What Is Ottoman Fabric?

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Ottoman fabric is traditionally made from silk fibers of alternating sizes.
Ottoman fabric is traditionally made from silk fibers of alternating sizes. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Ottoman fabric is a specialized textile used primarily for upholstery or heavy-duty outerwear. The weave of the fabric lends a ribbed look to the surface and makes it easy to clean and care for.

Materials

Ottoman fabric is traditionally made completely from natural silk fibers, which gives it natural sheen. The ribbed surface comes from alternating strands of a thin silk yarn and a heavier, nubbed silk yarn. Today, most ottoman fabric is made from a mixture of silk and other natural fibers, such as cotton or wool.

Uses

Ottoman fabric is named for its original main use of covering footstools, such as ottomans, and other furniture. Because of the ribbed weave, spills tended to bead off the fabric, which made it easy to keep clean. It eventually became a popular choice for coats and heavy winter suits, as well as for curtains.

Care

The all-silk weave of ottoman fabric requires little care. It can be spot-cleaned as needed and dry cleaned if it is part of a garment. If it is part of upholstery, it can be steam cleaned. Some modern ottoman fabrics are made with washable silks, cottons and wools and can be machine washed on a gentle setting.

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