

What’s the difference between a print fabric and a jacquard fabric?

In textile design, when you make a print and jacquard you begin with two dimensional artwork. With a print, it doesn’t change much from the artwork. You have to decide which base cloth to print on. We produce digital prints. Digital printing has a lot advantages: no limitation on the number of colors in image, no large minimums of yardage to print and the cost to print has become more comparable to screen printing.

With jacquard weaving, you assign different weaves to each color. There are a lot more variables/choices when making jacquards. You can take a two dimensional design in many different directions. The yarns you choose, the pick level and other factors effect the final fabric result.

So, the answer to the question of, “what is the difference?” is more about the only two things that are the same in prints in jacquards - they both are fabric, they both begin with artwork!

 

 Jacquard fabric

Jacquard fabric

 Jacquard

Jacquard

 Artwork

Artwork

 Digital Print

Digital Print

Simply Classic

Sometimes we have a fabric that is not trendy, it’s a classic. Our pattern, “Chanel,” is one of those patterns. It is inspired by the texture and color of a chunky womenswear fabric. The multi-color and texture of the yarn make a very versatile option to many styles and fabric combinations.

We’ve had this pattern in our line for several years. We have added colors and made special colors. We are adding four new great colors in December.

It has also inspired us to make a Revolution Performance Fabric base cloth. The trial is scheduled to run soon. We are anxiously awaiting to see how it will turn out!

   Above:   Brentwood pattern, Chanel!

Above: Brentwood pattern, Chanel!

What Goes Around, Comes Around

We were discussing topics to talk about and questions were asked and this one came up... what is barkcloth?

IMG_3188.jpeg

I knew, but did I really know? No, not the whole story. I enjoyed reading this blog from Colette and watching this cool video on you tube showing people making the original barkcloth. Traditionally, barkcloth was made by soaking and beating the inner bark of certain trees in Southeast Asia and South Pacific islands to make a paper-like fabric.

Modern barkcloth was made to emulate the nubby texture of the original barkcloth with weave and texture. These fabrics were printed from 1940-1960. The designs started with the tropical prints and leaves, then evolved into geometric and atomic designs inspired by the space program and the Scandinavian furniture designs of the mid-century.

There has been a resurgence of interest in barkcloth with the renewed interest in mid-century design.

When I was asked the question, "what is barkcloth?"    

I initially thought of what it could be... like a design class prompt for a project.

I’m now inspired to create a new fabric by using weaves and yarn to emulate the trunk of a tree... a new barkcloth! This could really be cool. We will have to see how it executes!

Soft on the Outside, Strong on the Inside

  Above:  Revolution fabric made of 100% Olefin

Above: Revolution fabric made of 100% Olefin

Why is olefin soft?

It hasn’t always been that way. Olefin fiber was first produced in the 1960's. Polypropylene (also known as Olefin) was used in the 1970's for upholstery and was used in many home's family rooms. Olefin's attributes make it perfect for upholstered furniture that is lived on daily. The fiber is durable, stain resistance, colorfast and has bulk and cover. The first fibers were coarse so the main negative was the hand, but in actuality it was soft but the fiber size made it a little raspy.

Olefin is made by extruding the solution through a spinerette. Originally the holes were larger, which made a coarser fiber. Now the technology has improved and the holes are smaller creating a much smaller and softer fiber. It’s just like the hair on your head; some people’s hair is fine and others are coarse, creating a difference in softness. Another comparison is the difference between puppy fur and adult dog fur. Today’s polypropylene has all the awesome attributes plus now it’s soft because now it’s a micro denier

  Above:  A Spinerette

Above: A Spinerette

Kodachrome

kathy 9.jpeg

Color is big. It’s one of the main deciding factors of whether or not we buy something.

In multicolored fabric, the combination of colors is critical. As designers, we are constantly looking for color combination inspiration. We find color combinations in nature, magazines, trend forecasts, clothing, etc. We are constantly a sponge absorbing!

Look around, what combinations of color do you see?

Pattern, Color & Texture

 Pictured Above (left to right): Brentwood pattern Cracked, Brooks and Velocity.

Pictured Above (left to right): Brentwood pattern Cracked, Brooks and Velocity.

