Everything You Need to Know About Chenille

Soft, elegant, and plush — is it any wonder chenille is so popular in high-end fashion and home interiors? If you're keen to understand the world of this sumptuous fabric, you're in the right place. With a rich history and diverse range of applications, chenille remains an evergreen choice for those with an eye for luxury and sophistication. There’s a reason why we love it so much!

The history of chenille

The term 'chenille' hails from the French word for 'caterpillar', which perfectly describes the fuzzy caterpillar-like appearance of this yarn. Although a caterpillar might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about luxury, chenille’s soft and sumptuous texture boasts elegance — and that’s something we can definitely get behind.

So, why is it deemed as a luxury material? Well, when French artisans first handcrafted this yarn in the 1780s, it quickly caught the attention of the elite, making it a staple for high-end designs.

Chenille as a luxury outdoor fabric

Whilst chenille is often associated with interior décor and fashion, it's also made a significant mark in the realm of luxury outdoor fabrics. When blended with synthetic fibres, it provides an unexpectedly sumptuous feel to outdoor settings, challenging the status quo of indoor/outdoor fabrics. So, not only can your outdoor space make you feel good, but with a bit of chenille, it can look good, too.

At Extex, we have a range of chenille based woven fabrics for you to choose from. Depending on your preferred uses and aesthetic choices, we’re sure you’ll find something to your taste.

  • ENSÕ: a Japanese-inspired collection designed by Nigel Atkinson, available in 10 tranquil colours.
  • Fauna: a cosy collection of deep-pile chenille fabrics in 9 restful colours.
  • Jewel: a collection of rich and exotic chenilles, inspired by Moroccan design.
  • Mull: the perfect exterior chenille, available in 34 contemporary colours.
  • Outline: fine-ribbed chenille available in 21 complimentary colour pairings.
  • Plume: a soft, velvety chenille with the delicate beauty of layered bird feathers.
  • Spice: richly textured chenilles, available in an exotic blend of 21 colours.

The chenille manufacturing process

The manufacture of chenille is an intricate process. Chenille is produced by placing short lengths of yarn between two "core yarns" and then twisting them together. The edges stand at right angles from the cores, giving chenille its iconic, soothing softness. The process, though seemingly simple, requires expert precision to ensure consistency and quality. It’s a process that takes a while to master, but once you have it down, there’s no going back.

Chenille as a luxury outdoor fabric

As the world of designer outdoor textiles evolves, many designers are incorporating chenille for its unique texture and appearance — and we don’t blame them. As a fabric, chenille adds a touch of sophistication to outdoor furnishings, making spaces feel more like an extension of any indoor living area.

At Extex, we have a range of chenille based woven fabrics for you to choose from, such as our cosy Fauna collection that comes in nine restful colours. If you’re looking for something a bit more exotic, our Moroccan-inspired Jewel collection will be perfect to add a touch of opulence to your decor. Depending on your preferred uses and aesthetic choices, we’re sure you’ll find something to your taste.

Whether it be an outdoor play room, a dining space, or a workout area, chenille is guaranteed to fit right into your aesthetic.

Chenille care and maintenance tips

One of the reasons chenille is adored in the design industry is its durability. However, to ensure its longevity, it’s a good idea to look after this yarn as much, and as frequently, as possible.

It's always advisable to clean up spills immediately to prevent any pesky staining. For deeper cleaning, always refer to care labels, as some chenille can be machine washed, while others might require professional cleaning.

Stain and water repellency

Did you know that, over time, chenille has been revolutionised with advancements in stain and water repellent fabric technology? A bit of a mouthful, we know. But this means that your favourite chenille sofa or outdoor seating can resist accidental spills and light showers with our Mull exterior chenille, making it an even more appealing choice for both indoor and outdoor settings.

At EXTEX, we ensure that our chenille fabrics are treated with waterproofing treatment after weaving so you can use chenille all year long.

Undeniable durability and style

Chenille isn't just about the looks and feel — it’s built to last. When sourced from reputable manufacturers, it ranks highly on the durable fabrics scale. Whether it's a Plume accent pillow, a throw, or outdoor seating, Chenille items can withstand wear and tear while maintaining their plush appearance, but this does depend on the composition of the fabric and its weave construction.

Today, stylish outdoor fabrics are all about merging aesthetics with functionality. Chenille, with its inherently luxurious texture, seamlessly fits this narrative. By infusing modern designs, patterns, and colour palettes with the classic texture of chenille, designers are creating contemporary masterpieces perfect for the modern home.

Where to use chenille

Chenille is an incredibly versatile fabric, so its use is not just restricted to upholstery. Its soft texture makes it a favourite for bedspreads, throws, pillows, and even clothing. In the realm of indoor/outdoor fabrics, chenille is often used for patio furniture cushions, accent pillows, and more, thanks to its evolving water and stain-repellent treatments after weaving.

Is chenille the way forward?

Chenille, with its rich history and adaptability, has gracefully weathered the ever-changing tides of the design world. As we venture into an era where the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living blur, fabrics like chenille that offer both luxury and functionality are the future.

Whether you're a designer, homeowner, or someone with an appreciation for the finer things in life, chenille is a fabric that promises beauty, comfort, and durability in equal measure.

Shop our range of chenille fabrics today, or get in touch with us for more information. We’ll always be more than happy to help.


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