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The most striking way to change the look of your home is to change the furnishing in it. What does this mean? It includes everything from curtains and upholstery to cushion covers and bedspreads. Costs can be minimized if you choose a multi-purpose fabric that can be used for at least three out of the four above because bulk buying usually reduces the price. Using the same fabric cushions and bedspread or curtains and cushions will give a room a co-ordinated look.

If yours is a flat with many ornaments and pictures, pick a plain-colored fabric. A patterned fabric will make everyone dizzy although it might be ideal for a rather bare apartment.

The three major Asian fabric furnishing producers are Thailand, India and Japan. Let's begin with Thai silk. This glorious fabric is tougher and more durable than other silks and the colors can be both plain and vividly patterned. How- ever, certain silks can fade in strong sunlight and curtains must therefore be lined. Good quality Thai silks have colors that will not get washed away and they are also woven very closely. It means that the silks will not run, sag, shred or wear.

The best Indian silks come mainly from the south and, according to some people, their lustre is better than Thai silk. Indian silks can be washed. However, their color will eventually fade in the sun, so dry-cleaning is best.

Another good quality fabric to use is cotton. Most of the best quality cottons come from Europe and the United States but according to some people, the cot- tons with the finest, tightest weaves are from Calicut in south-west India. This hand-woven Indian cotton is durable and tough and reasonably priced. It will wash without the problems of shrinking and running colors. For other types of cotton, check that it has been pre-shrunk. Cotton can shrink after the first wash by as much as a few inches.

There is yet another material which is increasingly popular as a soft furnishing - leather. We all know that leather - usually in dark colors - has long been used for sofa sets. But now you can buy contemporary furniture (such as large circular sofa and enormous floor cushions) in leather of every shade and this means patterned as well as plain. Leather is no longer only for sitting on. Today, there are also leather tables, chests of drawers and even bedspreads.

The great virtue of leather is that it lasts about four times as long as fabric. Therefore, a leather sofa could last for as long as sixteen years. Bearing this in mind, the high cost does not seem quite so exorbitant. Many consider leather elegant because its feel is as soft as wool and as smooth as silk.

   
  Questions
   
  1. (a) What does the term 'furnishing fabric' include ?
       
    (b) (i) What is meant by the phrase 'bulk buying usually reduces the price' ?
      (ii) Why does the author say that a patterned fabric in a flat with many ornaments and pictures will make one feel 'dizzy' ?
       
    (c) Why is leather growing in demand in spite of its high cost ?
       
  2. (a) (i) What word in paragraph 3 tells us that Thai silk is 'magnificent' ?
      (ii) Give one advantage and one disadvantage of Indian silks. Number your answers 1 and 2.
       
    (b) What is surprising about having leather tables, leather drawers and leather bedspreads ? Suggest a reason.
       
    (c) Why would many people choose leather for their furnishing ? Give two reasons.
       
    (d) From the evidence in paragraph 5, state two favorable qualities of Indian cotton from Calicut. Number your answers 1 and 2.
       
  3. (a) Give one word or short phrase which has the same meaning as it has in the passage.
      1 multi-purpose;  2 a co-ordinate look;   3 ornaments;   4 patterned fabric;   5 vividly;   6 shrink;   7 contemporary;   8 exorbitant
       
    (b) (i) '... this means patterned as well as plain.'. Explain what this means.
      (ii) What does 'bearing this in mind' refer to in the last paragraph ?
       
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  Answers
       
  1. (a) It includes everything from curtains and upholstery to cushion covers and bedspreads.
       
    (b) (i) It is cheaper to buy in big quantities
      (ii) The flat will look very crowded/cluttered.
       
    (c) It is durable./It lasts about four times as long as fabric.
       
  2. (a) (i) glorious
      (ii) 1. Its lustre is better than Thai silk.  2. Color ran fade in the sun. or It is washable.
       
    (b) It is uncommon as tables and drawers are usually made of wood and bedspreads from cloth.
       
    (c) It is durable. It is soft and smooth.
       
    (d) 1. durable/tough,  2. reasonably priced
       
  3. (a) many uses
      well-balanced look
      decorative objects
      textile with designs/prints
      brightly
      become smaller
      modern
      costly
       
    (b) (i) Leather is either with or without prints/designs.
      (ii) Leather lasts four times as long as fabric. The durability of leather.
           
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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