Entering the World of Home Dec/Upholstery Fabric.
Looking through fashion fabric is “safer” because most of the work related to matching seasonal style, patterns, fabric weight, color, look and design is done for you. The problem is that all this work is done for thin (I might add emaciated) women with no hips or bust, in the universally neutral colors that are flattering to few, but offensive to no one. How often have you combed through the latest fashions or fashion fabrics, only to end up with black--once more. Yes—“black is beautiful”---but, not---every…day…..
Upholstery fabric comes in a full range of colors textures and patterns, and with the broader options, a little confusion may arise. Like Dorothy leaving Kansas, and awakening into Munchkin land, the home dec section is an explosion of stunning colors, patterns--silks, wools, cottons—venturing in for the first time may cause sensory overload. But fight your impulse to flee—hold on—steady yourself against a towering bolt of flocked damask, and know, your options are boundless.
I understand if entering a world full of bold, uncompromising fabric color, texture and design can be intimidating, but, there are a few steps you can take to narrow your search. First, and most important, know the colors you like, and know the colors that look good on you. There are books like Color Me Beautiful that help define your color spectrum, and when you make your own clothes, you will need to start here. You will notice the clothes I use as examples are mostly in greens, oranges, browns, grays, purples and blues. There is a reason for this. They are the colors I look best in, and that survive each year’s color trends.
Each a year a color pallet is made available for that year's styles.
Once you have the colors you look good in, go through and select the colors you like. This is purely impulse. I will also do a search on the year’s fashion colors. Once a year some group from somewhere, who are nameless, faceless and stateless, decide on the world’s fashion colors for the year. And then every fashion house, like lemmings, adopt the colors. If you do a search 2015 fashion colors, you will find a number of fashion color charts. We will discuss later, how all these colors can intertwine to make you look good, but the advantage to having gone through this exercise is that you will have in your closet clothes that are easily made current, color coordinated and therefore, interchangeable, and always a joy to wear. You won’t get tired of them.
As home dec affords you a spectrum of color options, take the time to discover those colors you enjoy and make you look stunning.
Now that you know the colors that you wish to accumulate, you have a better control on impulse buying and when “stocking up” you will have a consistent overall look to your wardrobe.
Also, remember that if you adore a pattern, in home dec, it will probably be available in a number of other color selections. So a pattern in blues may also be in brown tones, orange tones, black and grays, etc. You have a greater probability of getting your fabric in the colors that look best on you. You really don’t have to compromise.
All the rules regarding stripes, dark prints, light prints, shapes etc. should be put aside with home dec fabric. Yes, maybe you do not want a teeny tiny stripe going horizontally. But, I have been more than pleasantly surprised at the effects of some fabrics, which should never have worked. They did work because of, perhaps, one dark stripe that turned the fabric three dimensional, and very flattering.
Home decor fabric is designed to play with the eye. Use your imagination, and try to visualize the fabric on you. Think through patterns you've seen—where would the focus of the design be placed? A large two foot daisy with a dark purple chenille background, may not be flattering across the chest, but off center falling down your side, it could be stunning.
This large bold print if placed properly could be very flattering.
You will notice this pattern does not have set in sleeves--perfect for the boarder.
The pattern is very lively but not busy and creates a fun, timeless look.
Notice that the pattern is dark, top and bottom, allowing me to minimize bust and direct attention past my hips.
Take Educated Risks
I can’t tell you how many times I went passed this fabric during my periodic haunts through red tag. There isn’t anything “sexy” about the fabric design, in fact, it is quite traditional. The tapestry and texture is nice, but I didn’t like the boarder. Then—it went on sale—and began to look very interesting. My next question--How can I make this work? The problems presented were easily overcome. First, the boarder design goes from width to width, which meant I had to cut my length against the grain. 54” was the longest the clothing could be, so it would be either a jacket or car coat, as I didn't think railroading the fabric, or sewing another width to the width, would look right. The back of the pattern is rough and would needed a lining. The pattern is complicated, and for ease of sewing, especially in trying to match the design, I needed a simple pattern
Having reviewed my patterns, I knew conceptually there was something out there that could work, and I had a good idea of how much fabric to purchase. I also knew that cutting the fabric across the grain would not be a problem. Remember, home dec fabric is designed to resist stretching, and thus has multi-dimensional weaves to keep it strong. There is still a grain, and a sag, but it is not nearly the problem as you will find with fashion fabric.
And so, a neglected, forgotten, homeless piece of fabric, found a home…and when I found Pattern 5093—a jacket was born.
Next week we will discuss placing the pattern--until then—thank you for joining me, and God Bless.