There is such a huge range in the costs for fabric on the market today that it can be very confusing to the general public. It is important to understand how the textiles market works. Fabrics are used for many different applications these days, even within the home-goods industry, such as upholstery, drapery, bedding, accessories and other uses in your home. The fabric industry works in a similar way to the fashion industry.
Some textiles are developed by well-known designers. They are exclusive to the person who created it, and as a result of their uniqueness and the name on their label they tend to be much more expensive than typical fabrics. As a rule, this is not because the fabric is special, but because of the aforementioned factors. We have all seen some designer garments walk down the runway, or be featured in a magazine that carry outlandish price-tags. Most of us think to ourselves, “Who is buying that dress for $4,000 dollars?” Obviously, some people desire the exclusivity of the item and are willing to pay the full cost of it, maybe only as a status symbol. In home fashion, it can be the same situation.
Some designer fabrics claim costs upwards of $500 per yard. For this cost, usually there are some special embellishments, high cost labor or materials, but a great part of that cost is the name or brand on the tag.
Recently, I had a client who told me that she wanted a very specific fabric. I had access to it from my suppliers so I checked on the price for her. It was $280 per yard. When we figured how much material she needed, in this case, 18 yards, we reassessed the matter and found a very similar fabric from another company for around $50 per yard. What was the difference in the two fabrics? One was a designer fabric in an exclusive pattern. The other was a more widespread pattern which is manufactured in a much higher quantity for distribution to various suppliers throughout the country. The one major difference in the two fabrics was the size of the repeat. This is one major difference between designer and standard fabrics.
Typically, the width of a roll of fabric is 54”, however there are exceptions to this rule: some rolls are 60”, others are 48”. On a large pattern, textile designers figure that if they make the pattern divisible by the size of the width, there will be less waste. For example, a 27” repeat is the pattern repeated two times as it crosses 54” roll. A 13 ½” repeat will have four patterns across, and so on. In the designer lines, they tend to ignore these rules and will have sometimes significantly larger repeats of sizes like 33”, 36” or even the whole width of the material, like 54”. The impact of these large patterns is where the costs can be worth the extra expense. The pattern becomes MUCH more prominent, and the impact to the design of the room is quite evident.
The typical fabric used for custom work such as draperies and bedding is around $40 per yard. The range of costs is normally from about $20 to $75 per yard. Upholstery fabric is manufactured in order to handle more abuse and therefore usually runs a bit more. Typically they range from $25 to $120 a yard.
The fabric you should use is dependent on your specific circumstances and design needs. Feel free to contact a qualified designer to see how they can help you to find the perfect solution.