What Is Olefin Fabric and How Does It Work? (Can Olefin Fabric Be Made Safely and Softly?) Update 05/2022

Fabrics change with time. When it comes to designing new materials for you to sew with, it appears like fabric makers are always reinventing the wheel. The most difficult challenge is keeping up with all of the different fabric selections available. They could just be the same product with a different name.
What exactly is the Olefin fabric? Propylene gas is combined with some oil products and ethylene to create olefin fabric. To put it another way, it is entirely made of synthetic materials. Yes, it is environmentally friendly because it does not require any land or water for production and is comfy and soft to sit on.
Continue reading this post to understand more about Olefin fabric. It contains the information you require in order to use it in the appropriate sewing projects. It’s more of an outdoor fabric than a fabric for apparel.

What is Olefin Fabric?

Essentially, this is a synthetic fabric that is an enhancement over standard polyester fabrics. It’s intended to be soft, sturdy, and long-lasting, and it won’t fade as soon as conventional polyester.
What Is Olefin Fabric? (Is Olefin Fabric Safe and Soft?)
Its primary application is for outdoor furniture, umbrellas, and car upholstery. This material is available in a wide range of colors and patterns, making it a popular choice for both polyester and outdoor acrylic fabrics.
Furthermore, the price is lower than acrylic choices while slightly higher than polyester fabrics. It is said to be water-resistant, and certain high-end materials are waterproof.
These qualities make it an excellent choice for outdoor furniture, drapes, and umbrellas. It should be able to resist the weather patterns in your area. When properly treated and maintained, the material is also long lasting. It can endure a long time with proper care.
While it is a synthetic material, it is an excellent alternative to acrylic and polyester when it comes to decorating your pool area or outdoor patio.

What is Olefin Fabric Made of?

If you’re not a fan of synthetic materials, you might want to skip this section because this product is everything but natural. It’s completely a lab-made fabric made from a gas that was previously burned. It was destroyed because no one believed it had any practical applications until 1957.
Land and water are two things this substance isn’t comprised of. As a result, it’s a little more eco-friendly than some natural fibers. Those plants require a lot of water and a lot of land to thrive.
Scientists blend propylene gas with oil products and ethylene components to create this substance. All of the materials are collected using a steam cracking method and then mixed. The physical characteristics of polypropylene are created through a polymerizing process in this method.
The individual molecules are then joined together to form a lengthy chain with repetitive structural components. Pellets are the physical form, which are melted and spun through a spinneret. The spinneret turns melted material into a thread, which can subsequently be spun into yarn or cloth.
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It is impossible to color or stain thread once it has been created. Because this method uses waste from other petroleum operations, it is a green choice with a low carbon footprint.

Olefin Fabric Characteristics

Some Olefin properties are a source of misunderstanding. Some claim it is waterproof and water-resistant, while others insist it is not. Whether you receive waterproof or water-resistant fabric or unprotected cloth depends on the quality of the fabric you buy.
It’s also a little unclear how to clean this material, as some sources claim it may be spot cleaned or bleached. Other folks say the exact opposite. So make sure to check the material’s cleaning tag.
Apart from those two perplexing features, Olefin is said to fade slower than polyester, be nearly as durable as acrylic outdoor fabric, and be extremely colorful. Its appealing aspect stems from the various colours applied during production, as well as the various designs applied to the material.
Then, because it is stain resistant, it works well as car upholstery. Although the material is washable, it should not be exposed to high heat temperatures. If you do, it will melt on you.

What does Olefin Fabric Feel like?

It can feel a little harsher than acrylic materials and polyester fabrics due to its manufacturing. The texture is abrasive, but not as rough as sandpaper, which makes it impossible to sit on.
It has a somewhat rougher texture than other fabrics. The good news is that, despite its rough texture, this cloth is nevertheless a pleasant place to sit or lie. Most individuals don’t mind the rough roughness because the fabric’s softness compensates for it.
Of course, the quality of the fabric will have a big impact on how the material feels. Although lower-quality solutions are less expensive and save you money, you miss out on the softness and pleasure of utilizing this material.
The fact that it is not supposed to contain any additional chemicals in its manufacturing will assist you enjoy the feel of it. There are no fire retardants, chemical stain treatments, anti-microbial sprays, PFC treatments, or other chemicals allowed.
In other words, this cloth will feel amazing because it does not include the additives that other fabrics do.

