Bespoke Upholstery Fabric

Hand-woven by the River Thames

I hand-weave bespoke fabric for upholstery

My name is Doreen Gittens and my company is Archipelago Textiles. From my studio in London's OXO Tower, I hand-weave bespoke fabrics for upholstery on a traditional loom. I have been here 25 years creating fabrics for clients all over the world. I've won several awards and had my work featured in the Tate Shop.

Nothing matches the luxury and authenticity of a custom upholstery fabric created perfectly for you and your furtniture. I work with you to create beautiful upholstered items which you will treasure for years to come.

Weaving Bespoke Upholstery Fabric Video

Let me show you what I do! In this video we take a look around my studio and I show you the loom in action as we weave some fabric.

We also look at dressing (setting up) the loom, talk briefly about my background and how I came to be a weaver, and look at my own antique chaise longue upholstery project.

About my Upholstery Fabric

Price Range

Prices obviously vary for bespoke upholstery fabric depending on the amount of fabric you require and the complexity and density of the weave, but typically a bespoke upholstery fabric will cost around £120 to £150 per metre. I will quote you a price when we know your specifications.

Time Required

Typically it will take 2-3 months to create a bespoke fabric. Most of the time is taken not in the weaving itself but in the design and creating samples until we have exactly the fabric you want. A custom upholstery fabric should bring you a lifetime of pleasure, so it's worth taking the time to get the design just right.


I recommend only professional dry cleaning for your custom upholstery fabric. There are also various furniture cleaning services who will come to your house - find an upholstery cleaner in your area - or if you're very brave you could try dry cleaning your own upholstery (I take no responsibility!)

Fire Retardation

Ensuring your fabric is fire retardant is essential for all upholstery fabrics and by law I have to ensure your fabric has a fire retardant coating to BS 5852:2006 standard. If your fabric is intended for use in a commerical environment - such as hospitality - it will also have to pass a Crib 5 test and will need a coating which works a little harder.


I can weave fabrics with various density and durability to ensure that it is hardy enough for the usage you intend. The first thing to consider is will your furniture be used occasionally or every day, and if every day how long for. I don't have a rub test machine so unfortunately I am unable to quote rub test values.


I deliver all over the world, but encourage customers to come and see me in the studio if possible.

Screenshot from Archipelago Textiles Instagram feed showing various fabrics

Follow me on Instagram

I often post pictures of fabrics that I have created on Instagram. Take a look at my Instagram page to see my designs, and follow me to see all my latest creations!

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Bespoke Upholstery Fabric Example

BEFORE: This antique chaise longue came into my possession. It's a beautiful piece of furniture but had been upholstered with three mismatched fabrics, all of which were worn and faded. It was definitely in need of some serious attention to restore it to the state it deserved.

Chaise longue with old fabric before reupholstery. Long view. Chaise longue with old fabric before reupholstery. Close up of left side. Chaise longue with old fabric before reupholstery. Close up of right side.

FABRIC DESIGN: I began by looking at various period styles and fashions to create a fabric that would not only look good but would be authentic to the original period of the furniture. I created several different samples to experiment with colours and designs, decided on a three-tone brown textile in linen, suitable for light to moderate domestic use.

The bespoke upholstery fabric being created on the loom Bespoke upholstery fabric with reels of thread Bespoke upholstery fabric with reels of thread

AFTER: The brown and beige tones in the fabric create an elegant and sophisticated feel to the furniture, bringing out the beauty of the mahogany and giving this beautiful item a new lease of life.

The bespoke upholstery fabric being created on the loom Bespoke upholstery fabric with reels of thread Bespoke upholstery fabric with reels of thread

How to find an upholsterer

When commissioning bespoke upholstery fabric, you're also going to need an upholsterer! Finding the right upholsterer for your project is important. Look for someone with a good portfolio of previous work and who you can communicate with easily.

You may want to choose someone from the Association of Master Upholsterers or read these articles on Reupholstering chairs and sofas: everything you need to know or How to Choose the Right Upholsterer. If you're in London you might also enjoy this article on London's Best Upholsterers.

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Commissioning Custom Upholstery Fabric

Commissioning a bespoke fabric is an easy and enjoyable process, ensuring you receive a fabric which is beautiful, unique to you, and perfectly suited to its intended use.

We begin with hand-woven samples

I weave your fabric at the loom

The finished article is delivered to you

Designing your Upholstery Fabric

It all starts with a discussion. You might already know what fabric you want me to create, or you might need some guidance. Maybe you have an existing fabric you want to work from, or maybe you just have a few colour ideas. No problem, I will work with you to design your perfect fabric. We can speak over phone and email, or if you're within travelling distance of London, we can arrange a meeting at my shop.

Creation of Samples

After these initial discussions and once I have received your deposit, I create hand-woven samples which I send to you for discussion as we hone in on your perfect feel and pattern. There's no need to rush this process - I normally make at least 4-6 samples and we keep working until we have exactly the fabric you want.

Weaving and Delivery

It normally takes me 2-3 weeks to weave a bespoke fabric, obviously taking longer the greater length of fabric you require. Then the fabric is finished by steam ironing and folding and sent to you.

Working with Your Upholsterer

It's a good idea to find your upholsterer before commissioning your fabric. Your upholsterer will be able to tell you exactly how much fabric you need and may have lots of other useful input and ideas.

I'm waiting to discuss your requirements

Please don't hesitate to drop me a line or call into the studio, I'm happy to discuss your requirements.

Doreen Gittens

Request a callback or email

    You can also send me a message using my contact form, or call the studio on 020 1234 5678

    Bespoke Upholstery Fabric FAQ

    Why buy bespoke upholstery fabric?
    Having upholstery fabric made bespoke to your specifications allows you to create something unique and special, with fabric in exactly your choices of colours and patterns, created to suit your item of furniture perfectly.
    How long does it take to create bespoke fabric for upholstery?
    From first discussions to finished article it typically takes 2-3 months to weave bespoke fabric for one item of furniture, depending on the length of fabric that you need. I can give you an accurate idea of how long it will take when we are discussing your fabric.
    Do you have any qualifications?
    Yes, I have a masters degree in woven textile design from the University of Glasgow. I have also won awards and scholarships and been featured in various publications and television, and in the Tate Shop. See all my awards and qualifications on my About Me Page.
    Is your fabric completely hand-woven?
    Yes! I am one of the only people in the UK hand-weaving bespoke fabrics for upholstery, and have been doing so for over 25 years.
    How much freedom do I have with colours, patterns and materials?
    Anything that is possible to weave on a loom I can create for you, so you can use any colours or patterns you like. I will create hand-woven samples in the early stages until you have exactly the colour and pattern you desire, and I can also work from Pantones. The only restriction on materials is ensuring the materials used are suitable for the level of use you expect of your furniture.
    What are the best materials for upholstery fabric?
    Natural fibres such as silk, cotton, wool and linen are the preferred materials for upholstery fabric.
    Is the expected use of the furniture important?
    Yes, very important. We have to ensure the fabric is durable enough for its intended use. An item which is used only occasionally can be upholstered in a more luxurious fabric such as silk. We will discuss the best materials to use in the early stages of designing your fabric.
    Is your fabric fire resistant?
    Yes. By law I have to supply fabric for upholstery with a fire-retardant coating to BS 5852:2006 standard.