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There are several things to consider when buying chenille upholstery, such as what the fabric will be used for, how it will be used, and fabric care. Before discussing these issues, it is useful to know what it is and how it is manufactured.
The word “chenille” refers to the process by which the fabric is made. Short lengths of fabric are wrapped around a core of yarn, which gives the fabric its characteristic pile or tufted look. Originally from France, chenille fabrics have been produced since the 18th century. Chenille upholstery is often patterned with designs that alternate smooth and tufted surfaces, and may incorporate multiple colors.
Chenille is used to cover furniture and for draperies. It is perhaps most widely known as a material for quilts and bedspreads. Patterned chenille bedspreads were very popular in the mid-20th century and retain some of this popularity today. The upholstery is made of a variety of textiles including cotton, rayon, polyester and olefin. Most chenille upholstery fabrics are made from a blend of cotton, rayon and polyester fibers and require dry cleaning. Cotton chenille may be hand or machine washed, but should be dried flat.