What is Chenille Fabric? A Complete Guide

Since chenille is a great fabric for home decor items, you may often get recommendations from others to use it.

But other than this, do you know what chenille is made of, how it feels, how you should clean the fabric and things like these?

What is Chenille Fabric

Don’t worry if your answers are negative, this article contains everything you want to know about the fabric.

Getting back to a more fundamental question, what is chenille fabric?

Chenille is a soft, highly durable fabric that is mostly used in home decors. It has a fuzzy texture because of its unique weaving technique of wrapping short-length yarns between two core yarns. It can be made out of pure cotton or a blend of silk, wool, polyester, etc.

Now to know more, let’s keep scrolling.

What is Chenille Fabric?

The name Chennile comes from a French word that means Caterpillar.

The reason for this name is that it resembles the fuzzy exterior of a caterpillar. Chenille fabric is made by piling the threads on purpose to create the yarn that creates the fuzzy texture.

Chenille usually refers to fabric but chenille yarns are also quite popular in quilting and the yarns are called “faux chenille”. The fabric is widely popular for its softness.

Chenille Fabric

Mainly this fabric has two types, one is for utility purposes like towels, robes, and baby items that are made of 100% cotton, and the other type which is a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers is widely used as home decor items like, drapes, upholstery, and window treatments.

In the manner of fashion, chenille is a relatively new addition to the fabric industry.

A fabric mill foreman named Alexander Buchanan was the first person to turn chenille yarn into the fabric to make shawls in 1830 in Scotland. Since then, the fabric became a favorite to lots of people for its soft, fuzzy texture.

What is Chenille Made of?

As we mentioned, chenille fabric is made by twisting threads. It is stronger than most other fabrics out there.

What is Chenille Fabric Made of

Chenille is a fabric made of different kinds of natural fibers or in-between or synthetic fibers like cotton, wool, silk, rayon. It can be made of pure cotton as well. But pure cotton chenille has its own advantages and disadvantages.

So, most of the time it is made with cotton and a mixture of some synthetic materials like rayon, olefin, polyester, acrylic.

Now you may wonder, how is chenille fabric made, and what makes it different from other fabrics made out of cotton?

Chenille has a unique weaving technique. The first chenille yarn was made in France by twisting two warp threads around the weft thread. This method is called the Leno method.

However, the method has improved over time. Now the twisting technique is trickier and low melt nylon is used to avoid bare patches in the fabric.

Read Next: Learn More About Acrylic Fabric

What Does Chenille Feel Like?

As per the name Chenille, this fabric has a nice fuzzy texture like a caterpillar.

What Does Chenille Feel Like

Chenille is very soft to feel. The fabric is made by wrapping short-length yarns referred to as piles, between two core yarns. The resulting pile makes a very soft piece of fabric that gives a plushy, comfy feel. That’s why it makes great materials for winter.

Some people may say it feels almost like velvet fabric.

What Does Chenille Look Like?

What Does Chenille Look Like

With a nice texture like a fuzzy caterpillar, the chenille has a velvety look but is not quite similar. It is termed as “poor man’s velvet”.

Reason for saying it is, chenille can appear iridescent without actually using any iridescent fibers. The slick look of this fabric can bring elegance to your furnishing.

Is Chenille Durable?

Yes, the fabric is highly durable. Chenille is an ideal fabric for furnishing your home because of its quality.

Is Chenille Durable

While making this fabric, crafters use low melt nylon so that the yarn loops don’t get loose and create bare patches in the fabric. This technique ensures a long life of chenille and for this durable feature, it makes a great fabric for home furniture.  

Is Chenille Soft?

Yes, it is Soft. Because of the weaving pattern of the chenille, it has a very soft-to-touch feeling.

Is Chenille Soft

The yarns are intertwined yarns creating a fuzzy, plushy texture that makes the fabric soft and comfy. If you are looking for soft, cozy fabric, you might wanna check out this one.

Is Chenille Warm?

Yes, it provides insulation which helps you keep warm in nippy weather.

Is Chenille Warm

And, chenille sweaters are a great fashion choice because it protects you from the cold without making the fabric bulky. And chenille blankets, comforters are already very familiar for the soft, cozy feeling.

Is Chenille Good for Upholstery?

Yes, the high durability feature makes the chenille a perfect fabric for upholstery.

Is Chenille Good for Upholstery

And, the fabric provides a slick look that adds elegance to your furnishing. It comes in different vivid colors. So, you can contrast the colors with your room background to pop out the look of your living room.  

