A weaving technique using a fine warp and a slightly heavier weft,producing a horizontally corded, ribbed, surface, and a strong, resilient fabric. Rep can be in cotton, silk, wool, viscose or mixed fibres and comes in medium to heavy weights.

A true rep(p) has the loom set with alternating thicker and thinner warp threads, with the finer held under greater tension. Alternate thicker and thinner wefts threads create the ribs, as the thicker weft always picks the thicker warp and vice versa. The rib automatically appears on the thicker warp. Different rib sizes and scales are created by altering the densities, thicknesses and regularity of the warp and weft threads.

* Understated, inexpensive and very hardwearing, cotton rep comes in a wide range of plain colours; in interiors it is a constant standby for the basics, e.g. general use loose covers and upholstery, curtains, fabric walling, and for plain piping and edgings to complement or contrast with the main patterned or plain textiles. The inherent stiffness makes it strong, so for a novice upholsterer it’s not the easiest cloth to pull into form, but it makes for perfect walling material.

* Wool worsted rep is softer and makes into curtains with a good drape and sheen, loose-covers and general upholstery.

* Two – four ply silk woven as rep such as ottoman or faille creates a fantastically luxurious fabric. The two-three ply weight is both strong and soft enough to hold a good drape for curtaining and bed hangings, and the heavier ply which is stiffer and more resilient is strong enough for wall hangings and fine upholstery.

* Inexpensive rep fabrics might feel soft and look the part, but they will have been made with short fibres and poor quality threads and don’t last; they are no good for piping. but are ok for walling and for curtains. As with all fabric purchases, consider whether the fabric deserves the time you’ll be putting into it.

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