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Quilting Fabric for Upholstery? Pros, Cons, and Tips for a Cozy Refresh (2024)

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quilting fabric be used upholsteryYes, quilting fabric can absolutely be utilized for upholstery.

This versatile material offers exceptional durability thanks to its tightly woven fibers, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas.

Don’t let its breathability and wide range of prints deceive you – quilting fabric possesses impressive abrasion resistance.

If you’re looking to add a cozy, personalized touch to your living space, consider embracing the realm of quilting fabric for upholstery.

Just be sure to assess factors like weight and stiffness to guarantee a comfortable fit.

Intrigued? Let’s explore the possibilities further.

Key Takeaways

  • Quilting fabric may lack the durability for heavily used upholstered pieces, but its versatility, breathability, and endless colors make it a charming option for low-traffic areas or occasional seating. Think of it as the charismatic cousin that adds flair without compromising comfort!
  • Upholstery fabrics like canvas or twill are the sturdy, no-nonsense MVPs for high-traffic upholstery projects. Their abrasion and stain resistance ensure your cozy creations can withstand life’s messiest moments with grace.
  • When it comes to batting options, quilt batting provides a lightweight, puffy embrace, while upholstery batting and foam offer dense, long-lasting support – the perfect balance between pillowy softness and resilient durability.
  • Pre-washing, stabilizing, and properly finishing your quilted upholstery are the secret ingredients to a long-lasting masterpiece. It’s like giving your cozy creation a suit of armor to withstand the trials of daily life, ensuring it remains vibrant and inviting for years to come.

Fabric Considerations

Fabric Considerations
When considering using quilting fabrics for upholstery, you’ll want to assess the weight and stiffness of the material to make sure it’s suitable for the intended use. Lighter-weight quilting cottons may not offer enough durability for high-traffic areas, while stiffer fabrics could create an uncomfortable seating experience, so it’s important to balance softness and strength.

Fabric Weight Suitability

The fabric’s weight is essential for quilting upholstery. Lightweight options like quilting cotton allow for easy stitching but may lack durability. Heavy fabrics, such as upholstery-grade materials, offer strength but require heavier needles and stitches. Stiff materials can pose challenges, while some fabrics melt under high heat, posing a hazard for potholders or placemats.

Washability and Fading

You’ll want to assess washability concerns too. While quilting cotton is durable, upholstery fabrics may fade or bleed over time. Test colorfastness on scraps before committing. Consider fabric treatments to lock in dyes or use linings for added protection. With proper planning and dita von teese flair, you can create vibrant pieces that withstand life’s adventures.

Stiffness and Needles

You’ll need a heavy-duty needle to stitch through stiff upholstery fabrics‘ thickness. Their abrasion and stain resistance makes them ideal for high-traffic areas, but the stiffness means adjusting your quilting techniques. Consider using a denim or upholstery needle and lengthening your stitch for these hardy materials.

Quilting Cotton

Quilting Cotton
You might be wondering if quilting cotton, often used for bed quilts and other decorative projects, can hold up to the demands of upholstery.

While quilting cotton has some advantages like a wide range of fun prints and decent durability, it may not be the best choice for heavily used upholstered pieces due to its lighter weight and lack of abrasion resistance.

Pros and Cons

You can’t go wrong with quilting cotton‘s versatility! It’s affordable, breathable, and comes in endless colors and patterns. But it may lack the durability for heavy-duty upholstery. While quilting cotton has charm, upholstery fabrics like canvas offer superior abrasion and stain resistance for those high-traffic areas. Weigh your options wisely.


Quilting cotton’s durability lies in its tightly woven fibers, providing:

  1. Exceptional abrasion resistance
  2. Impressive stain resilience
  3. Long-lasting vibrancy
  4. Comfort through years of use

Though lightweight, quilting cotton upholds its shape under pressure, ensuring your upholstery project endures frequent use without compromising quality.


Quilting cotton may fade or change texture after frequent washing. Here’s what to expect:

Quality New After Washing
Colors Vibrant May Fade
Feel Crisp Softer
Durability High Moderate

You’ll need to balance washability with durability. Consider using upholstery fabric for high-traffic areas, while quilting cotton adds coziness to occasional seating.

Canvas Fabrics

Canvas Fabrics
Canvas fabrics can make an excellent choice for quilted upholstery projects. Their durability and tight weave give them an advantage in high-traffic areas, resisting wear and tear better than some quilting cottons.


Canvas fabrics come in various types: cotton (lightweight to heavyweight), linen (durable but pricey), and polyester (affordable, wrinkle-resistant). Consider these three factors:

  1. Durability – Canvas withstands wear better than quilting cotton.
  2. Washability – Cotton and linen can shrink; polyester holds shape.
  3. Stiffness – Heavier canvas needs backing for upholstery projects.

Its hardy nature makes canvas a fantastic choice for durable, long-lasting upholstery pieces.