We are super excited to offer our jacquard velvets to the trade. Please visit our Revolution Online Store to shop these patterns. If you haven't set up a trade account with us yet, please click here to complete a trade application. 

These styles use cool geometric designs, color and texture from the velvet to create an opulent couture fabric. The combination truly creates something unique and special!

These fabrics are intended to be the accent pieces... the decorative finishing touches like accessories to an outfit.

IMG_2224.jpeg

Mudcloth

  Above:  Brentwood pattern, Malian

Above: Brentwood pattern, Malian

There has been a trend for mud cloth inspired fabrics for awhile now and it's continuing to evolve. Brentwood offers several different mud cloths; patterns Malian, Mud and African.

The original mud cloth fabrics are handwoven using hand spun yarn in Mali, West Africa. After they are woven, they are hand painted with natural dyes that are made from mud and plants.  The original fabrics are fragile and a little rough to the touch so our interpretation is a much more practical option. To learn more about the history of mud cloths, click here.

The simple geometric lines of a mud cloth give a modern, organic twist to home decor, but also have a relaxed, eclectic vibe. We are showing several ways to use these designs in the below photos. 

Our pattern, Malian, is available for purchase by the yard for your next project! Click here to see pattern Malian. 

IMG_8448.JPG
Malian pic.jpg
IMG_0259.jpeg

Chameleon

Is that the same sofa?

A white or neutral sofa can be a chameleon. With a neutral base sofa, you can easily change the mood of a room just by changing out the accent pieces. You can go bold and bright, coastal,  neutral, bohemian, etc. It’s easy to evolve your room with your mood or season when you have a "chameleon" sofa.

Check out the photos below of how a room's design and energy can be built around a white or neutral sofa: 

Where It Begins

IMG_2658.jpeg

Fabric begins with yarn. There are all kinds of yarns; fat yarns, skinny yarns, flat yarns, fuzzy yarns, shiny yarns, dull yarns, boucle yarns and chenille yarns... I think you get the point there are MANY types of yarns! Different yarns are meant for different applications, which is why your shirt fabric looks different from your sofa fabric. There are many different choices of yarn fibers to use as well, such as natural and man made.

We made a choice to use polypropylene for Revolution Performance Fabrics because of it’s phenomenal attributes. Polypropylene is an upcycled fiber made from the byproducts of processing natural gas. It is counterintuitive to think that a man made fiber can be more environmentally friendly than a natural fiber, but it is! A man made fiber, such as polypropylene, uses less energy and water in the manufacturing process. Polypropylene also ranks higher on the Higg Index than any natural fiber such as cotton or bamboo. The other huge environmental benefit of using polypropylene fibers is that we can make the yarn ourselves or source it within 200 miles of our mill in Kings Mountain, NC. To learn more about polypropylene and our sustainable manufacturing initiatives, click here.

IMG_9870.JPG

Polypropylene is also a solution-dyed fiber, meaning that the color is added to the solution before it is extruded into fiber. The color cannot be taken out and it does not vary from batch to batch. Since the color cannot be taken out and it's inherent to the yarn, the fabric is very easy to clean. To see how easy Revolution is to clean, check out some of our cleaning videos here.

We have a large variety of polypropylene yarns in our tool box to create a variety of fabrics. I don’t mean to sound like Bubba Gump from Forest Gump describing all the different types of shrimp, but we really do have a lot of yarns to choose from! We can make fine tight fabric, soft fuzzy fabric, textured jacquard fabric, flat jacquard fabric... again, I think you got the point! 

We make a wide variety of fabrics with the many yarns available to us and then we get into design and color, but that is a whole other blog in itself!

To learn more about our yarns and the role they play in the fabric design process, watch episode 1 & 2 of "Design with Kathy" below.


You Got This!

geo 3.jpeg

As I said in my last blog, I recently cleaned out my work space. That included an area where we save small rolls of fabric for various reasons; they may be in development, saved for customers or waiting to be tested in our lab. 

My fellow employees clamored to see if there was some fabric we were discarding that they could use in their home. I was inspired to write this blog from listening to their conversations. Most had no confidence in their ability to make something. 

