img_6383What is frieze upholstery fabric? This subject comes up on the blog now and then. It’s a very desirable vintage upholstery fabric that was used widely back in the day. One example, from my hoard, is shown above. Frieze is a tightly-looped upholstery — probably a man-made fiber — has a plastic-like feel — will likely leave a pattern in your face if you sleep on it (!) — may be looped into a design, or not — generally has a sheen — rough to the touch — but durable as all heck.

img_6385Tip to view photos: On a desktop computer, click the photos and they should enlarge up to 1,000 pixels wide on screen.

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Above: Vintage sofas covered in frieze upholstery, contributed to the blog over the years.

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img_6393Above: Another example from my hoard. I have quite a few yards of this. No design, per se. Just neverending gobstopper frieze.

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Astro participates in all photo shoots!

  1. Allison says:

    My SIL had their couch reupholstered in maroon frieze fabric a few years back- but I think it was mohair, She was going through a 1940s phase at the time.

    I can attest it was still as uncomfortable on bare skin as I remember from my childhood. 🙂

  2. Susan says:

    I’ve been looking for a frieze sofa for quite a while now. I have a small lounge chair covered in a dusty pink frieze. I would almost kill for that turquoise one in your photos! Someone out there must know of a stash of frieze material hidden in some warehouse. Where did it all go???

      1. Kylllikki says:

        Now they know you want it, Pam, I’m sure your readers will send you some. 🙂 Although, I’ve collected vintage fabric for 40 years, and I’m sure I don’t have any… But I’m not sure I would have bought any, if I’d seen it – after the marks it left on my legs at my Grandmother’s house! 🙂

  3. Mary Beth says:

    As an avowed textile nerd ,with an ancestral fabric hoard of my own 😉 , today’s blog has inspired some more research. I admit I had only associated the frieze term as an architectural one. I found a passage on Wikipedia that describes the first frieze garments came to Detroit in 1701 ( a trading post at the time) from Ireland known as ‘frise d’Irlande. The description makes the coarse weave sound like wearing wool cardboard! Makes perfect sense that the durable construction technique morphed into modern day upholstery. I’m thinking the textured indoor/outdoor fabrics being heavily promoted today, are a legacy of mid century Frieze.

  4. Charmaine says:

    I JUST bought a flamingo pink frieze couch/chair with a diamond pattern and a silver metallic thread running through it. Couch of my dreams!!!!! So awesome to see this posting and that others love frieze as much as I do!

  5. Julie says:

    I remember my great-grandma having an amazing red sectional that had the “plastic” feel and was very stiff and scratchy. The upholstery on my 1960s sofa looks just like the last picture, but it doesn’t have the plastic feel (and it’s rough but not scratchy)–so I wonder if that’s frieze or not. At any rate, I don’t mind rough-to-the-touch if it gets me durability. My sofa is 50 years old with the original upholstery and still looks great. I hope that red sectional is getting love somewhere and still looking great too.

  6. Martha says:

    Is that fabric still made today? I’d love to re-upholster a pair of chairs I have using that fabric. I wonder if it is cat scratch resistant! Great to see Astro!

    1. Kali says:

      I can attest that it is *sort of* cat scratch resistant. Meaning, you should have more than enough time to break your cat of scratching it before it gets ruined. I have a chair that I plan to reupholster that is in that fabric, it took probably a year of me freely allowing the cat to scratch it before it showed any damage.

    2. Charmaine says:

      Unfortunately, cats LOVE this type of fabric. And it kind of “balls” up where they scratch it. That being said, it’s easy to get cat hair off of it!!

  7. linda h says:

    Except for a couple of vinyl chairs, all my parents’ chairs and sofas were in a frieze fabric. Some people are saying not so comfortable, but I was thinking of looking for that kind of fabric for a reupholstery project.

  8. Lynne says:

    As common as this fabric was for upholstery, why is it so scarce in the remnant and old stock world? In my stash over the years, I have ONE remnant of frieze. ONE. It’s a cocoa brown with a metalic gold thread running through the design.

    Sweet little Astro! We haven’t seen him for a while. How old is he now, Pam?

    1. pam kueber says:

      He’s about 10, and except for having lost quite a few teeth, he is doing great! He is the second love of my life.

  9. Dan says:

    My folks had a wing chair covered in this in a godawful green that they bought before I was born. Not a mark on it 40 years later. Finally gave it away because everyone was sick of looking at it.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Yes, there are certain midcentury things — like frieze upholstery, VCT floor tiles, and even vintage laminate — that will wear seemingly forever — you’ll tire of it before it wears out!

  10. Tricia says:

    I’m glad to know the name of that type of fabric! My grandparents had a pinky-mauve sofa in that fabric. It left patterns on the backs of my legs as a kid! Nothing I’d choose for comfort now, but it surely was durable!

    1. Phyllis says:

      Omg that’s so funny, my grandparents had *exactly* the same piece of furniture in *exactly* the same color! And oh yeah, it left patterns on skin too, ugh. They covered their sofe in frieze decades ago and after a recent visit I can attest that it it looks *exactly* the same after 40+ years. That stuff sure is durable.

    2. Geronomom63 says:

      My grandparents ALSO had that pinky-mauve sofa – AND two matching armchairs! In fact I still have a pic of a super skinny me as a young teen somewhere around here, posing on that sofa after recently having had appendectomy surgery (I keep it to remind me that yes, I once actually was that thin! ????). Every time I see any vintage furniture with that type of frieze upholstery, I am automatically transported back to those days of loving visits to my grandparent’s house!

      1. Bobbie says:

        I think the pinky mauve was the color of choice for this! HA! My grandmother had a sofa upholstered with this too in that color!

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