Everything you need to know about synthetic and blended fabrics

Navigate your way through fabric options like a pro with our ultimate shopper’s guide to synthetic and blended fabrics 



A synthetic fibre derived from petroleum which can replicate any texture.

Cost: $50 per metre.
Best for: Cushion covers, small upholstery projects and as a durable lining for curtains.

+ Durable and strong

+ Will not absorb moisture
+ Pre-shrunk and resists stretching and creasing
+ Not damaged by mildew or sunlight
+ Non-allergenic

+ Environmentally unfriendly to produce

+ Tends to pill
+ Doesn’t breathe so not ideal for upholstery
+ Vulnerable to snagging and punctures
+ Shiny finish


This synthetic fibre was developed to imitate wool. It’s produced as a long fibre before being cut into short lengths similar to wool and spun into a yarn.

Cost: $46 per metre.
Best for: Upholstery, blinds and curtains.

+ Resists stretching, wrinkling, soiling and fading

+ Soft and warm feel
+ Durable and colourfast
+ Machine washable
+ Hypoallergenic and moth-proof

+ Flammable

+ Pilling can occur in low-quality acrylic
+ Derived from petroleum and environmentally unfriendly to produce
+ Not as warm as wool



Velvet is made from cut threads spread in a short, dense and even manner, giving it a very soft, smooth feel. Velvet is traditionally made with silk or cotton, but there are semi-synthetic versions (blended with polyester) now available.

Cost: 100 percent cotton velvet $110 per metre, semi-synthetic $85 per metre.
Best for: Cushions, curtains, throws and everyday upholstery.

Polyester mix

Polyester is blended with cotton or linen, offering you the best of both worlds.

Cost: $50 per metre.
Best for: Soft furnishings such as sheets and pillowcases, quilts, duvet and cushion covers, blankets and throws.

+ A greener choice
+ A more natural look and feel
+ Breathable
+ Heat retardant

+ Wool blends may pill
+ Less resilient to creasing
+ Blending lessens practical qualities

Words by: Annick Larkin and Shelley Ferguson. Photography by: Toaki Okano.

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