Friday, April 10, 2009

Fabric selection

When choosing fabric for your next project, there are a lot of things to take into consideration. First and foremost is the application it is being used for. You would not pick the same fabric to upholster a sofa as you would to make silky drapes, for example. After deciding on your application, choose a weight of fabric depending on your project. Remember not all fabrics can be used for every project. Take into account for example welting. If you are making a slipcover with welting you need to choose a fabric that can be used on the bias nicely without too much bulk. On that note, lets talk first about slipcovers. It is what I have been doing the most of lately. Slipcovers can vary in style. First decide what kind of slipcover style you like. If you like it to look very structured like the original piece, you should choose an upholstery weight fabric. Feel free to use textured fabrics. It adds a lot of character without making it too busy. This sofa was done in a tone on tone embroidered print. The detail on the fabric is beautiful without being overpowering. The weight is enough to be structured but not too thick. You have to be able to make folds with it and manipulate it on all the curves.
Another style of slipcover is a shabby chic cover. This application is more adaptable to a cotton duck or denim fabric. These fabrics have that more relaxed wrinkled look which is perfect for shabby chic or cottage décor. Some people even buy the drop cloths at their local hardware stores which have great widths.
Knit blends like this one lend well to slipcovers. This client has a contemporary style in her home. These covers are in the tv room where the look is more relaxed but not too casual. Be careful not to pick something with an open weave. You don't want to see through the cover and it will add to the labor and fabric prices to line it.
Linen sometimes is a choice for a more feminine slipcover. Think summer dress. I would not recommend this in room with a lot wear and tear. Not only does it wrinkle easily, but it will pill with frequent handling.
Now drapery fabric.
Drapes can also vary in styles. Traditional homes might lend well to moirés and jacquards, where casual homes like a beach side retreat might be wonderful with linen unlined drapes. Silk is very popular with drapes. There is nothing more beautiful than a pair of lined silk drapes. I always line silk drapes. Most of the time, I recommend to my clients an interlining with their silk drapes. This adds more fullness as well as protection from the elements. Silk drapes will dry out if they have too much sun exposure, making them brittle. Even though I have given certain guidelines when picking fabrics there are no set rules. I have been known to make something out of nothing.
Take for example these drapes and bedskirt This was a lining very inexpensive fabric. It was bought on ebay for about 50 cents a yard. I bought the whole roll for a project which never happened. Here I have made use of the fabric in a lovely way. Once it is steamed, it will be a beautiful set for a lucky little girl.
Sheets are also a great home dec tool. You get a lot of fabric out of a king size flat sheet. They are great for duvets, slipcovers, shades, bed skirts and best of all they are machine washable.
Another thing to take into account is pattern. Fabric with a set pattern like a plaid for example, will need more fabric to match these lines up. Repeats (how often the pattern repeats itself on a fabric) needs to be taken into account. Sometimes a fabric has a lovely print right in the middle. If you want to recover chairs lets say, and you want that print in the middle of each chair you have to know that you will be tossing a lot of excess. In this bench I chose to center the fabric to get as in as many blooms as I could.
Then there is the matter of price. Prices on fabrics have a huge window. The same textures but in different colors can be priced differently. It all depends on what designers are up to this year. Sometimes price predicts quality, but not always. Be creative, go to the designer warehouses. They usually have last years’ designs left over at an amazingly affordable price. If you are open minded with your selections, you can usually find a great deal. Lastly take into account what rooms these fabrics are going in. Is the decor in the room able to hold these fabric additions or will they look out of place. Do you have old drafty windows and need extra protection? Do you have children or pets and need to pick a more sustainable fabric, maybe machine washable. Only you with the guidance of your designer can make these decisions. Happy Shopping!!!!!!!!!!!!

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