Wool, cotton, silk, and linen – love the idea of natural fibres but don’t know where to begin? We’ve made a list of all the important stuff you need to know
Wool is a protein-based fibre that can be blended with synthetic fibres to make it easier to clean and less prone to pilling.
Cost: $40-$50 per metre.
Best for: Upholstery. It can also be used for cushion covers, blankets, rugs and throws.
+ Durable and warm
+ Natural elasticity so springs back into shape and doesn’t compress
+ Cool in summer and warm in winter
+ Resists tearing
+ Dyes beautifully
+ Can pill
+ Can itch
+ Affected by mould, mildew and moths
+ Deteriorates in sunlight
Silk is a protein-based fibre spun by the silk worm, which gives it a beautiful natural lustre.
Cost: $50-$200 per metre.
Best for: Upholstery, drapery, bedding, art or in wall hangings.
+ Strong and durable
+ Drapes well
+ High lustre
+ Weakened by moisture and sunlight
+ White silk turns yellow with sun exposure
+ Standard processing kills the silk worm but new methods in India (Ahisma Silk) and Oregon (Peace Silk) don’t harm the worms.
Perhaps the most versatile of all fabrics, cotton is breathable, low-maintenance and durable. Although natural, cotton is grown using large amounts of fertilisers and pesticides that can end up in waterways. Organic cotton is produced without chemicals, but is more expensive.
Cost: $50-$90 per metre.
Best for: Curtain and upholstery projects, bedding, wall art, bathrobes, aprons, oven mitts, dishcloths and tea towels.
+ Strong and durable
+ Hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant
+ Easily soiled
+ Burns easily
+ Exposure to sunlight turns cotton yellow
Despite its more than 8000-year history, linen remains on-trend for good reason. Derived from the humble flax plant, linen has clean, sustainable production to add to its biodegradability, durability, light-fastness and longevity.
Cost: Upholstery $68-$90 per metre. Curtaining $36-$110 per metre.
Best for: Curtains, upholstery and small projects such as tablecloths, napkins, chair covers, chair cushions, placemats and table runners.
+ Resists sunlight
+ Won’t stretch
+ Resistant to moths, dust, dirt and stains
+ No lint or pilling
+ Washable and dry-cleanable
+ Naturally anti-static and non-allergenic
+ Great insulator
+ Wrinkles easily
+ Prone to mildew
+ Higher cost