What does Olefin Fabric Look like?

It’ll resemble almost any other lightweight cloth. It comes in a variety of hues that don’t fade too quickly. That implies it should retain its appearance even after years of exposure to the sun.
Furthermore, it should be available in a variety of designs that make the fabric appealing even up close. It won’t turn that unsightly mold color after being in the rain for a long time because it resists mold.
Because it resists abrasions, it will not become damaged, ripped, or unsightly. It should appear practically as new as the day you purchased it. This is due to the fact that it is colorfast.
You also won’t get the wet fabric effect. Because this cloth has a low absorbency rate, water is readily and swiftly wicked away. This property allowed the fabric to dry quickly, ensuring that it looked nice after a rainfall.
However, be cautious when it is exposed to direct sunlight. While steps are being taken to stabilize the cloth, the scorching sun might harm it and cause it to look ugly.

Is Olefin Fabric Safe?

There’s no need to be concerned about putting this material in your vehicle or outdoor furniture, for example. Despite its synthetic and petroleum content, it is a safe cloth to use. We can say this because several chemicals were left out of the construction procedure.
As previously stated, there are no PFC treatments, fire retardants sprayed onto the fibers, anti-microbial sprays, or volatile organic compounds utilized in its production.
Furthermore, no other chemical coatings are employed in the production of this substance. It is also ideal for the environment because it contains no chemical additions. It’s a biodegradable material that degrades much more quickly than acrylic or polyester. It can also be recycled up to ten times before any negative effects appear.
As a result, it’s a perfectly safe cloth to sit on and utilize in various projects you have in mind. The sole disadvantage of this substance is that it has the potential to melt on you. This is a hazard if you dry the damp fabric in the dryer or leave it out in the scorching sun.

Is Olefin Fabric Soft?

Despite being an outdoor or upholstery fabric, it is considered a soft fabric that should not make you feel uncomfortable. It has a rougher texture than acrylic or polyester, yet when you sit or lay on it, it feels comfortable.
However, the amount of softness you experience will be determined on the fabric’s quality and weave style. Then your softness threshold may be higher than this material’s, and you may not consider it too soft.
You may notice a waxy sensation to the fabric when you run your palm across it. Synthetic materials have an artificial feel to them, and no amount of research can compare to the softness of natural fibers.
If you compare Olefin to cotton or wool, you won’t find it soft. When it comes to softness, synthetic fabrics simply cannot compete.

Is Olefin Fabric Breathable?

While it is a light material, no one has claimed that it is very effective in keeping you cool. In other words, the fabric’s breathability is not mentioned. It is safe to assume that the cloth is not breathable because it is made of petroleum compounds and other non-natural substances.
But that’s fine because this material is rarely used in garments. Its objective is to cover non-apparel applications that do not require breathing. The fabric does not need to breathe well in car seats, outdoor furniture, umbrellas, medical sutures, industrial uses, and other comparable applications.
Plastic, which is comparable to plastic in some ways, can not breathe. This cloth is best worn during the cooler months of the year rather than when the weather is hot. Because of the melting factor, you should avoid wearing it when the temperature is really hot.
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Is Olefin Fabric Waterproof?

As previously stated, this is one of the more perplexing elements of this fabric. Some claim that it is both waterproof and water-resistant in some instances. Some argue that it is neither, and that the substance should be kept away from swimming pools and other water sources.
You’ll have to look at the labels to see if you’re buying waterproof, water-resistant, or unprotected cloth. It’s difficult to say what quality of fabric is sold in the stores you visit.
The good news is that this material has a low rate of water absorption, which means it will dry rapidly. Furthermore, water stains are supposed to be simple to remove, whereas oil stains are more difficult.
Others believe bleach is OK to use on this cloth, while others advise it should be avoided at all costs. This is why it’s crucial to compare labels before making a purchase. You don’t have to be bothered by this perplexing knowledge.

Is Olefin Fabric Toxic?

