Do you sew stuff rather than buying it? I do, most of the time. In fact I've spent my entire adult life DIYing the whole curtain and decor thing, though not really because I love it. I do it because discontinued ends of Waverly prints are not hard to find at a discount, I can run a machine, and I have been pretty sure I can't afford to get professional advice and sewing services. And you know what? I can't! Even so, this week I've been visiting an upholstery shop (upholstery being NOT something I can do myself - I've tried) and I realized there is a hybrid path, which is to buy the perfect fabric you can only easily get through a designer and sew it yourself. Check this out:
Okay... the colours are not as spectacularly perfect on my screen as they are in person so you'll have to take my word for it. This is a William Morris print with the swatches from my blue velvet sofa, oyster coloured faux linen armchairs, and brocade silk pillows lying on top, and they are dead on right for each other. I have been looking for a cotton canvas print fabric to layer in with the others since we chose the sofa back in January and today, flipping through the Morris book in the upholstery shop, I had to stop and stare.
ALL the colours! The gold of the brocade and the chandelier, the blue of the sofa - even the difficult oyster. I could not believe it.
The ladies at the store approved, impressed at the match, and then one said You know, that print comes in other colours too.
This one doesn't thrill me with the blue sofa fabric, but I bought rather a lot of the brocade to fuel extra runners and cushions, and it turns out the golden yellow in the Morris print perfectly matches the curtains I bought.
A little of this might be amazing in the dining room or front hall, even if I just sew one of those tied-at-the-corners fabric baskets with it.
This one, though? With the red background that matches the red leather recliners and the red walls in one of our smaller bedrooms?
Oh yeah. A few pillows in this, to smooth the flow between some of the room, definitely. I love the idea of repeating a print in different colours like that.
On the other hand, it is pretty William Morris. With this stuff, there is no subtlety about the period and style of your decorating scheme.
And on the other other hand... MAN, it is so hard to find fabric with all the right colours and the stamina to be anything other than a tiny weightless drape!
Or the right price. Here are some failed contenders for the cabbage rose or peony print I wanted for our original sofa, so desperately in need of a new surface:
This one is 100% linen and so, so beautiful. It is also just over $300 a yard and did I say Sofa? Three seater sofa no less? We would spend more on the fabric than on the entire new sofa we bought for the living room.
And then this one:
This beauty has all the colours I wanted, and all the white space, and all the linen, plus: bargain pricing at just over $200 per yard. (HA)
But my favourite? This one, whose name is Celestine, which I could say forever:
This one is about $250 a yard but it is so lovely that I have asked the shop for a sample to see whether the blue and oyster colours are right for the living room furniture. I figure the Morris print will cost about the same - it is William Morris after all - and Celestine is more of the mood I want, even if the red chairs are not going to love it as much as I do.
I mean the red fabric is totally not meant for our living room fabrics anyway - much better to leave it to the other sofa and the red chairs which will live elsewhere. You can make a lot of cushions with even half a yard of wide fabric, especially if you have less expensive contrast fabric for the reverse side. I am pretty sure I can afford a yard or half as much again of very expensive fabric to bring our various rooms to life.
It's so cool to be at this stage of the renovation, playing with colours and thinking of how it will all look in the end. And although I don't know whether this was true before we started this project, it is certainly true now that I can look at a fabric, wait a moment, and watch as my mind reproduces it in the shape of whatever piece of furniture might wear it. Ditto a room - I can look at things and see in my mind how they will all work together, or not work together. I gotta think that's a valuable skill right now, don't you?
Okay, time for me to go and squeeze in some knitting time. I have a sock I would really, really like to get along to its toe.
Hope everything is good with you, and I'll see you tomorrow!