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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Slipcovers: Fabric

Fabric is such a tricky thing....I have a set of rules that I really like to follow, but there really are a lot of exception. For the sake of making things simple I will stick with my basic rules. If you have questions please feel free to e-mail me.

Fabric Must Be:
1. washable. In my world, why would you make a slipcover that you can't wash. Here is the trick. A lot of decorator fabric says "dry clean only" when it really can be washed. How do you know if you can ignore the "dry-clean only" label? Look at the content of the fabric. Cotton, Polyester, or a blend of the two is washable. Linen is washable. The trick is they shrink! This is a very simple problem to solve. Pre-wash everything. We will talk more about how to do this later.

2. durable. Very thin linen, or cotton will not last very long or through very many washings.  It is far to much work to not have a slipcover last for years and many washings! 

3. Design longevity. Am I going to be tired of this fabric in 6 months to a year. If yes, don't do it. Put the trendy fabrics on your pillows and the plain more simple fabrics on your couch or chair. Trust me, you will thank yourself later.

4. At least 54" wide. Most fabrics you find will be between 54" -60" wide. This should not be a problem. If you find something narrower, it will work, you will just have many more seams to match and piece together. 

Lets look at some examples:

 Diversitex Topsider Eco-Friendly Cotton Twill Light Slate
This is an example of a 100% cotton heavy weight twill. It is listed as "dry clean only" but we know cotton washes. It is 56" wide, and listed as heavy weight. The color is a beautiful neutral gray. This a perfect choice for a slipcover. Twill fabrics are so easy to sew with. You will have to trust me on this for now, but you will see why as you start to sew with it!

This white slipcover is made from the same twill fabric shown above only in white.  The company the makes it is Diversitex fabric. They sell only to the trade...But, you can purchase it at This twill is called Topsider.
The price varies, but right now the gray is only $13.98 a yard, and if you spend more than $35.00 you get free shipping. They have a variety of colors to choose from. 

Here is a picture of a slipcover that Dear Lillie just put up on her blog. I love it! This is an example of an exception: a little settee in a hallway that is not intended for much use. She choose this fabric from Premier prints. It is $13.99 a yard. I would not recommend it for a family in the durability department, but on a seldom used settee....

The fabric above is a loser weave cotton with a bold print and  a trim at the bottom. The print is a little bold, but this was made for a nursery. Matching the print was a little tricky, but kind of fun. The contrasting colored cording really sets off the chair. You will need a few extra yards of fabric to match the print. This fabric is available at Hancock fabrics, a local chain fabric store.  Joann Fabrics is also a good place to find a good deal on denim, twill, or special order fabrics. Look for coupons in the paper or on-line. 

My favorite: Twill 

Well, before you can buy fabric, I should probably show you how to measure your furniture to see how much fabric you need.    


Camille said...

Hi Molly, it has been too long since I visited you. This information is so helpful and specific. Keep it up!

I need to go back and find the post you did on Walmart sheets too. I know you recommended a certain brand, but I can't remember which. If anyone knows her fabric, it's you!

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