I recently used our Revolution Performance Fabric pattern, Geometrics, to recover my dining room chairs. My parents purchased this set in the early 1960's so it was only appropriate to use a mid-century inspired design! This a popular design trend and there certainly isn't a  lack of places to find inspiration. MidCentury Magazine is a great source for ideas on designing in this style. 

When designing Geometrics, we chose a popular geometric design. It is a small scale and is asymmetrical, adding to it's modern flare. 

One of my favorite mid century sources on Instagram is Atomic Ranch Magazine, check out their account @theatomicranch

Recovering a dining room chair is usually pretty easy. Here are some steps that apply to most chairs:

- Remove the seat, it’s usually screwed on. 

- Remove the existing fabric, it’s usually stapled on.

- Lay a piece of fabric on a table slightly larger than seat, about 4 inches on all sides 

- Start from the middle and staple the fabric on the back. Make sure to pull the fabric tight and smooth. Do this step in the middle on all four sides. Work your way out to the corners. The corners are the trickiest part. You kind of have to pleat them. 

Then just reattach the seat and your done!

Click here for instructions from HGTV on how to recover a dining room chair. 

It was also perfect to use Revolution Performance Fabric for the chairs, because I don't have to worry about any spills or my cats taking a cat nap in a seat!

Next time you doubt yourself, remember "you got this!"

geo 4.jpeg
Geo 1.jpeg

The Path of Least Resistance

When STI introduced Revolution Performance Fabrics three years ago, by far the easiest path would have been to apply a PFC (Poly Fluorinated Chemical) finish. The combination of the inherent cleanability of polypropylene combined with a finish that “beads” water and other liquids would have been the simplest way to go. People associate liquids beading with performance fabric and it definitely creates a WOW factor when you see a demonstration. Frankly, in the beginning it was an uphill battle to sell a performance fabric that didn't repel liquids.

Another reason applying a PFC finish would have been the path of least resistance, is that very few people in general or even in the fabric business, have any idea that there are serious issues with PFCs. Why point out a problem that so few people know about?

The companies selling PFC treated products make claims like “absolutely zero risk”, “100% safe” and one even said the chemicals are as “safe as the fluoride in your toothpaste”! These are reputable people and companies making these claims so most people assume that they're telling the truth. 

That brings up another reason that treating our fabrics with PFCs would have been much easier. The people and companies selling treated fabrics aren't happy with me for spreading the message that PFCs warrant serious concern and are being investigated by scientists around the world for safety. I’ve been accused of “making stuff up” and a few choice words have even been thrown my way.

I am not a scientist, much less a chemist, and have never claimed to be. I’ve never made statements that are my opinion, I've only stated the facts. All I have done is point people to the research that has already been done and is ongoing by independent scientists all over the world.

Apparently, one of the things I “made up” is the Madrid Statement that was signed by several hundred of the worlds top scientists in 2015 (click here to read the list of signatories) calling for a number of actions related to all PFCs. Please note who signed the document and where they work; why in the world would we listen to the chemical companies who misled us for decades about the dangers of C8 and disregard the work of independent scientists? The answer is simple: there are no replacements that work as well as PFCs for stain resistance. The industry has spent decades trying to develop replacements that basically use silicone, wax, oil or some combination of the three, but I’m not aware of any that work as well as PFC; hence the extreme reluctance to stop using it.

So why did we decide to take an approach that is clearly more difficult? Quite simply, it is the right thing to do.

In 2000 we applied PFCs to our fabric when a customer requested it. When 3M pulled Scotchgard from the market in 2000 under pressure from the US Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA - read full story here), and all the US based producers of C8 agreed to phase out US production by 2015, the management team at STI decided we didn’t want to expose our workers, community and customers to these chemicals. Instead, we viewed the “short chain” replacements that were rushed to market after 2000 has basically the same chemistry, bonding Fluorine and Carbon. Scientists call replacing one toxin with a very similar chemical “regrettable substitution”. Contrary to industry claims, these were not thoroughly tested because the EPA doesn’t require them to be and there wasn’t enough time. Besides, the chemical companies are not even required to tell the EPA the names or formulas of these new chemicals under the shield of Confidential Business Information (CBI).

