Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why is Imperial Trellis so expensive?!

Imperial Trellis
Why is it so expensive?!

When Fran contacted me about making this shade for her two years ago I had not yet heard of Imperial Trellis. She sent me the fabric and I made the shade all the while noticing how FABULOUS this fabric was to work with. It did everything I wanted it to. It was flawless. I said to myself, "I have got to find out what this amazing fabric is!" So I looked it up and was so glad she didn't tell me its list price before I made it--it would have made me a little nervous. . .  

Normally when I sew a shade I first mark the measurements on it with a disappearing ink pen marking them at a 1/2" wider and longer than the given measurements because when we turn the fabric inside out after sewing the main fabric to the lining we lose some of the width and length in the seam. But with Imperial Trellis I can mark at the exact given measurements and when I turn it out it will be exactly what I measured. I have yet to find another fabric that will do that.


The current list price with Schumacher if you don't have an account  with them is $206.00 per yard!!! Often I get people that email me from my website saying, "You have Imperial Trellis listed with a three digit number for yardage! I think there is a typo." And I say, "Nope. That's what it costs. Painful, I know."


First and foremost it is a matter of supply and demand. The Imperial Trellis design itself is extremely popular right now. To meet the demand they have to increase the price.

Imperial Trellis is printed on 100% flax linen. Why is that so special, I asked myself. A quick visit over to Wikipedia tells me that flax is often retrieved from the earth manually as more of the stalk can be harvested that way vs. when it is mechanically harvested. 

There is a very long process the flax must go through before it is spun and made into its "thread form" for weaving into fabric. First it must be harvested. 
Then it undergoes a process called "retting" where the inner part of the stalk is rotted away but the coarse outer fibers and straw (flax) are still intact. 
Next, the flax is "dressed." This is the term used for the step when the flax straw is separated from the coarse fibers in what is left of the stalk.

Dressing the flax has a whole process in itself. It is difficult to do and so there are many methods to do it. You can "break" it by putting the flax stalks in a breaker machine which beats the stalks until they are soft and pliable. You can "scrutch" the flax with a scrutching knife by hanging the stalks vertically and striking the stalks with the scrutching knife causing the coarse fibers to break away from the flax straw. Or it can be "heckled." A heckle is a bed of nails that separates the flax straw from the fibers.

FINALLY, when all that is left is the straw, it is ready to be spun into linen!

Long story short (too late!) Imperial Trellis is printed on a natural fiber that undergoes a scrutinous process before it can even be spun. And that is why it is so expensive. But I will tell you from personal experience that it is so worth it. It is a fabulous product.


While Shumacher has it listed at ridiculous dollars per yard, my girl Lynn Chalk has all the color ways available for $125! And, I never thought I'd say this about a triple digit number for yardage, but that's a steal!


And if you, are as loyal as I like to think you all are and you have read this ENTIRE blog post, then I thank you! This post is actually a giveaway tuesday post :) I am giving away a 14" x 26" lumbar pillow in Imperial Trellis Treillage with matching Imperial Trellis Treillage piping. 

I haven't made the pillow yet but it will be the size of the citrine pillow you see on the right but will made in the color way on the left and have piping.

If you have stuck with me till now, leave a comment to be entered for giveaway tuesday. I'll choose a winner in one week from today (tuesday).


  1. Wow, what an informative post. As an interior design student, I love learning about all things decor related! Just a bonus that there is a giveaway attached...and by that I mean a REALLY awesome bonus. So generous. xo

  2. It's beautiful! I love the trellis and like your other customers, had no idea how pricey it is! I would live to be entered into the giveaway, thanks!


  3. I love Shumacher fabrics and the Imperial Trellis is a favorite for me! What a generous giveaway!

  4. Love KW Imperial Trellis. Great giveaway. Fingers Crossed.

  5. And because the pattern is so distinct, it only takes a small amount to make a great impact! Great write up.

  6. I learned a new thing today because of you. Maybe I will win a new thing too.

  7. I feel so lucky to have gotten an Imperial Trellis pillow from one of your sales:) Makes me smile every time I see it!

  8. Hope it's not too late to enter the giveaway. I always wondered why this fabric was so expensive. Learn something new every day!

  9. I can't believe that fabric is so expensive! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  10. Flax is so good for you to eat, but I didn't know that it could be made into fabric!

  11. I did wonder why the fabric was so expensive! Thanks for the info.

  12. I love imperial trellis but have yet to own something in that fabric. Lets hope my luck changes.

  13. I would LOVE to win the pillow! I'm a big IT fan but -- because of the cost you mentioned -- don't have any of it in my home. :) Love the colorway you have, though!

  14. That pillow would match perfect with my living room decor! Love that fabric & had no idea it was so expensive. Thanks for the info!

  15. Thanks so much for the giveaway - I would LOVE to win! You do such amazing work and thanks for the education. I've always wondered why!

  16. Sweet giveaway! Thanks Melissa! Thanks for all the research. I agree that $125 is a steal for Imp. Trellis!

  17. I love imperial trellis, and have always admired it but it was just out of reach price wise. The pillow would be a welcome addition to my living room!

  18. Imperial trellis is one of my favorite patterns- I hope to someday own some of it in my home. Fabulous givaway!!! It would match my living room wonderfully.

  19. I love imperial trellis, thanks for the info on it, very interesting!! I would love to win :)

  20. $200+/yd? I had no idea. Good to know. It is lovely. Thanks for the information.