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Adventures with Fabric

My latest project involves performing experiments on fabrics by intentionally spilling liquids on them.  Why would I do that you ask?  Well, I shall tell you.  A few years ago, I bought a down-filled sofa off of Craigslist for $300.  Before ever physically seeing the sofa, I knew I was going to be in for something special.  When we arrived, we drove up the driveway to a home (estate) that must have been worth in the millions.  I’m not joking – at one point I thought we were at the wrong house.  Why would these people post anything on Craigslist?  This gorgeous home boasted 9 bathrooms and over 8,000 sq. ft.  Ok, back on topic (I could go on about this home).  Once we got the sofa to home, I was able to trace its origins to a super high quality line.  With the information I was able to gather, my guess is was that it was originally purchased for thousands of dollars.  It’s got beautiful lines that are classic and ever so solid construction.  However, while the fabric is durable and in good shape, the color does not go well in my home (I kinda knew this buying it).  So now I am working on having it re-upholstered and selecting the right fabric is tricky.

If you’ve never researched upholstery fabrics, you may not know that the majority are non-machine washable – not so great when you have two kids under 4.   In fact, many even stated that only “non-water solvents” are to be used when cleaning.  What are non-water solvents?  Does that mean dry-cleaning?  I contacted one of the upholstery manufacturers and asked, “So what happens if you spill water or juice on your fabric?”  Silence.  I guess no one has asked her this question before.  She didn’t really have an answer (or want to say).  She did mentioned that it might leave a water ring or that the fabric could shrink.  I then asked, “What if I machine washed the entire fabric before it’s used for re-upholstery?”   Again, no real answer.  So I’ve setup a series of experiments in which I spill various liquids (that are likely to spill) on my sample fabric.  I’ve left the spills to sit overnight and so far the results are quite favorable.  But the ultimate test will be running it through the wash.

Some of the fabrics I’m exploring are from:

1.  West Elm

2. Pottery Barn

3. House of Fabric

4. Fabric Guru

5. Inside Fabric

Images:  House of Many Hues

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1 comment

1 Roxanne Dickey { 01.08.13 at 5:02 pm }

Hi, I found your blog & am interested. You mention getting your couch reupholstered. I live not far from you (Clarkston) & am looking for a good upholsterer. Can you recommend one? Thanks. I like your blog & plan to come look at your furniture. Do you have regular hours?

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