In 2012, two EPA scientists Mark Strynar and Andrew Lindstrom, went to the Cape Fear River in North Carolina looking for C8 near a Chemours plant. The scientists did not know what Chemours, a DuPont spinoff, had used to replace C8 and whether these new chemicals were entering the river, which is a source of drinking water for much of Southeast North Carolina. The scientists found 12 new PFCs in the river and had no idea what they were. It took a team of 10 scientists from 5 different institutions using a mass spectrometer more than a year to identify the chemicals. Stynar and Lindstrom wrote in response to Susan Lerner at The Intercept that “a new generation of replacement compounds is now out in the environment. These chemicals likely had the same chemical performance properties of the older generation of PFCs, like C8. This would also suggest that their toxicity and environmental persistence are likely to be similar as well." (source: Susan Lerner, The Intercept March 3, 2016 “A Chemical Shell Game”)

At the most recent High Point Market I saw several new performance brands that either use non-fluoridated treatments or use polypropylene like Revolution. I welcome these new brands and especially the growing awareness that there are serious concerns with the entire class of PFCs.

In the end, I am so glad that we chose the right path even though it has been more difficult. The short chain replacements are already spreading throughout the biosphere just like the legacy C8 pollution and they’ll be with us FOREVER!

By the way, production of C8 didn’t stop in 2015, it just moved to places like China and India. It is also NOT ILLEGAL to sell C8 on products in the United States currently. I find this very concerning, and we will continue to sound the alarm even if it makes us very unpopular with segments of the textile and chemical industries.

Susan Lerner’s series in The Intercept can be found online here. It is thoroughly researched and well documented. I highly recommend reading it if your interested in PFCs. She also has a recent op-ed in the New York Times about short chain replacements that you can read here.

The Green Science Policy Institute is a great source of information on PFCs and 5 other classes of chemicals of concern. I highly recommend reading “Fluorinated Chemicals: Myths vs. Facts” and watching their video on fluorinated chemicals. These are only two sources of information, but there are MANY more.

The fluorochemical industry has their version of reality online as well. I’ve read a lot of it, but frankly have a hard time trusting an industry that has done so much damage for decades with C8 in places like West Virginia ($671 million fine for DuPont, for more info read here and here) and Minnesota ($850 million fine for 3M, for more info read here and here). These chemicals have literally spread all over the world after only 70 years of production. Every person reading this blog has C8 in your blood, it will be there for years and you were never given a choice.

- Sean Gibbons, CEO of Revolution Performance Fabrics

Performance Fabrics: Performance Yarns or Chemical Treatments?

One of the most important properties of a performance fabric is that the fabric is cleanable. There are only two ways to achieve cleanability: start with a yarn that is inherently stain resistant or apply a stain repellent finish.

  Above:  Since Olefin contains no dye sites, even mustard and ketchup can't stain Revolution.

Above: Since Olefin contains no dye sites, even mustard and ketchup can't stain Revolution.

Solution dyed polypropylene, also called Olefin, is the only yarn for upholstery and couch fabric that is inherently stain resistant. Olefin cannot be dyed using traditional methods that use water because it has no “dye sites” and won’t stain. Olefin can’t be printed on or dyed in water like polyester, acrylic, nylon or natural fibers like cotton, rayon, hemp and bamboo. That’s why Revolution is one of very few fabrics that can stand up to permanent marker and mustard! To learn more about Olefin, click here

All Revolution fabrics are solution dyed, also known as “dope dying”. In this process, pigments are mixed in the liquid polymer and literally become part of the yarn. The other synthetic upholstery fibers like acrylic, polyester and nylon can also be solution dyed, but they are still stainable unless they are treated with stain repellent chemicals, most often Polyfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs). Cotton and acrylic are so easy to dye that you can literally dye them in your sink....the easier a fiber is to dye, the more stainable it is. Fibers like polyester and nylon require a lot of heat (energy) and pressure, but are still dyed in water.

  Above:  Revolution Chenille yarns

Above: Revolution Chenille yarns

Many companies suggest that their fabrics are cleanable because of solution dyed yarns. This is very misleading. Unless the fabric is Olefin, this claim is untrue, but the average person wouldn’t know that.

For example, a friend’s wife recently visited three furniture stores. At all three she was shown two very well known performance brands, Sunbrella™ and Crypton™. When she told the retail sales associates that she didn’t want those brands because they’re treated with PFC chemicals, all three sales associates said that wasn’t true and said the cleanability came from the yarn, not a treatment. This is totally false.