This is a possibility, but not in the garments you wear or the many other applications for which this material is used. However, there is an exception to this rule, and Olefin carpeting may be toxic due to the many procedures employed in its manufacture.
Off-gassing occurs with Olefin materials, just as it does with many other carpet textiles. You should be cautious of this and keep the room adequately ventilated until the off-gassing stops. Alternatively, filter the air with an air purifier, air conditioner, or dehumidifier.
Due to the lack of chemical coatings and additives that other synthetic fibers receive, this material may not be harmful in other applications. However, because this material is created from gas, petroleum products, and ethylene, it is not completely safe.
Apart from carpeting, no one has mentioned it being poisonous, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t.

What is Olefin Fabric Used for?

This material has certain garment applications, although they are relatively limited at the moment. Because this material is intended for non-fashion applications, you won’t find many apparel items produced from it.
Carpets, outdoor furniture textiles, umbrellas, car seat upholstery, ropes, fencing, vehicle interiors requiring cloth, industrial items, automobile parts, and panels all use the material.
This material is primarily for business purposes than for making a fashion statement. It can be found in athletic wear, socks, and hoodies, but not dresses, blouses, jeans, or suits, because to its durability.
This fabric can be found in curtains, wall coverings, carpet tiles, indoor and outdoor carpets, slipcovers, and other home design items. You should be able to match the wall color to the sofa, chair, or even drape color manufactured from this material due to the large range of colors available.
Design should also not be an issue.

Olefin Fabric for Sofa

This material is ideal for sofa upholstery, especially if you plan to use it on your outdoor furniture. It offers everything you need in an indoor and outdoor fabric.
It’s a soft, pleasant material to sit on, and the appropriate colors and designs may make it appealing to the eye. Children and pets should be able to eat and play on the sofa due to its stain-resistant characteristics.
It may also be waterproof, water-resistant, or not, and if it is the former two, you will be well protected from spills and mishaps. Then, depending on who you ask, you might be able to use bleach to remove any stains that occur, with the exception of oil-based stains.
The sole disadvantage of using this material in your home is that it is rarely coated with a fire retardant or given any other coatings. If flames reach the sofa or someone drops a cigarette on it, the sofa will become a fire hazard.
Before purchasing the material, you must consider the benefits and drawbacks.

Where to buy Olefin Fabric by the Yard?

This will not be a difficult procedure. Start by looking for locally owned fabric stores in your neighborhood. Then, in the local malls, visit the various department stores. If those two stores don’t have the material you’re looking for, head to Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or Joann’s to see what they offer.
Other big box stores, such as Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Lowes, may also have a selection of this material on hand. The last two should be excellent sources for outdoor furniture textiles.
If none of these solutions fulfill your needs, you should look into internet possibilities. There are plenty of online retailers who have this material available to buy by the yard. The good news is that their prices are likely to be lower than those of your other retail selections.
The disadvantage of internet purchasing is that you cannot inspect the quality, condition, or true color of the product until it arrives at your home. Furthermore, you may have to wait a few days before using it in your next project.

Olefin Fabric Price

One thing to keep in mind about this fabric is that it is neither the cheapest nor the most costly outdoor fabric available. It is an excellent middle-of-the-road alternative that will serve you well if properly cared for.
We can’t answer to the fabric’s conventional in-store price, but it will almost always be higher than your online selections. One internet retailer offered a price range of $5 to $16 per yard. The cost will be determined by the material’s quality.
Etsy was selling some for roughly $11 to $12 per yard, but Amazon had a wide range of prices from under $25 to well over $25. If you truly want to save money on this material, you’ll have to buy it wholesale and then buy way more yardage than you’ll ever need or want.
The cloth is retailing for around $2 per yard at certain wholesalers. Then, if you’re lucky, some of the previously mentioned stores may be having sales, offering coupons, or doing something else to bring the price of their textiles down. Those solutions will help you save some money.
First, shop around to ensure you’re getting the greatest bargain available.

Final Thoughts

What exactly is the Olefin fabric? It’s a synthetic substance with a minimal carbon footprint that’s claimed to be environmentally friendly. It has features that you don’t see in synthetic fibers, which could be a good sign.
Furthermore, the material might be sturdy, soft, comfy, and appealing. This is a wonderful option if you don’t want to use polyester on your outdoor furniture. It is pricier, but it is superior to polyester.

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