Canvas fabrics offer exceptional durability, making them ideal for high-traffic areas. Their tight weave and sturdy construction resist wear and tear, ensuring your upholstered pieces stand the test of time. Plus, you’ll find canvas in a wide range of colors and patterns, allowing you to express your creativity while sourcing fabrics that perfectly complement your space.


While canvas fabrics are durable, their stiffness can pose challenges for quilting projects, potentially requiring specialized needles. Additionally, fading from sun exposure is a concern for outdoor use. Thankfully, many canvas options are washable, addressing stain removal needs. Ultimately, carefully consider your project’s intended usage to make certain canvas meets your fabric requirements.

Upholstery Fabrics

Upholstery Fabrics
When considering upholstery fabrics for quilting projects, you’ll want to evaluate their weight, thickness, and durability. Heavier upholstery fabrics offer excellent abrasion and stain resistance, making them well-suited for high-traffic areas like seats and sofas.

Weight and Thickness

For upholstery projects, the weight and thickness of your fabric selection are fundamental. Upholstery fabrics typically possess substantial weight and density, providing:

  • Firm support for high-traffic areas
  • Exceptional longevity and resistance to fading
  • A range of textures from smooth to textured

With choices appropriate for both indoor and outdoor use, upholstery weight fabrics offer versatile solutions for creating durable, cozy pieces.

Abrasion Resistance

You’ll want an upholstery fabric that resists abrasion from frequent use. Opt for dense, tightly woven fabrics with a high thread count – these stand up better to friction and wear over time. Leather or microfiber upholstery also offer excellent abrasion resistance for those high-traffic areas.

Stain Resistance

Upholstery fabrics offer exceptional stain resistance, making them perfect for high-traffic areas. Their colorfastness and bleach resistance guarantee vibrant hues, while water resistance shields against spills. Additionally, you’ll appreciate fade resistance from harsh sunlight, guaranteeing your quilted beauty remains radiant for years to come. Embrace upholstery fabrics for a cozy, low-maintenance refresh!

Batting Options

Batting Options
When quilting fabric for upholstery projects, you’ll need to carefully evaluate the batting options. Quilt batting provides loft and softness, while upholstery batting and foam offer increased durability and support for long-lasting seating comfort.

Quilt Batting

Quilt batting offers lightweight comfort for quilted upholstery projects. For a puffy, quilted look, choose a low-loft cotton batting. Polyester battings provide warmth without bulk. Consider fusing a thin interfacing for extra stability. Experiment with texture combinations by layering different battings.

Upholstery Batting

You’ll find upholstery batting helps create a soft, cushiony feel for your quilted chair. Opt for a high-loft batting – its thickness provides cush while allowing the fabric’s design to shine. Layer batting with a sturdy quilt back like canvas for extra durability. The combo of batting layers and a canvas quilt back guarantees your chair withstands wear and tear.


For dense cushioning, opt for thicker, high-density foam. It offers superior durability and support but can feel stiff initially. Consider open-cell foam for breathability and a softer feel. Though not washable, foam is easy to spot-clean. Carefully measure your chair to ascertain the right thickness and density for ideal comfort and longevity.

Preparing Fabric

Preparing Fabric
When using quilting fabrics for upholstery projects, pre-washing the fabric is essential to prevent future shrinkage or fading. Stabilizing the fabric with a fusible interfacing or backing material will add strength and durability, ensuring your newly upholstered furniture can withstand the wear and tear of daily use.


Pre-washing your fabrics is essential before quilting upholstery. It:

  • Prevents shrinkage after upholstering
  • Removes excess dye to avoid color bleeding
  • Allows you to plan patchwork with precise measurements
  • Lets you test if the fabric can withstand washing

Choose fabrics wisely and always pre-wash them to guarantee a long-lasting, vibrant upholstered quilt.


After pre-washing, you’ll want to stabilize your fabrics. This keeps them from stretching or distorting during quilting. Here are some stabilizing options:

Stabilizer Description
Fused interfacing Adds body and crispness
Fusible webbing Lightweight, iron-on stabilizer
Starch Temporary stiffener, washes out

Apply heat to fuse or bond these stabilizers to your fabric before cutting and piecing.


Once you’ve stabilized your quilt top, it’s time for the backing. Choose a sturdy fabric that can handle tension and wear. Upholstery fabrics work great or opt for a coordinating quilting cotton. Iron the backing smooth, then attach it securely using fusible webbing or basting spray for a crisp finish.

Sewing Techniques

Sewing Techniques
When quilting upholstery fabric, pay close attention to your seam allowances – a slightly wider 1/2" seam helps account for the thicker materials and prevents fraying. Choosing the right thread is critical; opt for a strong, densely twisted upholstery thread that can withstand the tension and friction of upholstered surfaces.

