What is slubbed fabric?
A slubbed fabric is created with slight knots and knobbles, which can be seen as thicker, raised threads on the fabric surface. These ‘imperfections’ are either a characteristic of the yarn (particularly natural fibres), or created purposely with the intention of giving the fabric an organic, tactile look and feel.
Pictured: Leon Potato drapery fabric, slubs are the thicker raised threads running horizontally on the fabric.
Where does the idea of slubs come from?
When fabrics were created by hand back in the 19th century, ‘slub’ was a term that referred to the preparation process of wool before spinning. Spinners would twist the fibers of wool together by hand to create yarn, and different thicknesses would appear uneven on the finished garment, and became known as ‘a slub’.
How do slubs happen?
Natural fabrics such as cotton, wool, linen and silk are inclined to show slub characteristics – nature does not create perfectly even fibers, and this becomes apparent as they are twisted together. Modern machinery also makes it possible to create a slub effect from yarns that are usually smooth and even, like polyester, to emulate a natural look.
Pictured: Alfred and Tom upholstery fabric, with subtle slubbing that accentuates the linen element of the cloth.
Slubs can appear going in either direction of the fabric – but in home textiles, they are generally seen a weft (horizontal) direction.
Why would I want knobbly fabric?
Traditionally, slubbed fabric was considered defective and poor quality, and contemporary spinning equipement makes it possible to create smooth, even yarns without imperfections.
However, it is now fashionable to embrace the unrefined, natural look of slubbing, and weavers encourage slubs and even create them purposefully in manmade threads that would normally be smooth and even.
Slubs are not a defect in the fabric and is not considered a fault - they are a part of the character of the fabric.
Pictured: Carrera Mist drapery fabric, where you can see thicker raised slubs on the fabric surface.
Charles Parsons Interiors offer a huge range of drapery and upholstery fabrics across many different looks and textures! Make sure you check out the range.