Sunbrella's website tells the consumer what to buy to “re-treat” the fabric when the original PFCs wear off. Crypton™ admits that they use a PFC C6 finish, but claim that their process makes it impossible to wear off. There’s no proof given as to why it won't wear off...I guess we’re supposed to take their word for it?

I’ve been in textiles for over 30 years, and spoken to several expert textile chemists....they all agree with me that textile finishes wear off over time and especially after cleaning. In fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) just released a report about PFC's that states, “hand to mouth transfer from surfaces treated with stain protectors, such as carpets, is thought to be the most significant source of exposure for infants and toddlers" (Green Science Policy Institute Newsletter, May 31, 2018). I don’t see why exposure to treated upholstery would be any different.

Other producers of PFC treated fabrics like Live Smart™ by Culp™, say that the chemicals completely permeate the fabric because they are applied to the yarn or the fabric is run through a “bath” and totally submerged. Both of these processes have been used for years and neither is new, innovative or going to stop the finish being released into the atmosphere through direct contact or breaking down over time into household dust.

As I noted in my last blog, "The Path of Least Resistance",  it was great to see several new PFC free fabrics introduced at the High Point Furniture Market in April. Milliken™ introduced Breathe, a “fluorine free, plant-based" product that makes natural fiber like cotton and linen and recycled polyester cleanable. The company insists this is not a treatment, but part of the yarn... huh!?

Any woman who has owned white jeans or anything linen, knows how prone these fibers are to staining. If it’s not a treatment, how’d it get there? Did they feed the chemicals to the cotton and flax plants? Is there some new GMO version of these plants? I seriously doubt it. Recycled polyester will also stain without treatment, so I have the same questions relative to that claim.

“Plant based” sounds like total greenwashing to me, because it really tells me nothing. Ethanol is plant based, but I don’t want it on my sofa. I also question what solvent is used since they DON’T claim the treatment (that isn’t a treatment) is water based; if it was, I feel certain they would tout it. There is no fluorine in the product, but have they simply made a “regrettable substitution” of other halogens like chlorine or bromine? I have no idea. Greenwashing like this is rampant in our industry, and I’m afraid it will be with us forever, just like PFCs.

Check out the organic yogurt section of your grocery store next time you’re there. Look at the bottom of a container. Every one will have the triangle with “5” inside it and PP. The material used to make the yogurt container is exactly what we use to make Revolution, because polypropylene is considered one of the safest types of plastics

I encourage people to fact check everything from independent sources. If you do, I believe you’ll at least think twice about buying treated fabrics and other products that claim to be “green,” but don’t give you any real information about what’s in them.

- Sean Gibbons, CEO of Revolution Performance Fabrics

*To learn more about how Revolution performance fabrics are made and the steps we take to lessen our impact on the environment, please watch the video below.

Clean Slate

brentwood 1.jpg

We just finished Showtime, a twice a year fabric show in High Point, North Carolina. We have tallied our requests for samples... we have listened to customer feedback... we know which styles were the most popular. This doesn’t always tell us 100% what is going to sell, but you know the consensus of which constructions, price points and looks that customers are responding to. We did write a few orders so that gives further information on preferred colors and combinations.

After Showtime is when we work on special projects with customers; such as color work, correlate patterns and merchandise collections of fabrics. We also start planning for our next line and try to build on the successes from the past line. We are working on new innovative developments that require new yarns and colors.

To find inspiration for the new line, we research trends in the home, browse shelter magazines, read blogs, search Pinterest and Instagram and shop retail stores. Visiting art studios is a great way to find inspiration as well. We need to know what we are shopping for, but it’s weird because you kinda know it when you see it! It’s your subconscious letting you know that doing your research pays off. 

This is the beginning of our December 2018 line. It’s time to clean off the walls and start fresh. Time for a clean slate... of course with a few successful formulas written back up!

brentwood 3.jpeg

It's in the Bag!

