Monday, September 15, 2014

Things to consider before purchasing your fabric

Today's goal is to make fabric selection more overwhelming than it already is :) There are tons of options out there: heavy weights and lights weights, cottons and linens, textures or patterns, and then of course every colorway imaginable. There is such a wide variety of fabrics because not every fabric is right for every space. There are important things to keep in mind when selecting a fabric. The best way to make sure that you pick the right fabric is to order a swatch. I cannot stress enough how important this is.
If you are purchasing a fabric in store, they will usually have a few pieces on hand that you can take home for a swatch. If you can't obtain a swatch for some reason, there are things you can do in the store to inspect the fabric. 
  • Unroll a bit of it and hold it up to the light. 
  • Gather some of it together to see how it will drape.
  • Examine as much of the fabric as possible for flaws.

When you have your swatch, here are the things to consider when testing it in your home:

1) Weight. Heavier weight fabrics will offer a more luxurious feel to your space. They are best suited for full length curtains with crisp header options, like pinch pleats, and other headers that will create luxurious pleating. Lighter weights offer a softer feel to the space and are much more informal. 

2) Texture. Having a swatch of a textured fabric is super important. The way light plays on texture is something you can only see when you have the fabric in the space it will be used in. It should be observed in the daylight with natural light and then again when it is dark outside and using artificial light inside. Light will play on the nap of velvet, the shimmer of synthetic fibers and the sheen of chintz differently in both types of light. 

3) Patterns. Patterns are usually applied to nontextured fabrics, though this is not the case of all patterns. A pattern may be printed, embroidered or woven. A sample of a pattern is very important. I sometimes recommend a customer purchase a yard of a fabric with a pattern on it if they plan to use it for draperies. The way a fabric looks flat in the sample image is not how it will look when it is draped and pleated. Stripes look less rigid, bold patterns are softened, and small scale patterns can be lost altogether. 

I get customers all the time that just tell me a color they want and then say they leave it up to my judgment to select a fabric because all the options are so overwhelming. I know that adding all this considerations makes it more daunting. But I can assure you that if you go through the steps above you will be confident in your fabric choice and not have any second thoughts about it after you have seen the fabric in action in the space you plan to put your home decor items in.

And as always. please feel free to ask me for help with a fabric selection. I know very well all the choices that are available and how overwhelming it is. I am happy to help.

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