Northcroft Fabrics, based in Berkshire, was established in 1991 by John Kitching to design and produce a selection of quality fabrics for the interior design market. Northcroft Fabrics produces beautiful designs in velvets, silks and damasks. Over the years, Northcroft Fabrics has produced designs for his own range as well as being involved in the restoration of historic buildings such as Cliffe Castle in Keighley as well as Temple Newsam and Lotherton Hall near Leeds.
Northcroft Fabrics also offers a large range of damasks from different time periods, woven in various fibres and covering a range of styles and budgets. Damask fabrics can be woven from silk, wool, linen, cotton and synthetic fibres, with a pattern formed by weaving. Early production of the fabric used one of the five basic weaving techniques used in the Byzantine and Islamic weaving centres in the early Middle Ages. It became popular in Italy in the 14th century, where it was being woven on draw looms and mostly being produced in a single-colour weave. Damask weaves can now be produced in single and two-colour weaves and feature patterns of flowers, fruit and other designs. The long floats of satin-woven warp and weft threads cause soft highlights on the fabric which reflect light differently depending on the angle the observer is looking from. In addition, two-colour weaves have contrasting colour warps and wefts, and polychrome damask fabrics had gold and other metallic threads added to create further highlights and reflections of the fabric.
Damask fabrics are woven in a way in which the pattern on one side is the inverse of the other. This innovative ‘double-faced’ design lends itself very well to a variety of applications, including upholstery, drapes and soft furnishings such as cushions for a subtle and elegant approach to interiro design. The advanced technology required to produce the elaborate motifs and opulent materials used to create it make the damask fabric one of the world’s most luxurious and fascinating fabrics.
Notable amongst the Northcroft Damask fabrics include :
Medici is a popular, pure silk damask of a grand design taken from an original 16th Century Italian damask, while Minster is a damask in a classic Italian design from the 15th Century. Pagoda and Nanking are examples of traditional Chinoiserie styles, and Swallow is a 19th Century Arts and Craft design. Other damasks such as Limoges and Stamford are made in cotton and modacrylic fibre to give the benefit of fire retardancy to damask fabrics.
Northcroft Fabrics produce a range of plain velvets in different piles: cotton, mohair, silk, linen, modacrylic.
Northcroft Fabrics specialise in Mohair velvet a luxurious and hard wearing fabric that is perfect for re-upholstering Victorian button-backed chairs and sofas, or as a curtain fabric for full length curtains in high ceiling rooms. Made from the hair of the Angora goat, it is noted for its high lustre and sheen. Fibres from young Angora goats are typically used to manufacture yarn for clothing whilst fibres from the more mature ones are used to produce more heavy items such as rugs and carpets. Mohair velvet has great insulating properties, making it perfect for the winter season, along with moisture wicking properties to keep cool in the summer, making it an excellent fabric for all seasons.
Mohair is exceptionally durable, naturally elastic and crease resistant, and considered to rank highly amongst luxury fibres such as cashmere and silk. It is also usually more expensive than wool which comes from sheep. Mohair velvets are composed mainly of keratin, a protein which is found in the hair, wool, horns and skin of all mammals, and is naturally fire retardant, making them the fabric of choice for many hospitality interiors projects. Northcroft Fabrics’ Marlow fabric, for example, has been used in contract locations such as the Savoy Hotel restaurant, where fire retardency is essential. It has also been known to be used in high traffic areas of hotels, restaurants, office interiors and theatres due to its durability. Mohair has a long and interesting history in interior design; as far as research shows, mohair velvets were originally used to upholster the seating of thrones and carriages of nobility, making it the fabric of royalty and aristocracy. It has been in use as far back as the 8th Century, making it one of the oldest textile fibres used today. It is also considered eco-friendly due to its sustainability and it takes dyes exceptionally well; colours are absorbed brilliantly into the fibres, creating beautifully rich shades.
Gaufraged (embossed) velvets are a speciality of Northcroft Fabrics and are made by embossing a plain velvet between two heated rollers under great pressure. The traditional designs are deeply engraved in the upper roller. Northcroft Fabrics stock a large selection and can produce many more designs for special orders.
Northcroft Fabrics cotton velvet Rochelle offers a large range of colours for both traditional and modern furnishing and is equally suitable as upholstery fabric or curtain fabric. It is hard wearing to contract standard and has a soft drape. Plain cotton velvets can be embossed or gaufraged and Northcroft Fabrics have the designs Navarre, Duc de Bougogne, Carnot and the stripe Faidherbe in a selection of colours from the range.
Northcroft’s Linen velvet fabrics such as Seville have a rustic or antique look and an interesting texture which is very suitable for gaufraging. The historic designs Dampierre and Sans Gene are stocked for traditional interiors while the Art-Deco design called Deco, embossed with rollers from the actual period, has been added to give a more modern look.
Northcroft’s Henley Collection offers a velvet fabric that is fire retardant to domestic and contract standards. Henley is a plain modacrylic velvet fabric available in 13 colours and also as a permanent gaufraged velvet in 3 designs – Bougainville, Cassandre and Jean-Bart This velvet fabric is extremely hard wearing and suitable for use as an upholstery fabric or as a curtain fabric.
Silk is used to make the most luxurious of all velvet fabrics and Northcroft Fabrics offer a wide choice. Windsor is a plain silk velvet in a large range of colours. Buckingham is an antique velvet woven with a contrasting slub as was often made in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Beaufort is a gaufrage velvet and Verona is a cut and uncut jacquard velvet. Northcroft Fabrics have made specially dyed silk velvets for historic house where an exact colour is needed to reproduce the original furnishings.