Seam Allowances

You’ll want to pay close attention to seam width, as quilted upholstery requires sturdy seams. Consider using:

  1. 1/2" seam allowance for thick fabrics
  2. 3/8" seam allowance for lightweight materials
  3. Larger needle sizes for dense upholstery fabrics
  4. Reinforced stitching in high-stress areas

Keep fabric density and proper needle/thread pairings in mind for durable, long-lasting results.

Thread Choice

For upholstery quilts, choose a heavy-duty thread that can withstand tension and fraying. Its strength guarantees your stitches won’t break, even with heavy use. Consider a durable polyester or nylon thread, matched to your fabric’s color for a seamless finish. Properly adjusting tension prevents puckering – a small tweak makes a big difference!

Quilting Patterns

You’ll also want to think about the quilting pattern for your upholstery project. Here are some tips:

  • Pattern selection impacts the final look and feel
  • Explore color combinations that complement your space
  • Play with texture contrasts for visual interest
  • Choose quilting motifs that suit your chair’s design
  • Sashing choices can add structure or whimsy

The right quilting pattern can elevate a simple upholstery project to a masterpiece.

Finishing Touches

Finishing Touches
After quilting your fabric pieces into a beautiful new cover, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Trim any excess fabric neatly, then securely attach the quilted upholstery using a staple gun, being careful to keep it taut and smooth as you work your way around cushions or chair frames.

Trimming Excess

Once your quilt top is pieced, you’ll need to trim any excess fabric extending beyond the batting or foam. Use sharp fabric scissors or a rotary cutter for precise cuts. For a neat finish, consider hemming with bias tape or creating knife-edge pleats along the trim line. A bias facing neatly encloses raw edges.

Securing Fabric

With your quilt top secured, you’ll want to maintain tension while stapling the fabric to the wooden base. Use a heavy-duty stapler and evenly spaced staples to prevent wrinkles or stretching. For corners, tuck and fold fabric neatly to create crisp edges without bunching. Heavy-duty upholstery staples guarantee a smooth, wrinkle-free finish.

Cushion Covers

While securing the quilt top, consider creating cushion covers with coordinating fabrics. Choose a cushion thickness and batting density that complements the upholstery fabric’s texture. Quilting stitches can enhance the design, adding visual interest. Color coordinate cushions for a cohesive look that invites cozy lounging.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you upholster with quilting cotton?

Let’s say you’re reupholstering grandma’s armchair – quilting cotton is too delicate and prone to fraying for this heavy-duty job. You’ll want a sturdier upholstery fabric that can withstand daily wear and tear.

Can cotton canvas fabric be used for upholstery?

Yes, cotton canvas is an excellent upholstery fabric choice. It’s durable, easy to clean, and adds cozy texture. Just select a tight weave and heavy-duty thread for long-lasting upholstery projects.

Can you use any fabric to reupholster a chair?

You can reupholster a chair using various fabrics, but not all fabrics are ideal. Consider durability, stretch, and thickness for the intended use. Upholstery-weight fabrics like canvas or twill provide durability and longevity.

Is quilt batting the same as upholstery batting?

Envision a warm quilt, its plush layers cocooning you in comfort. Now, picture upholstering a worn armchair with that same cushiony embrace. Though similar in softness, quilt and upholstery battings differ in their intended applications.

How durable are quilted upholstery fabrics for everyday use?

Quilted upholstery fabrics offer excellent durability for everyday use. The dense quilting adds cushioning and helps fabrics withstand wear. You’ll enjoy cozy comfort without sacrificing long-lasting style.

Can quilted upholstery pieces be easily cleaned or maintained?

About 40% of upholstery fabrics are cleanable. You’ll want to check care labels, use mild detergents, and air-dry quilted pieces to maintain their beauty. Regular vacuuming helps too! With some know-how, quilted upholstery can look fresh for years.

What is the expected lifespan of quilted upholstery fabric?

With proper care, quilted upholstery fabric can last 5-10 years. Regularly vacuum and rotate cushions to prevent uneven wear. Spot clean stains promptly. For heavy soiling, professional cleaning may extend its life.

Are quilted upholstery fabrics suitable for outdoor furniture?

Quilted upholstery fabrics dance with vibrant hues, but outdoor living? A delicate waltz – they may fade or fray in nature’s temperamental embrace. Seek sturdy, weather-resistant partners for your alfresco seating soirée.

Are there any safety considerations for quilted upholstery fabrics?

Yes, guarantee the fabrics are flame-retardant and avoid using materials that could be hazardous if ingested by children or pets. Safety should always come first when upholstering furniture.


Quilting fabric for upholstery transforms your living space into a cozy haven, its tightly woven fibers inviting you to relax amidst personalized patterns. By carefully considering fabric weight, washability, and batting options, you’ll create durable, vibrant pieces that withstand life’s adventures. Embrace the potential of quilting fabric for upholstery, and infuse your home with warmth and character.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.