Is Chenille Good for Dogs?

No, it will not be a good choice for furnishing if you own a dog or any kind of pet with claws.

Is Chenille Good for Dogs

The fabric is made of tiny loops and animal claws can easily scratch those out and ruin them. It is also very easy to get soiled. And chenille is often impossible to repair. So, if you own a pet, it is not the fabric you want to buy.

Is Chenille Fabric Expensive?

Yes, the chenille can be expensive for its incredible versatility.

Is Chenille Expensive

Sometimes soft fabrics have some durability issues but chenille has a long-lasting effect. It is perfect for your home furnishing. But because of the rich quality, the chenille is a bit expensive. But it might vary depending on its materials.

Chenille Fabric Uses

Chenille is a fabric that can be used in almost anything. From clothing to home decor items, you can use this fabric anywhere.

Chenille Fabric Uses

Clothing

The Chenille sweaters are popular because they provide insulation while maintaining a great look. The fabric may be heavy but it doesn’t make it look baggy.

Home Decor

Chenille is great for couches, upholstery, drapes, bedspreads, and any other thing. The iridescent look gives your home a magnificent look.

Carpets and Rugs

The high durability of the chenille makes high-quality carpets and rugs. The heavyweight helps your carpets and rugs stay permanent where you put them.

Blankets

The soft, fuzzy, plushy texture of chenille is a great choice for your comforter you love being snuggled up in your bed in winter. Chenille blankets and comforters are very popular for keeping you warm.

What is Rayon Chenille?

Rayon chenille is made of wood pulp which is mostly considered a natural fiber.

What is Rayon Chenille

This fabric is mainly used for making robes, towels, soft sweaters, and bathmats. But the fabric has some resiliency issues. If somehow a part of your fabric gets stuck somewhere and you pull it hard, it might lose its original shape and it can’t get fixed.

What is Cotton Chenille?

What is Cotton Chenille

Cotton chenille is made of pure cotton fibers. It is mostly used in baby items like blankets, towels, etc. But pure cotton chenille might not give you high durability. So, it is often made with a mixture of silk, rayon, wool, etc.  

Pros Cons of Chenille:

Pros Cons of Chenille

Disadvantages

Before you buy chenille, you should know the disadvantages too.

Otherwise, you might feel that the fabric isn’t good enough like it is advertised. Here are some cons that you might face while using chenille:

  • Even though chenille is an ideal choice for home furnishing, it is very hard to clean if you spill something on your carpet or couch.
  • If you stretch the fabric for any reason, it might lose its elasticity. It won’t get back into its original shape.
  • When you use it as upholstery, it still needs a sturdy, high-quality construction under the soft fabric to make it durable.
  • Because of the heavyweight, it is very hard to wash. It is very fussy to maintain its quality.
  • The fabric color might fade if you keep it close to your window or door. The color fades when you put it in sunlight or anywhere near where sunlight can enter.
  • The fabric might deform or shrink after you clean it and you can’t iron it smooth.

Advantages

Pros of using chenille might make you overlook the disadvantages you have seen earlier. Let’s take a look at the advantages of using chenille:

  • The fabric is very soft to touch and it has a nice fuzzy texture. It also keeps you warm so it is a good choice for winter fashion.
  • It has a slick look that provides a phenomenal look in your home furnishing.
  • The fabric comes in different types of colors so you choose one according to your taste.
  • It is a thick and highly durable fabric that is very good quality for home furnishing purposes.
  • This fabric has high water absorbency.
  • The fabric makes good drapes and this is a great quality for curtains.
  • This is a multi-use fabric. You can use it in literally any manner of fashion.

Difference between chenille and other fabrics

You got to know a lot of things about chenille from the earlier read. Now let’s get to know the difference between chenille and other fabrics.

Chenille vs Microfiber

Chenille and microfiber both have resistance and durability which make them great fabrics for the couch. They both are great choices for couch fabric. Here is a table based on their characteristics:

Chenille vs Microfiber
CharacteristicsChenille Microfiber
AbsorbencyHighLow
Pet FriendlyNoYes
AppearanceMore luxuriousLuxurious
PriceHighModerate
MaintenanceHighLow

Both of the fabrics look quite the same but the chenille has a more luxurious appearance. On the other hand, microfiber is more pet-friendly than chenille.

