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CTA Guidelines

CTA Performance Standards Guide
The Commercial Textile Association (CTA) has established a simple system to identify + grade fabrics suitable for commercial applications
Abrasion Resistance
The ability of a fabric to withstand surface wear due to rubbing. Measured in rub cycles by a machine designed to replicate general wear + tear  HEAVY DUTY COMMERCIAL USE  Flat Woven + Knit Fabrics
40,000 cycles (min) (Martindale AS 2001.2.25)  Pile Fabrics
2500 cycles (min) (Stoll AS 2687-1997)  GENERAL COMMERCIAL USE  Flat Woven + Knit Fabrics
20,000 cycles (min) (Martindale AS 2001.2.25)  Pile Fabrics
1500 cycles (min) (Stoll AS 2687-1997)


Abrasion testing does not consistently predict the wear and / or extended appearance performance of a textile but results obtained have shown to be useful indicators of performance.

Results from abrasion testing are guidelines only. Fabrics that do not meet the guidelines, may perform adequately in many applications. 

The use of absolute numbers to compare durability of different fabrics must be interpreted with care and is not necessarily recommended. Double the number of cycles does not indicate doubling the service life.

Abrasion tests can produce variable results. The difference of a few thousand cycles can be expected between specimens of the same test fabric sample.

There is no correlation between different test methods. It is not possible to estimate the number of cycles achieved on one test (e.g. Martindale) if the result for another test (e.g. Wyzenbeek) is known.

The performance of any fabric is also determined by a number of factors including, but not limited to, the quality and design of the furniture piece, quality of foam used and standard of upholstering. All these factors play an important role in the performance of any fabric.

Seam Slippage
The result when a textile pulls apart or distorts at a sewn seam  UPHOLSTERY
8mm at 125N (max) 
AS 2001.2.22


A seam gape in excess of 8mm under the standard load of 125N is not necessarily a fabric failure. Rather such a result indicates that an appropriate seam should be selected to ensure a successful application. For example, not all fabrics can be seamed with a single row of stitches (lockstitch) with a 12mm seam allowance.

The raw edges of many woven upholstery fabrics will fray when they rub against foam or other filling materials. This can lead to a steady reduction in the width of the seam allowance and the premature failure of the seam. It is recommended the seam allowance of any woven fabric be overlocked or otherwise secured.


It is the responsibility of the furniture manufacturer / upholsterer to employ a seam construction, needle type and sewing thread that is appropriate for the fabric and furniture design.

Different fabrics for the same design of furniture may require different seam constructions.

The rupture of a seam due to seam slippage is generally not a fabric fault.

Colourfastness to Light
A fabric’s ability to resist fading or colour change when exposed to light  UPHOLSTERY / SCREEN
Light colours (min 4) 
Medium - Dark colours (min 5)
AS 2001.4.21 or ISO 105 - B02


All furniture and partitions should be protected from sunlight. 

If this is not possible, furniture should be rotated regularly, to minimise the effect of fading.


Colour batching or sorting of rolls is essential if workstations / panels / furniture are to be made from a single colour and if adjacent workstations / panels / furniture are to be colour matched.

The furniture manufacturer must ensure the fabric used on an individual workstation or cluster of workstations is taken from one batch of fabric and, importantly, fabrics from different batches are not mixed together on an individual workstation, adjoining panels or furniture without appropriate consideration to colour.


Sometimes it is necessary to colour match fabric that has been in service for some period of time. This situation presents a number of difficulties.

The colour may have changed during the period of service. Colour changes may be induced by light exposure, abrasion, cleaning and soiling. Any attempt to match the colour of the fabric after it has been in service has a high risk of being unsatisfactory. Therefore clients must accept that fabric supplied in these circumstances can vary in colour from the original fabric supplied.

Piling Resistance
Loose fibres are worked to the surface of the fabric due to abrasion, forming bunches or balls of tangled fibres  UPHOLSTERY 
3-4 (min) 


Pilling is a characteristic of any fabric.

Some pilling must be expected and de-pilling is a normal part of the routine maintenance of an upholstery fabric.

De-pilling should be by means of a rotary cutter pill remover – removal by means of cutting blades or ‘snag and drag’ tools is not recommended.


The pilling resistance test is not applicable to wall panel, screen and partitioning fabrics.

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