We have a tradition of making a give-away for our fabric show, Showtime, out of our Revolution performance fabric. We’ve made tote bags and cosmetic bags. This year we have made a bag out of a circular jacquard. The original design was made for last Showtime and was inspired by the total eclipse. "Eclipse" was a larger pattern, about 24 inches with a repeat of 27 inches. We had a customer who wanted to buy the fabric, but needed the layout and scale altered to fit their needs. We made the adjustments to the size and half dropped the design. The re-engineered design is called “Phases”. We are offering it to all of our customers, but others may prefer the altered scale!

Showtime starts next weekend. We are working on all the preparations... making samples, setting up the showroom, double checking appointments, preparing check off sheets, etc.

This is an exciting tome for us. We love the synergy and collaboration of Showtime!

brentwood bag 3.jpeg

Instagram Anniversary

Next week is our first anniversary of Brentwood Textiles being on Instagram. It has been better than expected to be a part of Instagram as a brand.

It has so many benefits:

- our customers can get a glimpse of new product introductions and our design sense

- we can show how our fabrics can be used

- we can be inspired by creativity all over the world and then share what we find!

- we can understand our customers brand better

The Instagram world is a free exchange of ideas mainly in a visual format. We find that when we go to markets and shows, borderline strangers can know you and have a good understanding of who we are as a brand and company just from our Instagram profile!

We also have forged some exciting new relationships with designers and influencers. These relationships can be mutually beneficial.

Here are some pictures of some of our more popular/favorite posts. They represent product, collaboration with designers and inspiration from others posts!

We would love for you to follow us, @brentwoodtextiles

Proposte 2018

It’s hard to know where to begin... I guess at the beginning! We recently went to Italy for the fabric show, Proposte.

It was my first time being in Italy and attending Proposte. When we arrived to Lake Como, the beauty of the area was inspirational and overwhelming. Adding to that, the creativity of the European mills was very inspiring; the colors, color combinations, pattern and texture was valuable. We found some new mills, met with existing suppliers and found some exciting new patterns we bought on the spot! Being in that environment got the creativity going. We have several projects started for our next line that we will introduce at December 2018 Showtime.

At the end of the show we met with friends who are also customers, which was so cool! We shared what we saw and found. The customers shared what fabric they bought. It was perfect synergy!

From Lake Como, I traveled to Milan. Oh my! I see now why it’s called the fashion capital of the world. There was inspiration everywhere! I could have spent several more days there because we didn’t have time to see everything on our list. The AirBnB we stayed in was right in the Brera design district. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves! But, if you can’t tell, the inspiration from this trip will be with for a long time, if not forever.

To learn more about Proposte, visit their website: http://www.propostefair.it/?lang=en

Above: Photos of Lake Como, Italy

Above: Photos of Proposte location! (bottom left corner is a showroom)

Below: Photos from Milan!

IMG_1645.JPG
IMG_1734.JPG
IMG_1866.JPG

High Point Furniture Market Spring 2018

 The STI/Revolution Design team seeing some of their designs come to life in High Point!

The STI/Revolution Design team seeing some of their designs come to life in High Point!

This Spring's 2018 Furniture Market was a great success for Revolution fabrics! All of our customers showcased some beautiful pieces of furniture. It's always exciting to see our fabrics applied and hear the positive reactions that come from our customers' customers!

Some of the new trends we saw at this season's market included:

- Faux fur (plush white, fleece look)

- Bold greens 

- Color stories of orange and red (ranging from bold, pumpkin oranges to deep reds)

- Novelty (pillows, accent chairs and ottomans with cats, dogs, birds and even llamas!)

- Bright colored pillows on a beige or white sofa

- Global 

*Check out the photos below of a small selection of all the amazing Revolution we saw at High Point!

Scandinavian Country

This collection started with one original idea and piece of art. This artwork appealed to us because of the emerging trend of 'Scandinavian Country'. The artwork is also paying homage to the hot trend of using decorative tile. We pulled out small patterns from the collage to be allovers:

 Scandinavian Artwork

Scandinavian Artwork

- allover flower

- wedding ring pattern

And did some classics to round it out:

- check

- toss paisley

Lifestyle, relaxed casual, farmhouse, country are other buzz words to describe this collection. Today we are naming the patterns... that sounds easy but it can be difficult, because it can’t be a name that has already been used.

This collection can work as a bedding group or furniture collection.

 Scandinavian Country inspired design in Revolution Plus!

Scandinavian Country inspired design in Revolution Plus!