How Do I Know What Fabric to Pick for My Slipcovers?
Do you easily become overwhelmed with a large selection of fabric for slipcovers?
Unless you have narrowed your focus on what exactly you are looking for, the vast fabric selections available can be a bit daunting and can overwhelm you. If this is how you feel I know for a fact that you are not alone.
I have worked with clients for over 20 years and many have depended on me to help them narrow their selections down.
So if you are not one that likes to look through rolls and rolls of fabrics or books and books of fabric samples then I am here to help.
In this lens I will give you 10 quick tips on what to look for and to consider when you are trying to decide which fabric is the best for your slipcovers.
Recovering your furniture, whether you are slipcovering or re-upholstering is a large investment of your money and you want to make the right decision. After all you are hoping to live with this decision for a few years.
Answer each of these questions and it will help to narrow your selection, fine tune your focus and save you lots of time and money when you are trying to make your decision.
First and foremost enjoy this process. It’s intended to bring you joy with your surroundings and finishing’s in your home. it’s not intended to frustrate you. If this process does bring frustration then check for a local contractor to help guide you. You may be surprised with how much free advice you may receive.
I have been working in the home décor sewing industry for over 30 years and I enjoy helping others with fabric decisions by passing along free advice and suggestions. If you should have any additional questions from this info please feel free to contact me.
1. What Piece of Furniture Will I Be Covering?
What piece of furniture are you covering? That may have a significance in the decision making of the type of fabric you purchase.
Are you covering a piece of furniture that is a focal point? Then maybe a large print will do and add enough fabric to introduce accent pillows.
Are you covering an accent piece of furniture? How about a mini print? How about a solid colored fabric? You could also select a large print and centering the main pattern.
Take these into consideration when going through your decision making process. If it’s easier, start with process of elimination. What you know you absolutely will not use.
2. What’s the Style of My Room?
First and foremost consider the style of room you are purchasing fabric for.
Is the fabric in keeping with your room décor?
If you aren’t sure what fabric style goes with what room style you have, then do a little research.
**Food for thought: Would silk fabric fit into a room full of rustic pine furniture; does denim fit a room full of antiques? May sound silly for some but not for those who truly struggle with this.
3. Do I Want My Fabric To Be Print or Solid?
When considering fabric to slipcover a piece of furniture first keep in mind the style of your room and where in the room the fabric will be used. This will help you to decide what type of pattern you may choose.
If you are leaning towards a large print you may want to use it on a smaller piece of furniture as an accent. Consider adding a few throw pillows out of the same fabric to your sofa, or another focal piece.
The large print on a large piece of furniture may become overpowering and you may grow tired of it quickly.
Which leads to the next tip to consider in making your fabric decision.
4. Will I Be Able To Live With This Fabric for Slipcovers?
This may seem like an obvious Q &A, but you may be surprised that sometimes our minds play tricks on us when comparing a piece of fabric vs. the memory of your room.
I would encourage you to first purchase a yard of fabric, take it home, throw it out on your furniture and live with it for a while before making your final selection.
An investment of a yard of fabric is much more economical to find out if you can live with this selection than to invest in your total amount, get it home and decide it isn’t really going to work after all.
5. Will My Fabric Selection Keep My Original Cover From Showing Thru?
This tends to be a general concern especially when your original cover on your furniture is dark fabric and you’re ready to lighten up.
I will repeat this tip again and again to drive the point home but I always recommend to buy a yard of the fabric being considered. Live with it on your furniture for a couple of days to see if it will indeed hide the old cover in addition to checking how well it covers in the different light settings of the room.
If it doesn’t cover then consider having the slipcover interfaced which will increase the labor cost or just throw an old sheet over your furniture under the slipcover. It may not sound attractive but it’s cost effective and you aren’t going to see it anyway. The sheet should hold it’s shape once the fitted slipcover is on it.
6. Will This Fabric Coordinate With the Other Fabric In My Room?
The general rule of thumb to create continuity in your room if you are using a large print with a large pattern repeat of 13″ or more, is to introduce your print a minimum of three times in your room.
A few examples to consider are your windows, a small accent piece of furniture, a cushion, floor cushions, throw pillows or maybe a footstool.
What else can you come up with?
Another consideration when using prints is to introduce one to two coordinating pieces in the room. This will also help in creating continuity into your room decor.
7. When Using a Monochromatic Theme, Use Lots of Texture
If using a monochromatic theme in your room then I would encourage you to use different textured pieces of fabrics.
Allow the texture to rule the room. There is no limit as to how many different pieces of fabric to introduce.
8. Is This Fabric Durable Enough For the Use of My Furniture?
Does your fabric need to be durable?
If your furniture to be slipcovered sees a lot of traffic and wear then definetly lean to a durable fabric that will hold up under the stress for a longer period of time.
I never recommend using a light weight cotton (dress/craft weight) but there are always exceptions to the rule.
So consider wisely how durable you will need your fabric.
9. Is the Fabric Washable?
Do you have pets or children? Then you may want your fabric washable.
Several people select slipcovering over re-upholstering for the simple option of having a removable and washable cover.
Keep in mind the fiber content of your choices when shopping for your fabric. If you aren’t sure what to look for always ask a sales clerk for help. Any clerk working in a fabric dept should be knowledgeable of the product. If your still not sure I offer free advice, feel free to contact me with your questions.
**Helpful Tip: When washing your slipcovers, do not allow them to completely dry. Leave the covers slightly damp and replace it back onto your furniture. This will allow the slightly damp covers to stretch and conform back to the furniture’s shape. If you allow your slipcover to dry completely before putting them back on your furniture you run the risk of too much shrinkage and never fitting properly again.
10. Should I Consult with a Contractor?
Ultimately in the end the choice of fabric is yours. You are the expert in what you like. You will be living with the fabric. Not your friend, not your contractor, not your decorator.
But if you have a contractor you are using I encourage you to take advantage of their knowledge on the topic before making your final decision. Allow your contractor to share their suggestions and advice from their years of experience.
As a contractor myself, I’m always glad to make suggestions, to coach my clients with selections or answer any questions when trying to make their decisions. But in the end you have final say.
Never let anyone else make that final decision for you. Listen to you and trust it. But remember, you can’t take the fabric back if it doesn’t turn out the way you expected it to look so take your time in making this decision. It’s one you will probably live with for some time.
I can’t stress it enough, if there is any question buy a yard or two and live with it for a while, It would be more cost effective to loose a few dollars on those few yards than hundreds of dollars on both fabric and labor of your slipcover.
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