Chenille has a high absorbance tendency that makes it easier to get stained. But microfiber doesn’t have that problem. Chenille is also a higher maintenance fabric than microfiber. It takes a hell of a lot of effort to clean it.

Because of the elegant appearance of the chenille, it is pricier than microfiber. But the price may vary depending on the quality.

Chenille vs Velvet

Chenille and velvet have a very similar look but there are some qualities that make them different from each other. Here is a table mentioning some qualities of these fabrics:

Chenille vs Velvet
CharacteristicsChenille Velvet
Fiber ContentCotton, silk, rayon, woolSilk, rayon, polyester
AbsorbencyHighLow
Ease of cleaningHardEasy
TextureSoft and fuzzySoft and smooth

The Chenille is thicker between the two of these fabrics. This makes it heavier and hard to clean. Whereas, velvet is thinner and easier to clean but not quite.

Chenille has a high absorbency rate, where velvet does not. They both have a slightly slick look but the chenille does not contain any iridescent fiber to make it look so.

Chenille has a soft, fuzzy texture that provides a cozy feeling. On the other hand, velvet has a soft, smooth texture but is not quite cozy.

Chenille vs Polyester

When the chenille is made from polyester, the competition becomes really tight between the two fabrics. In that case, the only difference between them is their woven technique. Though polyester follows the same technique as chenille, it will not be strong as chenille and will be more durable and softer.

Chenille vs Polyester

But when chenille is made of cotton or other natural fibers, it will be more preferable over polyester. Chenille doesn’t feel artificial like polyester and has a more luxurious look.

Polyester and made from synthetic fiber where chenille is natural. So, polyester is easier to clean than chenille.

Chenille vs Cotton

Chenille and cotton both fabrics can be made of 100% cotton fiber but can still be different because of their manufacturing technique. Let’s see some of their characteristics in the below table:

Chenille vs Cotton
CharacteristicsChenille Cotton
Manufacturing techniqueWeavingSpinning
Fiber contentCotton, rayon, silk, woolCotton
TextureSoft and fuzzySoft and smooth
MaintenanceHard to cleanEasy to clean

Chenille is a very heavy and thick fabric, whereas cotton is a very light and breathable fabric. So, for winter wear, the chenille is the one you want to choose. But in summer, cotton fabric is your friend.

The Chenille is very hard to clean because it is heavy. On the other hand, cotton is very easy to clean and handy.

How to Care and Clean Chenille Fabric:

Cleaning chenille material can be a real head-scratcher. Let’s see some cleaning techniques you can use on your chenille.

How to Care and Clean Chenille Fabric

Brushing and Vacuuming

First, take a soft upholstery brush and rub it on your sofa in a circular motion to remove dirt. Keep doing it back and forth until it is cleaned. But be careful, the brush can damage the fabric.

Then put your vacuum cleaner to the lowest setting and set the brush on it. Now, run it on your couch lightly to suck up the dirt.

Try to clean your chenille in this way on a weekly basis.

How to Perform a Spot Cleaning

Put a cotton towel on the spot as soon as something spills on your fabric.  The towel will soak up the spill and won’t let it sink into the fabric. Do not rub the fabric when something spills. It can ruin the fabric. Try this method as fast as you can. If the stain dries up, it will be harder to clean.

After that, brush the fabric with your hairbrush. It will help come out any material that is stuck in the fabric loop.

Lastly, put a fabric cleanser on the stain in a small amount just only on the stain. Do not put it all over the fabric. And then dab the stain softly with a clean rug or a cotton towel.

How to Maintain a Chenille Material

Just cleaning the chenille from time to time won’t be enough to keep it in good health. You have to maintain it properly. Here are some tips that will help you maintain your chenille materials:

  • Turn and rotate your cushion once a week to extend durability.
  • Never machine wash your fabric. It will shrink and damage the fabric.
  • Keep any kind of dye and corrosives away from your fabric. They will stain easily and won’t come off.
  • Always read the tags of your fabric. They put instructions on how to wash and maintain your fabric.
  • Do not try to spot clean your fabric on your own if there is an X tag on the tag.
  • For deep cleaning your sofa and upholstery, call a professional.

Final Words

Now that you know everything about chenille fabric along with the comparison with other fabrics, it will be easier for you to pick the fabric of your choice.

If you are looking for fabric for home decor, you can choose chenille blindly. The durability, texture, colors will help your furniture look top-notch. This magic fabric can also be used for any fashion aspect and you already know it from the article.

Now you can explore different types and colors of chenille choose the one you like.

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